In the News

Architecture, food and music keep tourists coming to Chicago

New York Daily News
December 2015

According to our waiter, there was only one way to truly appreciate the city’s love of architecture: a Chicago River tour. So the next day, we signed up with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. We lucked into a gloriously balmy day, and everybody piled onto the upper deck for the gentle, 90-minute trip along the water ribboning through the city. Read the article.

Insider Guide: Best of Chicago

November 2015

Ask anyone on the street what he or she likes most about Chicago, and you'll mostly likely get "the friendly people. But what makes Chicagoans so gosh darn friendly? Perhaps it's the camaraderie they form during the city's harsh winters and blessed summers. Or maybe it's because this Midwestern mecca has some of the best museums, restaurants and architecture in the world -- and it's all actually affordable. Read the article.

Chicago’s Coolest Venues for Private Parties

Make It Better
 November 6, 2015 

No matter the celebration, it’s always especially memorable when the event takes place at a unique venue. These Chicago and North Shore locations are hidden gems, perfect for your next wedding, anniversary party, shower, bar mitzvah or birthday bash. Read the article.

SKY LINES: Chicago, an architectural beacon

NUVO Magazine
October 2015

There are architectural boat tours, and then there’s the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise, the best of them all. Not just because it passes through some of the richest architectural landscape in the world, but also because each of the docents is a passionate expert on their city, tracing Chicago’s meteoric rise over the last century-and-a-half with humour and without boosterism. Read the article.

CHICAGO: Plein La Vue!

La Metropole
October 14, 2015

Chicago n’est plus la ville du célèbre gangster Al Capone*1 et des bars louches. Chicago est une ville moderne, propre sécuritaire, très bien organisée et franchement très belle. Chicago est d’ailleurs aujourd’hui reconnue comme la capitale de l’architecture moderne des États-Unis. Pour vous en convaincre, prenez le tour du Chicago’s First Lady Cruise sur le thème de l’architecture. 

Translation: Chicago is not the city of the famous gangster Al Capone and sleazy bars. Chicago is a modern city, clean, safe, well organized and downright beautiful. Chicago is also now recognized as the capital of modern architecture in the United States. To convince you, take the tour of Chicago's First Lady Cruises on the theme of architecture. Read the article.

20 Ultimate Things to Do in Chicago

September 18, 2015

Chicago’s impressive skyline is wonderful to gawk at while floating down the Chicago River, and many operators offer boat rides to take in the lovely sights. The best of these, however, are the 90-minute tours led by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

TripAdvisor Shines a Spotlight on the Top 10 Tours in the U.S.

September 2015

TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site, announced the top 10 tours across the U.S., based on the quality and quantity of reviews and opinions from millions of TripAdvisor travelers. The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises was the only tour in the Midwest to make the top 10 list. Read the article.

Must-sees in seven cities: How to make the best use of that stopover

The Globe and Mail
September 2015 

Having a layover in a foreign city is one of the hassles of business travel. Nobody wants to waste half a day at another anonymous, soul-numbing airport. Here’s a look at some great things you can do if you’ve got a longer-than-normal layover in various cities around the globe, with a great thing to do and a great meal to try. Read the article.

Chicago First Lady Tour: A boat's eye look at Chicago architecture

Chicago Now
July 2015

The Chicago Architecture Foundation's (CAF) First Lady Tour shows off Chicago's world renown architecture via boats that wind down the Chicago River along the newly created Riverwalk; the North Branch; River City; Navy Pier and more accompanied by lively commentary covering over 50 buildings, their architects and Chicago history along the way. Read the article.

See Chicago from a different point of view

Wood TV
July 2015

So many people in West Michigan make road trips to Chicago. It’s absolutely beautiful there in the summer and a great way to experience the city involves getting on a boat! Read the article.


One Perfect Day in Chicago

Yahoo! Travel
July 2015

Fringed by Lake Michigan, Chicago bats in a league all its own. Days are enjoyed by dining al fresco, hitting up the beaches that stretch along the lake, getting out on the water, taking in a free movie at the park, and attending the endless street festivals that pop up around the city. Here’s the perfect day in Chicago. Read the article.

7 Intimate Chicago Wedding Venues That Will Fit Your Event Just Right!

Here Comes The Guide
July 2015

If you’re planning a small wedding, you may feel a little like Goldilocks as you try to find a place that fits your event “just right”. But if you’re searching in Chicago you’re in luck! The Windy City offers plenty of options for hosting an intimate wedding, from a private mansion or vintage loft to a sleek yacht or Italian restaurant. While some of the venues we’ve listed also have spaces that are great for larger groups, all of them happily accommodate cozier celebrations. Read the article.

First Date with Chicago

Vacations & Travel
July 2015

For first time visitors to this city by the lake, it is seriously impressive. So much so that you can’t help but fall in love at first sight. Here are ten of the best things to do on a first visit. Read the article.

Chicago: Don't Look Down

San Antonio Magazine
April 2015

The heights of Chicago may be irresistible, but the city’s remarkable culture and architecture are best experienced on the ground. Read the article.

3 Day-Cruises Worth the Trip

New York Times
March 2015

Chicago's First Lady Cruises is the New York Times's pick for enjoying Chicago's "architecture, nature and history — in just a few hours." Read the article.

3 Days In Chicago

Condé Nast Traveler
December 2014

Condé Nast Traveler planned a three-day itinerary for Chicago tourists. The magazine recommends Chicago's First Lady Cruises for exploring the city's architecture. Read the article.

10 Most Unusual Wedding Venues in America

The Knot
November 2014

If you’re not getting married in a house of worship, your venue options are almost endless. Here are a few of our favorite offbeat ideas. Read the article.

Make waves this summer on 5 fun-filled urban river cruises

New York Post
July 2014

For many folks, summer often means escaping to the beach. But city-folk — and travelers — can take in a dose of water-filled fun this summer without ever leaving town. How? By experiencing one of the numerous river cruises in key cities nationwide. Chicago's First Lady Cruises is the Post's choice for river cruises in Chicago. Read the article.

Desiree Rogers introduces “Chicago’s Classic Lady”

May 2014

Chicago’s First Lady cruises is adding another vessel to the Chicago Architecture Foundation Cruise fleet, “Chicago’s Classic Lady.”  Desiree Rogers, Board Chair for ChooseChicago and Holly Agra, President of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises joined Sirott and Murciano to talk about Chicago’s tourism industry. Listen to the interview.

Desiree Rogers reveals yet another side of herself at a christening

Chicago Business Journal
May 2014

Rogers was on board Chicago's Classic Lady to formally christen the new boat before a crowd of local officials and other VIP's. Read the article.

Chicago's First Lady Cruises adds new vessel, christened by Desirée Rogers
May 2014

Desirée Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, christened Chicago's First Lady Cruises's newest custom luxury yacht, Chicago's Classic Lady. Read the article.

10 Reasons to Honeymoon in Chicago

Irish Brides
October 2013

A mix of old-fashioned glamour and urban chic, Chicago is the insider’s choice for American cool. The Windy City may seem low-key, but this culture-rich metropolis makes for a fast-paced and fabulous honeymoon hangout, says Jillian Bolger. Read the article.

Friendly locals, top attractions, make Chicago one of a kind

Brantford Explorer
August 2013


The Windy City is known for its distinctive architecture. A Chicago Architecture Foundation Cruise with Chicago's First Lady Cruises will help you get your bearings as you float through the city centre. Read the article.

Woman saved after jumping into Chicago River--for a swim

Chicago Tribune
May 2013

A woman who is believed to have jumped into the Chicago River downtown for a swim was quickly rescued by the crew of a tour boat--in the middle of their annual Coast Guard inspection, officials said. Read the article.

Docents from suburbs love to lead Chicago architecture boat tours

Daily Herald
August 2012

When you board the Leading Lady, the vessel on which this official Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise is held, it's easy to mistake Captain Rich Casler for the boat's undisputed leader. In addition to the title -- and the outfit befitting a man in such a position -- he's the one addressing the assembling crowd, informing the passengers of coast guard regulations and pitching special raspberry vodka lemonades and souvenir Chicago's First Lady hats. Read the article.

Vision beyond the horizon helps Chicago's First Lady Cruises grow, succeed

Chicago Tribune
May 2012

Chicago's First Lady Cruises has been the official fleet of the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise for 19 years and is the sister company of Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline. Agra, 54, has been at the helm of growth at both since she smashed a bottle of Dom Perignon on the hull of the First Lady's first ship in 1991. Read the article.

Doll lore and Chicago history blend in boat tour
July 2011

Through a recent teaming between American Girl Place, the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago's First Lady Cruises, young girls and their families are in for an exciting experience in the Windy City this summer. Read the article.

River cruises spotlight Chicago's architecture

USA Today
April 2008

Tickets are on sale for Chicago's architecture cruise, which starts running again for the season beginning May 3. Read the article.

Cruise Chicago's architecture
April 2008

If you love Chicago and its unique architecture, it's time to think about cruising it in a new way. Read the article.