Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tourist in Chicago

This is the first in my "fast trip" series of posts. Chicago is such an interesting city to me. I guess in part because of the river that flows through the city. I know that there are other U.S. cities with rivers, but they aren't Chicago. Maybe I'm also intrigued with its attachment to Lake Michigan. Also it meets my requirements for a "fast trip."

On my last trip to Chicago I decided that I wanted to take a boat tour of the city. The most interesting to me at the time was the Architecture Cruise. I'm sure the Fireworks Tours & Sunset Cruises are exciting, but I hadn't planned to be in the city beyond 6:00 PM. I'm not sure how many different companies there are that offer cruises, and each company has many different theme cruises. In the various brochures there was everything from a Chicago in the Movies tour, to tours for beer lovers and evening Jazz tours. I think most have an Architectural Cruise of some sort. The walk up fare for the cruise that I took was $25 and it was a 75 minute tour. For those that plan ahead almost all of the companies have an online discounted fare.

I didn't realize how many buildings were built within the last few years. Many of the new buildings are residential, and very expensive places to live. The tour guide of course was funny and I think the jokes got cornier as we went along. The perspective from the boat of many of the buildings is different from just walking or driving through the city. Of course I couldn't help but envy the people that lived in the buildings that had parking below for their boats/yachts.

Getting to the dock for the tour was amazingly easy. From Midway airport I caught the Orange Line train to State/Lake station I already had a transit card from a previous trip, but round trip on the train is less than $5.00 to downtown & back. You can purchase a transit card, pick up a bus and rail map and get information all there at the airport Midway Orange Line station.

What I discovered waiting for the cruise to start is that the water taxis are an option for a quick ride on the river & much cheaper than the cruises. Of course it's without the commentary, but a week and a half later I don't remember many of the buildings mentioned in the tour. I might try the water taxi the next time I go and catch one to Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. There are soo many things to do in the city. A tourist really could spend a LOT of money. I might have to go back with a plan to highlight some of the free things to do there. Oh like maybe transportation & food for $20 or less in a day. That will take some planning. It can't be spur of the moment.

Hmm where will the next "fast trip" take me and what will I do? I hope you stop by to find out. Hopefully my son will bring back my camera & I can include some pictures as well.


Freaky Deaky said...

I read about that cruise while on the runway waiting for my plane to finally take off. The article had suggestions for 5 different types of travelers or vacations. Yes, make your son return the camera because pictures are a must! Looking forward to the next fast trip.

Remnants of U said...

Oh that sounds like an interesting article. There are 5 different types of travelers? Enjoy your vacation!

TravelDiva said...

Love Chicago! Especially getting me some Garretts Popcorn. A must!