Departing fr om Na vy P ier. & 866/211-3804. w ww.spiritcruises.com. L unch cruises $40-$50, dinner
(seated) $80-$110, sunset and midnight cruises $32. Ask about children's rates. Daily year-round.
Wendella Sightseeing Boats All ages. Wendella is the granddaddy of all sightsee-
ing operators in Chicago . S tarted in 1935, it 's r un b y the original o wner's son, Bob
Borgstrom, whose o wn two sons ser ve as captains. You won't find a mor e authoritative
source on the Chicago River than Borgstrom.
Wendella operates a 1-hour water tour along the Chicago Riv er, and a 1 1 / 2 -hour tour
along the riv er and out onto Lake M ichigan (one of the highlights for kids is passing
through the locks that separate the river from the lake). Boats run from late April to early
October. The 2-hour sunset tour r uns Memorial Day to Labor Day starting at 7:45pm.
Scheduling for cr uises depends on the season and the w eather, but cr uises usually leave
every hour during the summer.
Departing from Michigan Ave. and Wacker Dr. (north side of the river, at the Wrigley Bldg.). & 312/337-
1446. www.wendellaboats.com. Tickets $22 adults, $20 seniors, $11 children 3-11, free for children 2 and
under. Daily late Apr-early Oct.
Windy Ages 8 & up. One of the more breathtaking scenes on the lake is watching this
tall ship approach the docks at Navy Pier. The 148-foot-long, four-masted schooner (and
its new sister ship, the Windy II ) sets sail for 90-minute cr uises two to fiv e times a day,
both day and evening. Of course, the boats are at the whims of the wind, so every cruise
charts a differ ent course. P assengers ar e w elcome to help raise and trim the sails and
occasionally take turns at the ship's helm (with the captain standing close by). Ask about
“Pirate” cruises for the kids. The boats are not accessible for people with disabilities.
Departing from Navy Pier. & 312/595-5555. Tickets $27 adults, $20 seniors and children 11 and under.
Tickets go on sale 1 hr. before the 1st sail of the da y at the boat's ticket office, on the dock at Na vy Pier.
Reservations (except for groups) are not accepted. Call for sailing times.
NEIGHBORHOOD TOURS It's a bit of a cliché to say that Chicago is a city of neigh-
borhoods, but if you want to see what really makes Chicago special, that's where you have
to go. And if you're a bit intimidated by public transportation and getting around a less
tourist-friendly area of the city , an escor ted tour is the per fect way to see places y ou'd
otherwise miss. Sponsored by the D epartment of Cultural Affairs, Chicago Neighbor-
hood Tours ( & 312/742-1190; www.chgocitytours.com) are 4- to 5-hour narrated bus
excursions to about a doz en diverse communities throughout the city. Embarking from
the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St., every Saturday (not on major holidays
and not during Jan, generally, so call first), the tours visit different neighborhoods, from
Chinatown and historic B ronzeville on the S outh Side to the ethnic enclav es of Devon
Avenue and U ptown on the N orth Side. Neighborhood representatives serve as guides
and greeters along the way as tour par ticipants visit ar ea landmarks, murals, museums,
and shopping districts. Tickets (including a light snack) ar e $25 for adults and $20 for
seniors, students, and children 8 to 18. S everal specialty tours have recently been added
to the mix, including Literar y Chicago; the Great Chicago Fire; Roots of Blues, Gospel
& Jazz; Threads of I reland; Jewish Legacy; and an E thnic Cemetery tour. These tours,
which generally run 4 to 6 hours and include lunch, ar e more expensive ($40).
The Chicago History Museum offers a handful of walking tours every summer of the
Gold Coast, O ld Town, and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. Led b y museum docents,
they average about four per month from June to August. Day and evening tours are avail-
able, and a few specialty walking tours usually are given as well. Tours are $10 per person,