Friday, September 26, 2008

OFT No. 16 - Architecture River Cruise with Donald

Since Donald's birthday was last Friday, we took him on a cruise on the Chicago river last weekend. These architecture cruises are quite well-known and one of the 'touristy' things that are actually worthwhile. We weren't able to go last year, because we didn't look into it until pretty late; they sell out in advance and only run into the fall. Several different companies run these tours, but I have a membership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation and have heard that theirs are the best, so we went with them.

The tour is 90 minutes, which is quite a long time but I felt like it only touched upon the plethora of amazing buildings that shoot up along the river. Downtown Chicago has probably the most amazing architecture in the country, much of it built after the 1871 fire. Many of the buildings were designed by a few architects/firms, so there is some thematic continuity among them. (I was pretty proud of myself for guessing that the Amoco building was designed by the same architect who did Waite Philips Hall on USC campus.) Our guide, a volunteer docent, worked in water management so we got to hear quite a bit about the development of the river and its effect on the growth of the city.

I only took a few photos, because if I snapped every cool shot, there would have been way too many. Here are a few:

Here we are, ready to embark!

One of my favorites, 333 Wacker Drive. I like it even more
knowing that it was used in the movie Ferris Bueller's
Day Off (as Ferris' Dad's office building)!

The view from some of the condos downtown, which
will soon be blocked by yet more condos.

Another nice skyline view

Another of my favorites, the United building. I didn't
take this picture myself, it's from here

One advantage of the cruise is that you get to see buildings that would be hard to reach otherwise. I'm really glad we got to do it (finally!) and I even think it would be fun to go again - I'm sure the tour is pretty variable from docent to docent, and the downtown cityscape is always changing with buildings going up and coming down.

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