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Water taxis are an economical and in-the-know way to cruise parts of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. A combination of working stiffs and tourists boards these boats daily. You won't get the in-depth narrative of an architecture tour, but the views of Chicago's waterways are just as good.
Wendella Boats operates Chicago Water Taxis, which use four downtown docks (Madison Street, LaSalle Street, Michigan Avenue, and Chinatown) along the Chicago River. The entire ride takes about a half hour, and you'll get to see a good portion of the downtown part of the Chicago River. The boats operate seven days a week, April through October. You can purchase tickets at any dock or on the company's website.
Shoreline Sightseeing's water taxis run two routes: the River Taxi cruises between the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and Navy Pier, and the Harbor Taxi navigates Lake Michigan between Navy Pier and the Museum Campus. Water Taxis run 10 am to 6 pm late May to early September. You can purchase tickets at any dock or in advance on the company's website.
Shoreline Sightseeing (474 N. Lake Shore Dr., Suite 3511, Chicago, IL. 312/222–9328. www.shorelinesightseeing.com.)
Wendella Boats (400 N. Michigan Ave., , Chicago, IL. 312/337–1446. www.wendellaboats.com.)
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