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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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Chicago, United States
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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Safety measures
icon1 hour 15 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 1 more

Overview

Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
  • Discover all three branches of the Chicago River with your guide, an expert in architecture
  • Enjoy the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline and architecture
  • See more than 40 buildings including the Wrigley Building and Willis Tower
  • Discover the major events that helped shape the architectural history of Chicago

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

This ultra-flexible, cruise runs more than 20 times daily from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.
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Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
Live commentary on board
Drinks (available for purchase)

Departure Point

401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Return Details

Returns to original departure point

Departure Point

124 N Streeter Dr, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue (depending on option chosen) for your cruise departure. Board your riverboat and find a comfortable seat; a restroom and sometimes a full bar are available on the boat. Listen as your guide, an architecture expert, gives you an introduction to the city's landmarks. 

Along the scenic route, see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. A boat on the river is the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline.

Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings, including the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the Wrigley Building, and the Lyric Opera House. Listen as your guide recounts the two major events that helped shape the architectural history of the city. Learn about how the invention of balloon-frame construction revolutionized how homes were built, and hear the dramatic story of Chicago's rise from the Great Fire of 1871. Both of these milestones led Chicago to become one of the cradles of modern American architecture.

Your cruise ends at its starting point.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Chicago River
Cruise takes place on the Chicago River.
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Chicago Skyline
Enjoy an amazing view of the city's skyline.
Pass By:  
Chicago Board of Trade Building
An art deco masterpiece, this is the home of many of the city's financial movers and shakers.
Pass By:  
Wrigley Building
This white, terra-cotta landmark was built in 1922 as headquarters for the Wrigley chewing gum company.
Pass By:  
Navy Pier
50 acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, eateries and attractions, including a 15-story Ferris wheel.
Pass By:  
Illinois Center
This mixed-used building is notable in that the streets running through it have three levels.
Pass By:  
Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower
Tallest building in the Western Hemisphere
Pass By:  
Tribune Tower
The neo-gothic tower's signature is the exterior collection of stones from other famous edifices, like the Parthenon, St. Peter's Basilica, Notre Dame, the White House and most recently, the Berlin Wall.
Pass By:  
Merchandise Mart
The largest commercial building in the world. First two floors are essentially a mall, and the rest is business offices
Pass By:  
Marina City
Unique architecture for a building complex as its own self-contained community.
Pass By:  
Lake Point Tower
A high-rise residential building located on a promontory of the Lake Michigan lakefront
Pass By:  
333 West Wacker Drive
Noted for its reflection of the curves of the Chicago River
Pass By:  
The East Bank Club
A health club with 450,000 square feet of space
Pass By:  
The Lyric Opera House
Well-known opera company puts on lavish performances in this massive Art Deco Civic Opera House.
Pass By:  
Citicorp Center
Located between Clinton and Canal Streets on Madison Street, the structure was designed in a late modernist style.
Pass By:  
John Hancock Center
The John Hancock Center, is a 100-story, 1,128-foot supertall skyscraper
Pass By:  
London Guarantee Building
The London Guarantee Building or London Guaranty & Accident Building is a historic 1923 commercial skyscraper
Pass By:  
Historic Water Tower
Chicago-focused gallery, specializing in photos, inside a 19th-century Gothic limestone landmark.
Pass By:  
Chicago Architecture Center
The Chicago Architecture Center is home to a 4,000-building scale model of Chicago
Pass By:  
Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center is the nation's first free municipal cultural center and one of the most visited attractions in Chicago. The stunning landmark building, opened in 1897 as the city's first public library, is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes.
Pass By:  
Millennium Park
Located within Grant Park, Millennium Park is home to Cloud Gate, or "the bean."
Pass By:  
Buckingham Fountain
Chicago's landmark is considered one of America's finest fountains due to its Beaux-Arts-style landscape design, finely wrought bronze sculpture and innovative use of technology.
Pass By:  
Chicago Riverwalk
A continuous walkway connecting the lakefront with the heart of downtown.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • All boats have full restrooms and some have a full bar
  • Some boats are single deck vessels, the type of vessel you are placed on cannot be guaranteed
  • Wheelchairs or other walking assistance equipment are not provided.
  • Tour times cannot be changed.
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Shoreline Sightseeing

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by Chicago Architecture River Cruise.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?
A:
The policy on sanitization is:

  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
See all safety measures taken by Chicago Architecture River Cruise.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?
A:
The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by Chicago Architecture River Cruise.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Chicago Architecture River Cruise.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "Most of the boat is exposed, so make sure to wear appropriate attire in the case of rain or direct sunlight." See review
  • "There are 2 departure piers (East Michigan and East Grand) so make sure that you’re at the right place." See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
5,765 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 5,765 reviews
star-5
Fabulous experience!
Laura
, Jul 2021
We could not speak higher of our experience with the Booking company and the Boat Tour company. We had to cancel last minute yesterday and they very politely and graciously rebooked us for today. Our tour was amazing! We all learned so much and the hour and 15 went by way to quickly. Jim, our your guide, was very interesting, funny and very knowledgeable. He did a fabulous job. We will be back and highly recommend both companies!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Must see
Ravi_C
, Jul 2021
Jalbelly was an amazing, exceptional, wonderful tour guide The tour guide really make a huge difference in the experience I wish people would be more courteous and tip this great guide more !
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Amazing experience
Boryana_R
, Jul 2021
Breathtaking boat tour!Fantastic experience.Exellent service!I recommend it for everyone who wants to enjoy Chicago summer time!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Great Experience
Dan_L
, Jul 2021
An amazing tour with a funny host who made a few good jokes. Cold beer and decent snacks are available. Just a great experience overall. I'll probably be doing this tour again with other people who didn't go with me the first time around.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
It was educational and beautiful day
Peter_M
, Jul 2021
The whole experience went very well the lines were short because I did it on the Internet Internet and the staff was very cordial.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Very organized and my customers had a blast..!
Erlisa_K
, Jul 2021
Everything ran very smoothly. The directions and event details were very thorough. Very enjoyable ride and the guide did an excellent job. He was very personable. Thank you! Had a GREAT time and my customers really enjoyed the experience.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Worth it
Connor_G
, Jul 2021
Joe (the tour host) was great, very helpful information was given to further make our experience better. The whole crew was very polite and nice throughout the whole trip. Truly no complaints and if you're into learning more about Chicago and its' architectural history this is definitely worth it.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
I’ll take again on my next trip to Chicago.
Tom_W
, Jul 2021
Ashley, (narrator/guide) was excellent. She very knowledgeable and very pleasant to listen to. I wasn’t sure I would like a tour on architecture but it was very interesting and a pleasant way to tour the Chicago River system. Highly recommend this tour to all visitors.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Phenomenal experience
Scott_S
, Jul 2021
What an amazing tour. The beauty and architecture of Chicago was phenomenal. Our guide was great and the crew very professional.
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star-5
Great Tour
Karen
, Jul 2021
Great tour of some of the iconic buildings in Chicago as viewed from the Chicago River. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the many buildings seen. Great way to see the beautiful city.
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