Thursday 17 June 2021
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We Ask, They Answer: Q&A with Chicago Architecture Center river cruise tour guide Lance Friedmann

Chicago Architecture Center docent Lance Friedmann is the tour director for the CAFC river cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady, the CAC’s official architecture experience and the only cruise endorsed by Chicago’s leading architects.

Q: Why are the CAC architecture cruises the most popular thing to do in Chicago every summer and fall?

A: The cruise is breathtaking — gliding through a canyon of skyscrapers is an unmatched experience. The docents’ stories vividly bring to life the buildings and the story of Chicago. And it’s a delightful way for families and friends to share an experience they will talk about for years.

Q: What are two of your favorite buildings in Chicago and why?  

A: 150 North Riverside because its shoots out from a narrow 40-foot footprint to three times that width, then goes straight up over 50 stories. River cruise guests can’t stop gawking at its gravity-defying profile. And the St. Jane Hotel, originally the Carbide & Carbon Building, is a stunning, soaring Art Deco tower that was designed to resemble a champagne bottle with a dark green shaft and bright gold cap.

Q: What are a few other CAC tours that intrigue you the most?

A: Chicago Architecture: A Walk Through Time is the CAC’s only tour to guide guests chronologically through the history of the skyscraper, all within a five-block radius of the Architecture Center — something that could only be done in Chicago. And the Devil in the White City tour, which mixes slides, a bus excursion and a walk through Jackson Park to tell the story of the extraordinary 1893 Columbian Exposition & World’s Fair, as well as the infamous serial murderer Dr. H.H. Holmes.

Q: What are two Chicago restaurants you’d recommend to friends and family?

A: The Publican, in the hopping Fulton Market District, offers beautifully prepared vegetables, pork and seafood — along with notoriously delicious frites and the best beer menu in town — in a raucous gastropub scene. And Frontera Grill in River North, where national treasure Rick Bayless continually pushes the envelope on inspired regional cuisines from Mexico.

Q: What’s an underrated photo opportunity in Chicago?

A: The cityscape from Adler Planetarium — you see our “front porch” of Grant and Millennium Parks, with the entire skyline behind it. Unbeatable.

Q: Finish this sentence: A day spent with the CAC in August or September will be…

A: An unforgettable blend of stunning images, surprising stories and pure fun.

For more on the Chicago Architecture Center and its more than 80 tour possibilities, visit