The Architecture of Chicago
It all started as a joke. My team of 6 was sitting around our office conference table discussing our upcoming trip to Chicago for the University of Chicago's Data Science for Social Good conference. My colleague Susannah and I had been with the team for about a month at this point, and she was taking the opportunity to pick on her older brother.
"My brother is such a nerd! He said if we're going to Chicago we need to take some architecture boat tour." I laughed with her for a few seconds before realizing that our other four team members we looking encouragingly back at us.
"Absolutely, you should do that. It's a great tour," one of them exclaimed.
"Wait, really?" Susannah said. "I thought he was joking!"
Needless to say, when we arrived in Chicago and had a Sunday afternoon to burn, we walked down to the riverfront to get on board a small cruise boat for an architecture tour of Chicago.
"Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world" -Frank Lloyd Wright
The company we went with was Chicago's First Lady Cruises (@cflcruises). We bought our tickets right at the booth next to the waterfront and climbed onto the top deck of the boat. Almost instantly, I couldn't put my phone camera down.
The tour was insanely beautiful. Winding along the river in the streaming sun, we saw so many immaculate buildings, brand new and very old, while learning the history of the city (and the river) itself. Our tour guide was super informative and very upbeat, telling us about each building we passed, and even some we didn't.
One building that she explained although it doesn't sit on the edge of the river was the Chicago Tribune building. Susannah and I went to explore it on our own briefly after the tour. When the building was built, the Tribune "sent out it's reporters to steal stones from all over the world." Set into the outer facade of the building are stones from the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, and even from Abraham Lincoln's tomb. Etched on the inside walls (in the lobby at least) are quotes about the importance of journalism and the news media as the Fourth Estate.
The tour was incredible, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Chicago. I would even go again, perhaps for a sunset one the next time.