Our first day in Chicago I posted this picture on Instagram of the stunning Chicago river as part of my #IGTravelThursday share and sure enough recommendations started rolling in for us to check out a river tour and especially an architectural one since I’m into buildings. Luckily I had done my research and had a Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture Fireworks tour lined up for that weekend. PHEW!!
Disclosure : We received complementary passes but as always, options are totally mine.
Our group of six adults and four kids were all interested in doing an architecture tour (okay we’re going to pretend that the two toddlers and two infants wanted it too) and when we heard that there was one that ended with fireworks…we were sold! This Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture Fireworks tour only takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays and it does happen fairly late in the evening (buy tickets online or at the booth by Michigan Ave or Navy Pier to avoid any disappointments). There’s two tours, one from the Navy Pier and the other from Michigan Avenue and departure fluctuates with the fireworks timing that evening.
We picked up our tickets the morning we arrived (kids 2 and under don’t need tickets) and were set for our tour two days later. First up, strollers are stashed away for you but keep in mind that there’s quite a few stairs to get down (atleast the route we took from Michigan Ave did) so we decided to baby wear the infants and it worked out great for us. I was hoping Baby Boy would sleep as it was a pretty late cruise (from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) but he was enthralled by the lights and fireworks and we didn’t hear a sound out of him. Check-in and loading was very simple but give yourself at least 20 additional minutes to get from Michigan Ave to the loading deck with eager toddlers! As you will see in the video, our stopped numerous times to marvel at the boats.
Our guide was fantastic and very knowledgeable, giving us the real stories with charm and character. We passed by some party boats and houses and of course got a few hoots and laughs- true Chicago experience! Did I mention that there’s a bar on board? Oh YEAH! Whether you’re merely curious about architecture or have a deep seeded desire to know all about the various buildings, I highly recommend this cruise. You can ask as many questions as you like and they’ll follow up with you, should they not know the answer. We had walked around the city wondering what certain buildings were and the inspiration behind them (especially the corn on the cob one!) and it was great to have our questions answered!
The Shoreline Sightseeing tour was most definitely the highlight of our trip. We all loved it, including the toddlers! Baby Boy looked very cute in his first mate hat that was passed around during the tour. I was very impressed that the two toddlers behaved themselves. We had snacks to entertain them and the only time they really yelled out was during the fireworks. Which was TOTALLY acceptable. There were other kids on board and everyone was well behaved and didn’t interfere with the narrative. As you can see from the video, the young ones were very excited about the tour! It was a contagious energy for sure as those around us loved the little one’s responses during the fireworks. The kids reaction was matched by equal enthusiasm from those on the party boat next to us! As far as little one go, you can walk down the aisle during the tour if you need to (luckily we didn’t need to) and the bathroom at the back has a small ledge that would work for an emergency diaper change (lucked out here again and didn’t need one).
No trip to Chicago is complete without a river cruise in my opinion! Shoreline Sightseeing has other tours on offer, including plenty during the daytime if night ones don’t work for your family. One word of advice is that if you’re taking a group shot and planning to purchase the souvenir like we did, keep in mind that you should stand more to your right so that you don’t lose members like we did! For more stories on #MurphysDoChicago click here! If you’re on Instagram join in the #IGTravelThursday conversation by tagging your travel picture.. I love checking them out for inspiration.