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To limit the spread of the coronavirus, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please consult government travel advisories before booking. The WHO is closely monitoring the coronavirus and more information can be found here.

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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Chicago, United States
To limit the spread of the coronavirus, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please consult government travel advisories before booking. The WHO is closely monitoring the coronavirus and more information can be found here.

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon1 hour  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 1 more

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

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 Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue 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 
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:  
360 Chicago Observation Deck
Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center
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
  • "Do not forget sunscreen and hat if sunny and warm." See review
  • "Dress well if you do this in the winter, it is surprisingly colder on the river!" See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
4,583 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 4,583 reviews
star-5
Great experience
Stephan_W
, Nov 2020
Great tour—best start for a Chicago visit. The river is very calm. Ideal to take a time lapse. We enjoyed it very much.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Do it!
Ashley_G
, Nov 2020
Would definitely recommend this tour. A little chilly in the winter months but not a big deal if you’re dressed correctly. The seats were socially distanced and we wore masks. We went to the dock and got on the boat (near the apple store) and started the cruise. The architecture was impeccable and our tour guide, Kevin, was just as great. He gave us lots of facts and stories about Chicago and the architecture we saw as we cruised along the river, keeping us entertained the entire time. He even played an absolutely amazing harmonica solo and sang a song at the end. A+ for Kevin and this tour!
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star-4
Great Skyline
David_O
, Nov 2020
A beautiful and easy trip through downtown on the Chicago River offering spectacular views of the city skyline. Go on a clear day. And dress warmly if’ not in summer
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star-5
Awesome fun in the windy city cruising down the river!
Julianne_A
, Nov 2020
Getting to spend time with my older kids while cruising down the river learning about this city's great history!
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Amazing views
Carlos_Z
, Nov 2020
I lived in Chicago for 20 years and my first time on the river boat this is an amazing experience I really recommend it I took the 4 pm on thanksgiving weekend tour and you still see half of it with day lights and half of the sunset amazing views
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star-5
History of Chicagoan Bldgs.
Linda_C
, Nov 2020
Seeing the architecture of the buildings. Tour guide was great, boat ride was fantastic down the river.
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star-5
Fun and informative tour
Lana
, Nov 2020
I live in Chicago and this wax the best architectural river cruise tour I had in Chicago. Both fun and informative.
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star-5
Covid-safe outdoor activity for first-timers in Chicago!
Mihui_E
, Nov 2020
Nice guide, nice crew, great value, really enjoyed ourselves. We felt safe. They sat people on the top deck and the crew made sure the guests were keeping their masks on.
HelpfulHelpful
star-1
Rude person.
Kelsi
, Nov 2020
The lady who was putting people on the boat was terrible. My mother had a rough day at rush university where we got a terrible diagnosis so we tried to make her trip a little better. However she struggles with walking the way it is and the worker was yelling at us telling us to hurry up and not be slow and just continued to be rude. However my mom can't hurry and she drew so much attention to us and ruined our trip we will not be back. We took to long to get to the boarding dock we didn't even get our picture taken for the memories
icon Response from Host , Nov 2020
We do apologize for your experience. Can you please contact me directly at ah@shorelinesightseeing.com with details about the date and time of your tour so that we can look into the issue?
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star-5
Very nice!
Sylar
, Nov 2020
So nice! Very informative and beautiful architecture. Weather was nice even considering it was November.
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Product code: 5580ARC

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