Booze and 5 More Reasons You Shouldn't Let the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise Pass You By (Thanks, Julia Roberts)

[slideshow] As moviegoers learn in romcoms like this scene from My Best Friend's Wedding starring Julia Roberts and the swoon-worthy timbre of Durmot Mulroney, you can't let a good thing pass you by.

It's true (in this movie - SPOILER ALERT) when your best friend with whom you have secretly been in love with for years is marrying someone so cute you despise her and you say nothing until the wedding day.

And it's also true when major cultural attractions go sight unseen by its own residents like the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise (which also figures prominently in this scene). 


Yeah, the cruise costs forty bones. That might seem like a lot of green to part with. But it's one of the best - I'm talking in the top three - cultural attractions in our city.

Here's a few reasons why you and your visiting relatives/friends should all get on the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise at least once:

  • First, you're on a boat. And, who wouldn't want to be on a boat? I'm on a boat! you can tweet. Two drawbacks: One, you have to be there on time. When the boat leaves, it leaves. Love, Captain Obvious. Two, the tour runs rain or shine. That's how we do in Chicago. But, hey, if it's cold, just canoodle with your honey!
  • A fully-stocked bar is aboard. Grab a tall, cold one, and soak in the culture. Architecture is always better when buzzed. They also have some snacks if you need some booze mop.
  • You'll see many more buildings than you would while walking for 90 minutes, and you won't have to worry about navigating around CTA buses, pedestrians, bike messengers and other denizens of Chicago street life! The cruise covers the east-west branch of the river (from the Lake to the Merchandise Mart), the north branch until Goose Island and the south branch until River City.
  • The view from the open-air top deck is 1,000 times more stunning than it ever could be from inside your car and through your moon roof. Also you're bound to snap better pictures because your hands won't be at 10-and-2 on a steering wheel.
  • You don't have to memorize a lot of facts or read Wikipedia all day to spew off interesting information to your visiting relatives. The Architecture Foundation's docents are very well versed in each building's style, architect, years built and history. For example, you will find out which building in Chicago has its own zip code and which one is on the site where Abraham Lincoln accepted the nomination for President. It's epic-level, history-nerding out, folks.
  • You'll be supporting the preservation and promotion of architecture in Chicago for future generations. You'll gain a deeper appreciation for the place where you live, work and play.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation's river cruises run from late April through mid-November and leave from their dock on the southeast corner of Michigan and the River (duh). Look for the blue awning and the stairs leading you down to riverside. The Foundation also offers walking, bus, youth and group tours to please your fancy.

Click on a thumbnail to enjoy a full-screen view.