Certified & Professional Docents

A Tour from the Expert

  • Al

    A native Chicagoan and a tour guide for roughly 3 decades. Al has provided tours for the Chicago History Museum over a wide range of subjects for 19 years, the Neighborhood Tours Program offered by the Chicago Dept. of Special Events for over a decade until the program’s close, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Newberry Library. He is acknowledged as past Volunteer Preservationist of the Year by the Chicago Coordinating Council for Landmarks Preservation. Al has also held leadership positions with the Chicago Tour Guides Professional Assoc. & the Chicago Art Deco Society.

    Al

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Too many to choose from

    • Restaurant

      Coco Pazzo

  • Amy

    An avid White Sox fan, Amy was born and raised in the South Suburbs of Chicago. She has both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Art History. In addition to working as a Chicago Line Docent, Amy is currently an Instructor at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, where she teaches Art History and Humanities, and acts as an advisor to the Art Club. As if she weren’t busy enough, she is also taking classes in order to move forward with earning her Ph.D. in Art History. (Photo - Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.)

    Amy

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      The Art Institute of Chicago

    • Restaurant

      Mastro's Steakhouse

  • Bill

    Bill Bunker is a native of the Midwest, raised in St. Louis. As a young college graduate, he moved to the big city of Chicago to seek his fortune. Once there, he took a job with a this newly formed tour boat company, Chicago Line Cruises, and has been here ever since. In addition to working as a Docent, Bill is a local comedian and his tours tend to bring his certain style of humor to the magnificent story of Chicago and its skyline.

    Bill

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      The Merchandise Mart

    • Restaurant

      Girl & The Goat

  • Chris

    Working as a tour guide in college and then as a walking tour guide in New York City, Chris found his calling to inform and excite people about history and the buildings that help to tell the story. While getting his Master's Degree in Education in Chicago, Chris would hear the Docents spouting off facts during his lunches along the river, and he decided he would join them. Thus, with some experience and luck, Chris became a Docent in the summer and a high school history teacher the rest of the year. He looks forward to sharing the buildings and history of Chicago with you!

    Chris

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Aqua

    • Restaurant

      Tengo Sur

  • Deb

    Deb was born in Chicago. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Northern Illinois University, she began teaching while working on a Master’s degree in Special Education. Deb has volunteered for and attended classes at the Architectural Society, after which she volunteered her services as a tour guide for the Chicago Historical Society’s various projects. She has been a Docent at Chicago Line Cruises for the past 24 years, providing guests with extensive and fun information on the history and architecture of this great city.

    Deb

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Wrigley Building

    • Restaurant

      Shaws

  • Diane

    Diane has been a Docent for Chicago Line Cruises since July 2003. A former clinical social worker, Diane moved here in 1971 to attend the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. She fell in love with Chicago, its people, and its history, so never left. When away from Chicago Line, Diane is a house historian who researches old Chicago homes. A passionate preservationist, Diane was part of the group that worked to landmark the Old Town Triangle Historic District, which is her home today and her second favorite place to offer tours.

    Diane

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Montgomery Ward Warehouse Building

    • Restaurant

      Nookies

  • Ed

    Ed Mazur is a dynamic, entertaining, knowledgeable, and skilled certified tour guide for more than 25 years. He is a retired professor of Urban Studies/Chicago History and Politics. Known as "the Professor", Ed, a University of Chicago Ph.D., enjoys tours featuring Chicago architecture, history, neighborhoods, gangsters, and religious institutions. Ed Mazur is a veteran Chicago Line Docent and Trip Advisor has described him as "one of the best." Ed is a consultant/guide to World Chicago and a Chicago City Club Board Member.

    Ed

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Willis Tower / Sears Tower

    • Restaurant

      Santorini in Greek Town

  • Judith

    Born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago, Judith attended Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she graduated with a B.F.A in Art. Judith volunteered for 16 years as a Docent for another organization, leading architectural tours on foot, by bus and boat, and becoming the Docent instructor river cruise candidates. Judith served as a guide for the Chicago Cultural Center Neighborhood Tour program and is an officer of the Chicago Tour Guides Professional Association. (Photo courtesy of the City of Chicago.)

    Judith

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Chicago Cultural Center

    • Restaurant

      Tamarind

  • Katie

    Katie an architecture enthusiast, views living in a South Side neighborhood as privilege, amidst a decent measure of brilliantly designed Frank Lloyd Wright homes. She received a B.A. from DePaul University in Communication: Media Studies, Creative Writing, Broadcasting. Katie feels very fortunate to be able to share her affection for the city and lucky to have the chance to combine her love for the city, affinity for performing, respect for architecture, appreciation for history, passion for research and their elusive fondness for public speaking, into one delightful presentation.

    Katie

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      77 West Wacker

    • Restaurant

      Pancho Pistolas

  • Marshall

    Born and raised in Chicago, Marshall knows the Windy City! He earned a degree in American History from the University of Illinois-Urbana, followed closely by a Master’s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. A Chicago Greeter and Certified Tour Guide of the Chicago Tour Guide Professional Association. He is a member of the St Sebastian Players (celebrating its 35th anniversary) ensemble and last appeared as Gonzalo in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.

    Marshall

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Carbon and Carbide Building

    • Restaurant

      Mon Ami Gabi

  • Pat

    Pat has been a Docent at Chicago Line Cruises for the past 15 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Notre Dame and a Master’s degree from Illinois Institute of Technology. An active member in his community of Park Forest, he spent nearly two decades on the Village Board of Trustees, followed by serving on the Library Board and as President of the local Art Center. After teaching high school Art and English for 35 years, Pat continues to spread his wealth of knowledge as a professor of Humanities, Art History and art appreciation at Moraine Valley Community College.

    Pat

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      London Guarantee Building

    • Restaurant

      Pizzaria

  • Sharon

    Originally from Indiana, Sharon Sylvester moved to the Chicagoland area after college to teach high school Spanish. She has been a Chicago tour guide for 20 years, and especially enjoys the history and diversity of this city. During those two decades, Sharon was a docent for the Chicago History Museum on a variety of subjects, including the many diverse neighborhoods and The Devil in the White City, a 2003 book by Erik Larson about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. When not exploring her home city, Sharon is travelling and spending time with her lovely family.

    Sharon

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Civic Opera House

    • Restaurant

      Joe's Seafood

  •  Shawn

    Shawn is a native of the Chicago area and has long held a strong interest in the built environment. He received a B.A. in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Art History focusing on architectural and urban history. Shawn continued his education at UIC, earning a Masters of Urban Planning and Policy with a duel concentration focusing on Physical Planning and Urban Transportation. Shawn has over ten years of experience as a tour guide of Chicago.

    Shawn

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      John Hancock Center

    • Restaurant

      Chi Cafe (Chinatown)

  • Terry

    Terry has been a Chicago practicing architect, tour guide, and lecturer on bridges for over 20 years. Along with his love of Chicago buildings, Terry has a passion for Chicago bridges. He has worked on several of Chicago’s historic and modern bridges. His fascination with the bridges extends to the bridge houses, which he views as the architectural jewels of Chicago and a living timeline of the city’s architectural styles. When not docenting or day dreaming about his next adventure vacation, Terry practices architecture as a principal at Johnson, Lasky, Kindelin Architects.

    Terry

    Chicago Favorites
    • Building

      Chicago Bridge Houses

    • Restaurant

      Emerald Loop

In 1981, two lawyers — Terry Johnson and Paul McCarthy — purchased the Betty Jean, and began a private charter business called Chicago From the Lake.

A friend and client, the late James Bidwill of the Merchandise Mart and later Chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, suggested an Architectual River Cruise cruise, complete with a docent… and thus a new industry was born. “CFL” moved to North Pier, added the Ft. Dearborn, Marquette, and Innisfree to its fleet and became Chicago Line Cruises — “without question the best architectural tour available in the city of Chicago:witty, informative, and engaging” (Chicago Sun-Times). Come sail with us into the city of broad shoulders and vertical dreams as our expert docents present more than 50 skyscrapers, bascule bridges and historic sites.

  • fernasteady / Tripadvisor
    “Fantastic, informative cruise! The guide was incredibly knowledgeable and able to answer impromptu questions. I highly recommend it.”
  • TravelGeek26 / Tripadvisor
    “Wow. You think you know Chicago? Take a ride on this cruise and you will be blown away by the information. We took the 90 minute cruise. It included free cookies, soda, coffee and tea which was a nice touch.”
  • Tali N / Toronto
    ““Don't be tempted by the boats on the main river” - Their location is not on the river itself but just a few minutes walk from it. worth it !”
  • Operagolf / La Habra
    “This is my 8th time on a Chicago architectural river cruise and this was by far the most informative and biggest bang for your buck.”
  • Marc K. / Whittier, CA
    “Great tour! Learned so much about the history of Chicago architecture. Would definitely do this again since skyline changes with new buildings going up.”

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