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The Official Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, Chicago’s premier tourist attraction, welcomes IPW 2014

March 25, 2014 Trade Events No Comments Email Email

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and its partner, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, opens its 21st season of the critically acclaimed Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, Saturday, April 5, with an invitation for IPW 2014 participants to embark the luxurious cruise vessels for a most unique way to experience, and photograph, world-famous architecture in the birthplace of the skyscraper, Chicago. 

Named in 2012 the “#1 Thing to Do in Chicago” by U.S. News and World Report, the Official Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, with commentary by a CAF-certified river docent, provides panoramic views as it highlights more than 50 historic and architecturally significant sites and 24 of Chicago’s unique moveable bridges and bridge houses that traverse the Chicago River.

Chicago is home to some of the world’s tallest buildings including: the 108-story Willis Tower (442 m), tallest in the Western Hemisphere, allowing visitors to stand at the highest point in any building in the U.S. at 1,353 feet on The Ledge; the Trump International Hotel and Tower (423 m); the Aon Center (346m); and the 100-story John Hancock Building (344m), Chicago’s first entry into the pantheon of tall buildings.149363_num455293_168x168

Beyond tall, though, Chicago is world famous for the vast number of impressive buildings representing more than a century of visionary design by leading architects of their time. Among the many architecturally significant buildings seen on the river cruise are: the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Marina City, Merchandise Mart, Civic Opera Building and one of the newest showpieces, Aqua (“skyscraper of the year” – Emporis, 2009) with its undulating wave balconies and notable for being the tallest building in the world designed by an architectural firm headed by a woman, Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects. Chicago-based architect, Adrian Smith of Smith + Gill has the current crown for having designedexisting tall buildings including the current world champion, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and will be on the job to design the tallest planned building, the Kingdom Tower in Jiddah Saudi Arabia – one kilometer tall.

The 90 CAF-certified volunteer river docents blend specific building information with city history to create the foundation of their individual custom commentaries. Leading more than 2,000 cruises during the eight-month season, they come from a variety of professions including architecture, design, education, law and medicine. These dedicated “ambassadors” receive hundreds of hours of training consisting of classroom lectures, learning activities and assignments which they use to develop their own commentaries, providing a unique experience for each cruise guest. This cadre of passionate docents, many of whom are 10-year-plus expert volunteers, combines enthusiasm, solid training and their own experiences to infuse each presentation with wit and fascinating details to present a striking showcase of Chicago’s iconic buildings.

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Panoramic 360-degree views and unparalleled photographic opportunities of all buildings are part of the open-air experience on the comfortable upper deck of the elegant custom-designed Chicago’s First Lady Cruise vessels, reminiscent of the 1920s-style cruising yachts such as the U.S. Presidential yacht, “Sequoia.” There is also a luxurious, carpeted temperature-controlled main interior salon complete with a full-service bar serving America’s most popular, and locally Chicago- brewed, beers, California wines, spirits and Coca-Cola products . Large, oblong windows surround the mahogany-toned and brass-appointed salon. Restrooms are lined in marble and granite.

Chicago’s First Lady’s fleet includes,  Chicago’s First Lady, Chicago’s Fair Lady, Chicago’s Leading Lady and Chicago’s ClassicLady and all depart daily from the lushly landscaped Riverside Gardens, just three blocks north of Millennium Park, at the lower level and southeast corner of the Michigan Ave. Bridge and Wacker Dr. on Chicago’s Riverwalk.

Hourly cruise departures are from 10am to 5pm, beginning April 5 through November 23, with additional departures on weekends. For a complete schedule, visit: Individual tickets are $37.85 per person plus city tax and can be purchase online; by phone, 800-982-2787(for calls within the U.S.); 001-949-333-4001(international calls); at the Chicago’s First Lady dock (on Riverwalk at Michigan Ave. & Wacker Dr.) or at the CAF Shop and Tour Center (224 S. Michigan Ave.). For groups of 10 or more please contact the Group Tour Sales Department at 312-322-1131 or via For more information, or

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