Our cruise started at 8:30 p.m., just as the sunset was starting to set. Dusk was always my favorite part of the day in the city. The architecture looks absolutely stunning in that light.
As soon as we got on the boat, we headed towards Lake Michigan. The Wendella Fireworks Cruise isn’t heavily narrated, but the guide did explain the history of the Chicago River and the Chicago Harbor Lock, which was interesting (it involved a lawsuit by Missouri because Chicago had reversed its river and started dumping its waste into the Mississippi River!). The whole lock process takes about 10 minutes. I loved watching the water rise to account for the difference in depths between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.
Once we got through the lock, we had about an hour until the start of the fireworks show, which we spent riding around and enjoying views of the Chicago skyline as the sun set.
The actual fireworks part of the cruise was spectacular. The fireworks are fired from a barge on Lake Michigan, so our boat was able to get insanely close to the action. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to a fireworks display (other than setting them off on our own, of course). While watching fireworks, I have a rule: enjoy them and don’t worry about taking photos. I have spent way too many times in the past trying to get the perfect shot and missing out on the show. Christopher did get some great shots for me to share with y’all, though.
After the fireworks were over, we were able to get through the locks quickly enough that our guide decided to do a mini tour of the architecture on the Chicago River. It was such a fun ending to a great two hours.
If you love fireworks and are in Chicago during the summer, I highly recommend doing a fireworks cruise.