Going on an architecture tour is a lot like skydiving out a flaming airplane, pulling the emergency 'chute, and landing on a boat providing guided architecture tours. Give your mind a rush of knowledge with today's deal. For $12, you get one seat aboard a 75-minute Chicago River sightseeing and architecture tour with Wendella (a $25 value). Give the early Groupon gift of summer, as this deal is good for all 2010 tours listed here. Every voyage launches at the Wrigley Building, located at 400 N. Michigan Ave.
If you're not familiar with the work of Mies van der Rohe, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Helmut Jahn, you should be. Their buildings are to Chicago what the chest part of your shirt is to your shirt. Learn the facts of these essential and wondrous buildings, so the next time you're at an architecture-themed cocktail party, you'll have incisive quips about buttresses at the ready.
The view from the river is unbeatable, and so are Wendella's personable guides, who are known to impress Chicago natives with a vast amount of city knowledge. They're the best at weaving Chicago's rich heritage into compelling narratives and unearthing nuggets of high-rise lore. Today's Groupon is a boatload of brain candy for any serious architectural student, architect serious about students, or retired sailors with a yearning to return to the high seas.
More than 100 Yelpers give Wendella Sightseeing Boats an average of 4.5 stars:
- Even though I've been a Chicago native all of my life it was very nice to see the city from the lake. Our tour guide was very informative and the skyline with the sunset was very nice. – Corley S.
- I can say, without any doubt in my mind, that Wendella Boat Tours is my favorite thing to do over a Chicago summer. Every time I have a friend in town, this is always on the agenda… Wendella consistently has the best guides for the least amount of money... – Danny M.
- Every tourist and every Chicago citizen should take a river and lake tour at least once. I can't tell you how BEAUTIFUL and GRAND Chicago and its skyline looks from the water. You can't get better views (nope, not even from the Sears Tower). – Jade T.
In 1935, Albert Borgstrom, a Swedish immigrant and carpenter by trade, set about constructing a 65-foot wooden yacht. He named the ship The Wendella and charged visitors $0.25 to ride through the city and listen to a guide expound on the sights. This simple vessel ended up being a steppingstone, and 75 years later, guests still ride along, now craning their heads back at the jagged opalescent silhouette of Trump Tower and the beehive curves of Marina City. Beneath the evolving skyline, the fleet has expanded to six vessels, which are now run by Albert's grandson, Michael Borgstrom. Wendella staffs a dedicated, in-house education department to keep the city's history alive and make sure that people continue to believe in water so it doesn’t disappear. On special excursions, the crew stocks the boats with wine for tastings beneath the stars or points the vessel through the verdigris waters of the lake to watch evening fireworks shows.