Wendella Boat Rides


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In a Nutshell

  • Learn about Chicago architecture
  • Excellent family activity
  • Includes choice of bar drink

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Nov 30, 2011. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 person, may buy multiple as gifts. Reservation required 24-hrs in advance by phone; subject to availability. Not valid on 5/28-30, 7/1-4, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23, 7/30, 8/5-7, 8/13, 8/20, 8/27, 9/3-5, or on any holiday. No cash back. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Booking an architecture tour is a lot like skydiving out of 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 Groupon: for $17, you get one seat aboard a 75-minute Chicago River architecture tour with Wendella Boats, plus one drink ticket (up to a $34 total value). This deal is good for all 2011 tours listed here. Tours set sail from the Wrigley Building, located at 400 N. Michigan Ave.

Wendella's Chicago River architecture tours funnel guests through the Windy City's awe-inspiring network of skyscrapers and the country's only high-rises built entirely of meat. Over the course of an hour and 15 minutes, passengers will get acquainted with the works of such architectural titans as Mies van der Rohe; Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill; and Helmut Jahn and sip on a drink of their choice. Led by Wendella's trained architecture guides, the tours provide a literal boatload of high-rise lore and imbue guests with party-ready quips about buttresses, flying buttresses, and NFL great Dick Buttress. The tour will cover more than 130 years of local architectural history, ranging from the early Chicago style to art deco and postmodernism, pointing out Chicago's most iconic structures to knowledge-needing tourists, architecture students, and newly displaced spidermen.

Wendella Boats

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.

Customer Reviews

Loved it!! The tour was awesome: both funny and informative, it gave us a new perspective of this city we love. The tour guide was the icing on the cake! She was great! I would recommend this for tourists and residents of Chicago alike.
Lorraine R. · May 13, 2013
Awesome tour, Ben the guide was excellent
Chinette D. · May 9, 2013
The gentleman conduiting the tour was a delight. A walking encyclopedia & a delightful personality. An enjoyable experience.
Danielle S. · July 15, 2012

By purchasing this deal you'll unlock points which can be spent on discounts and rewards. Every 5,000 points can be redeemed for $5 Off your next purchase.