A few summers ago, I was surprised to see a vintage sailing ship docked on the Chicago River at the point where it joins Lake Michigan that looked like it was from the 1700′s. It was the Tall Ships visiting Chicago, and they will be back this summer with more sailing excursions to offer Chicagoans a really unique experience. This will be a rare vintage sailing event for Chicago.
The ships come all the way from Canada, Germany and The Netherlands in addition to the ones from the US. You will be able to tour the Tall Ships for a weekend in August while they are at Navy Pier, and they have several tours and sailing ticket packages available. To tour the Tall Ships usually costs around $15-20. To take a 60-90 minute sailing ride on Lake Michigan, it can cost from $45-55, and a special trip to be on the Tall Ships as they are in the Parade of Sails it is nearly $200 per person.
It is a bit expensive, but it is a once in a lifetime experience, it’s not like it is easy to maintain these boats and they aren’t very common anymore. You can get a $2 discount with a specially marked Pepsi can and some tickets are available at neighborhood grocery stores at a 35% discount in advance.
There will also be nightly fireworks shows the weekend the tall sailing ships visit. If your kids like the Pirates of the Caribbean or just Pirates in general they may really enjoy seeing these old navy ships in action.
It is also good to remember that Navy Pier is also where Chicago Architectural Tours, Sea Dog Tours and Shoreline Sight Seeing tours are docked on a daily basis. So, when your relatives come to visit and want to see Chicago or the kids need a summer field trip, these can also be fun affordable tours to take on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Parking is easy, there is an enormous parking garage inside Navy Pier Just turn North of the pier and drive along side, large signs direct traffic in to the parking under the buildings. Expect parking to be around $25.