CHICAGO - This windy city is known as the birthplace of the skyscraper, and there's no better way to see the monumental buildings that earned that distinction than on a boat tour on the Chicago River.
On a 90-minute cruise on a Chicago's First Lady vessel, we learned that the great fire of 1871, which destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, also created a blank canvas that drew architects from around the world who competed to design the tallest and most innovative buildings of the time. Docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation narrate the tour past structures such as the Gothic-towered Chicago Tribune building (1925); the massive Merchandise Mart (1930); the cylindrical, honeycombed Marina City (1964) with residences around the core and parking spaces on the outer edges; the spare
Chicago's First Lady, Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, 312-902-1500, cruisechicago.com. Monday-Friday $26, weekends and holidays $28. Daily through Oct. 28, Friday-Sunday Nov. 2-18.