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Chicago Architectural River Tours - which one for us?

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Apr 23rd, 2014, 07:13 AM
  #1
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Chicago Architectural River Tours - which one for us?

We will be visiting Chicago this summer with our kids - 2 teens. In looking at the cruise options there are 3 that I am deciding between:
1. CAF - the longest, probably the most in-depth and also the most expensive at about $180 for the four of us;
2. Shoreline - shorter in length and about $115;
3. Seadog - currently can get a Groupon for this for $80 for the four of us.
Is the CAF worth the extra $$$ with teenagers in tow? Anyone know if the other 2 are decent?
Thanks!
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:05 AM
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I've done the CAF one twice, and felt it was perfect, but others are happy with other choices:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...boat-tours.cfm

~Liz
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:12 AM
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I took the Shoreline tour from Navy Pier a few years ago when friends were in town and the CAF tour was sold-out. The guide was entertaining but incorrect on several points. When I questioned him at the end of the tour, he stood-by what he said earlier.

So, I suppose part depends if you just want a nice boat ride or if you want to learn about the city.
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 08:17 AM
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The Chicago History Museum also offers tours in conjunction with Chicago Line Cruises: http://www.chicagoline.com/architectural.php
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 09:01 AM
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"So, I suppose part depends if you just want a nice boat ride or if you want to learn about the city."

We want both! Thanks for the Chicago History Museum link as well. It is less expensive than the CAF.
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 09:17 AM
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The CAF is the best to learn about Chicago's history and architecture. The others are tourist boats, a boat ride. No comparison. When we kived in Xhicago, I took all out of town guests on the CAF boat.
We belonged to CAf and received a discount or a free ride ot two, don't fecall. Joining CAF may reduce your overall cost.
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 02:09 PM
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We (Mr. Pickle, then-17yo PickleDude, and I) enjoyed the Shoreline tour, though I can't comment regarding its accuracy. If you sign up from deals from Groupon and/or LivingSocial, you may be able to get a reduced rate.

Lee Ann
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Apr 23rd, 2014, 04:15 PM
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We also did the Shoreline with a Groupon and thought our "narrator" did a good job. Was he accurate on 100% of what he said? I have no idea, but we enjoyed the ride, the views and he seemed knowledgable. Worked for us!
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Apr 24th, 2014, 11:42 PM
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Forgive me for saying, but it's kind of defeating the purpose if you go on an architecture cruise where the guide is giving out incorrect info. The whole purpose of this type of tour is to *learn about the architecture*.

If someone just wants a boat ride to look at the buildings, just take one of the water taxis. It's a whole lot cheaper and no nasty narration to get in the way.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation's is the best, IMHO.

If I might make a suggestion for you, take a look at the CAF's page on their membership plans. You'll see that family memberships include buy-2-tickets-get-2-free for their River Cruise. Which doesn't help you out much $-wise if that was the only thing you were doing with them.

However, let's say you were also thinking about renting bikes when you are in Chicago. You can see that their membership includes over 65 free walking and bike tours. Considering that renting bikes can cost a pretty penny, might be something to consider.
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Apr 25th, 2014, 08:19 AM
  #10
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Thanks exiledprincess. I considered this as well. Even though the bike tour itself is free for memebers, you are required to bring your own bike, leaving us to still have the rent 4 bikes and helmuts.

The walking tours are free - and there are a few that look interesting to me but not sure how much time we will have to partake in any.

(At first when I read it I thought that members 65 and over received free tours - not that they offerred 65 free tours!)
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