3 Things they WON’T tell you on the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour!

One of the best views of the city is found on an architectural boat tour in Chicago. Their guides are professionals who will provide fascinating historical and cultural facts to brighten your trip. For one reason or another, here are 3 real stories they won’t tell you while you take in Chicago’s best views!

  1. The Forgotten Tragedy of the SS Eastland: As your boat tour passes LaSalle Street Bridge, it rutters above one of the deadliest tragedies in American history. That fateful summer morning in 1915, the SS Eastland, a passenger ship, capsized in the middle of the Chicago river! 844 passengers lost their lives, ironically merely feet from shore, and still stands as Chicago’s deadliest day. This often-overlooked event is a reminder that the Chicago River has not only witnessed architectural achievements, but a shocking tragedy that shapes the city to this day. 
  2. The Dave Matthews Band Boat Incident: If you’re still enjoying your architectural boat tour in Chicago as it passes the Kinzie Street Bridge, don’t look up. In 2004, as the Dave Matthews Band tour bus crossed this very bridge, the driver casually emptied the septic tank, unleashing an alleged 800 pounds of human waste onto the 1pm Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. Though not your typical architectural highlight, this nauseating incident is a reminder that the best memories of any vacation are the moments of spontaneity. 
  3. The Brothels inside the Marina City Towers: In 2009 the residents of the iconically circular Marina City Towers were surprised to learn that their neighbor, Dr. Gary Kimmel, with the support of organized crime, had been using 9 residences as brothels, and had turned their respectable buildings into a harem. It is a sour reminder that even inside our greatest architectural achievements there are dark reminders of Chicago’s organized criminal past even in the recent past. For what it’s worth, Dr. Kimmel is no longer allowed to practice dentistry in the state of Illinois.

An Architectural boat tour in Chicago is still one of the best things to do in Chicago. As you head on your voyage to discover architectural gems on the waters of the Chicago River, don’t forget sometimes the best stories are not what you can see, but what you can’t unsee. 

P.S, If you are looking for things to do in Chicago, please try our Chicago Murder Mystery Tour! It’s an opportunity to find out about even more secrets and hidden history in Chicago!

Andre Baronov


  • The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Site
  • The famous alleyway from a legendary crime
  • The haunted Chicago theatre

And a whole lot more!