If you’ve ever been to Chicago, you know one of its coolest features is the river that runs right through the heart of the city.
A great way to see the city is to take a boat tour. And if you’re looking for boat tours, Wendella is one of the most well-known in Chicago.
We decided to take a boat tour and see just how good it was.
Archaeology Boat Tour by Wendella
The boat tour we signed up for was the Archaeology Boat Tour by Wendella.
We were told by a friend that the “Lake & River” tour was the best one to get, but it didn’t have any reasonable time slots available for the weekend when we were in town. So we went with the 90-minute River tour.
We picked a time slot of 6pm when we went in August, hoping we’d get some sunlight for part of the ride but also some of that great dusk time of day. And we did indeed get both. We were actually on the ship just as sunset was occurring when we pulled in to the dock, so it was like we got to experience all phases of the day on the tour, which was awesome.
That picture above shows what level of daylight was at dusk as we neared the end of the ride.
The ride itself was fantastic. Any time there is a water way that is running between highrises, it makes for a unique experience. You just don’t see it in that many places of the world.
And on top of that, Chicago has the El train going through its downtown, so there were parts of the ride where we are sitting on the beautiful waterway, seeing highrises on both sides, and seeing an elevated train going over the water and through town. It was an incredible sight to behold.
The funny part is that the train is old school, but the fact that it was elevated made it almost look like a futuristic city to us.
The archaeology itself was also fun to see. There was one set of buildings in particular that we found remarkable:
It’s hard to get a good vantage point of those buildings where you’re in downtown itself, so being on the boat gave us the perspective needed to really appreciate the beauty of them.
And in case you’re wondering, that tallest building in the picture is purposely missing a few floors near the top. That’s so that wind can pass through! It’s a safety measure to keep the building upright.
Another thing you can see in that picture is the people walking along the side of the river. It’s a very fun environment and some parts of the river have parks right along the side where people are playing or having picnics.
One of our concerns about taking this “River” tour (as opposed to the River & Lake tour) was that we wouldn’t be able to see any panorama shots of the city from the boat. But it turns out that even on the River-only tour, you get some killer panorama shots.
Here’s an example of one we took:
They basically take you out to the mouth of the river, which is positioned well for a view of the skyline and a great panorama of the city.
It’s interesting because the River & Lake tours were booked up solid, but the River-only tour had plenty of availability at the time we booked. Yet the River-only tour actually had awesome panorama views from the edge of the lake. I think I would actually prefer the River-only tour based on that.
Overall, the Wendella Archaeology River Tour in Chicago was fantastic. For me, it was a bucket list item to do a river tour in Chicago, and the tour at Wendella met all my expectations with flying colors. I would happily recommend it to anyone who’s interested.