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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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Chicago, United States
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
34

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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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
5,816 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 5,816 reviews
star-5
Great Tour for Locals and Visitors Alike!
Jen_K
, Aug 2021
You don't have to be an architecture buff to appreciate and enjoy this tour! Our guide, William, really knows his stuff and kept it light and entertaining. Recommended to anyone who wants a closer look at Chicago's diverse and stunning architecture along the river! Great for locals and visitors alike!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Great!
Teresa_M
, Aug 2021
The tour was great! Our tour guide was absolutely amazing, so funny, and made the history of the city quite entertaining. It was a beautiful day and the most enjoyable morning.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Great time
Sam_C
, Aug 2021
Great time, excellent tour guide . Wonderful views of different buildings along the river with interesting light patterns.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Authentic and real Chicago with personality!
JHiggi12
, Aug 2021
My wife had never been to Chicago and Saturday was her birthday. It could not have been a better experience. Blake our guide was awesome: personable, funny but most of all knowledgeable. He was 5 Stars+. I’m usually not a fan of picture taking but even that was a terrific. Thanks!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Excellent!
MarilM
, Aug 2021
Excellent! Don’t miss it! Becky the tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining. Learned a lot!
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star-5
Must Do
Ashley_F
, Aug 2021
So much history explained in a fun way while sitting on benches smartly angles to give the best views without hurting your neck. Beautiful city and best way to see it
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Amazing tour-highly recommend.
TheTexasCoxs
, Aug 2021
Amazing to see all the buildings and learn their history. Excellent tour. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. He made the experience so special.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
More than just Mies
Marty_S
, Aug 2021
The tour guide was knowledgeable and witty. We learned a great deal the city & its popular culture!!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Fun and education to impress out-of-town guests
Erinne_B
, Aug 2021
Jack was a very knowledgeable and friendly docent, with a great sense of humor. My family was visiting for the first time, and this experience really impressed them and was a highlight of their weekend.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Incredible docent
Melanie_S
, Aug 2021
The 5:45pm docent presentation on 7/31/21 was extremely impressive. She displayed a wealth of historical knowledge about Chicago and architectural language. Her presentation was sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek humor. I learned so much about Chicago’s history and it’s architecture.
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