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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. 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)
  • 401 N Michigan Ave , 401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

    FROM MICHIGAN AVE: Departs from 401 N Michigan Ave at the Shoreline Sightseeing docks. NE corner of Historic Michigan Ave. (Dusable) Bridge. Located alongside Chicago's Honored Pioneer Court.

  • 124 N Streeter Dr , 124 N Streeter Dr, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

    FROM NAVY PIER: Departs from 124 N Streeter Drive from the Shoreline Sightseeing docks at Polk Bros Park.

  • This activity will end right where it started.
    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 
    Admission Ticket Free
    Pass By:  
    Chicago Skyline
    Enjoy an amazing view of the city's skyline.
    Pass By:  
    Navy Pier
    50 acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, eateries and attractions, including a 15-story Ferris wheel.
    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:  
    John Hancock Center
    The John Hancock Center, is a 100-story, 1,128-foot supertall skyscraper
    • 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
    • Departure locations cannot be changed
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers
    • OPERATED BY Shoreline Sightseeing
    You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
    • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
    • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
    • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
    • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
    • 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 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 policy on social distancing is:

    • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
    See all safety measures taken by Chicago Architecture River Cruise.

    Traveler Photos

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    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 by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews

    Reviews

    5.0
    star-5
    8,589 Reviews

    Reviews by Viator travelers

    We perform checks on reviews

    Showing 1-10 of 8,589 reviews
    star-5
    Texans discover the Chicago Architecture River Tour
    Greg_B
    , Aug 2022
    Great evening of fun & learning courtesy of Spiro. Very knowledgeable & friendly. See you again real soon.
    star-5
    100 % recommended
    Rafael_M
    , Aug 2022
    The crew, the guide, the view! Great experience. Be on time, because they are on time, which is amazing!
    star-5
    Family visit
    Juan_O
    , Aug 2022
    We invited our relatives from Colombia to get to know the city where we live, they left Chicago delighted!! Thank you
    star-5
    Most enjoyable experience!
    Jattin_D
    , Aug 2022
    Very informative about the history of the architecture. I would do it again. I would also recommend this to my friends who would be visiting Chicago.
    star-5
    Best way to start a summer day visit to Chicago.
    David_W
    , Aug 2022
    Terrific way to start a day pre-hotel check in.. then a visit to the sky deck made it perfect. Chicago is a beautiful city and seeing it from the river or the 103rd floor of the Willis Sears) tower is incredible.
    star-5
    Really interesting tour!...
    KatherineElise_B
    , Aug 2022
    Really interesting tour! The guide was awesome! Chicago is a beautiful city and the river is a great way to see it.
    star-5
    Well worth it
    Jane_C
    , Aug 2022
    Very knowledgeable guide and great architecture. The organization is well organized and very helpful. We were late for our initial reservation (traffic) but they easily booked us on the next excursion, 45 minutes later.
    star-5
    A first class cruise
    Judy_D
    , Aug 2022
    More than worthwhile, it was an educational experience. Kyle was knowledgeable and authentic. I appreciated the integration of history, sociology, economics and architecture. He is an excellent teacher and entertaining as well. Thank you Kyle!
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    A Unique Perspective
    Eileen_A
    , Aug 2022
    The river cruise provides a unique and relaxing way to learn about Chicago’s past, present and future. The tour includes a preview of development plans that make your chin drop. Who knew even more skyscrapers are in the works. This means you’ll never see the same tour twice. Chicago is always changing and growing!
    star-5
    A have too …
    Krista_M
    , Aug 2022
    The history behind Chicago and the fires that destroyed the city in the 1900’s. The magnificent architecture, the reverse water system, how the city is at different levels due to the Amtrak, and so much more. It’s a must, if you visit Chicago.
    star-5
    Feeling very Chicago!
    Jesus_L
    , Aug 2022
    Highly recommend for both visitors and chicago residents! Had a great time. Learned a lot and loved the experience photos the team took!
    star-5
    Fantastic, Spectacular and Relaxing!
    Cen_Z
    , Aug 2022
    It is the highlight of the day! BECKY is a superstar guide who’s knowledgeable on arts and architecture, with great sense of humor and enthusiasm about the city! Love the social realm being developing along the Chicago River! Totally worthwhile 75mins on board ! Would recommend to anyone and It’s very interesting and I would like to visit back someday, since it’s a constantly changing living museum of art, architecture and public activities.
    star-5
    Breathtaking view
    Diana_Z
    , Aug 2022
    View was breathtaking!! It was really fun. 100% recommend! The staff were super friendly. I would definitely go on this tour again.
    star-5
    Great tour well worth it even young adult kids would enjoy it
    Gary_I
    , Aug 2022
    Our guide was very entertaining made the tour really interesting. I liked the fact that I could book everything online and it was very efficient
    star-5
    Overall great experience
    Robert_L
    , Aug 2022
    Great guide , scenery, architecture Friendly staff. Great weather, experience, drinks, boat, interesting fact’s
    star-5
    Great educational and relaxing cruise.
    Kathleen_D
    , Aug 2022
    Very informative and interesting. Great Docent. Weather was good. Smooth ride. Enjoyed this cruise immensely.
    star-5
    Excelent experience , all...
    Randolfo_f
    , Aug 2022
    Excelent experience , all was wonderful , the history and the explanations was very clear and professional
    star-5
    Well worth it
    William_D
    , Aug 2022
    Tour guide Kyle was fantastic and vey knowledgeable. Not a monotone speaker by any stretch. Want history of the building and water way don’t miss this tour. You will be surprised on the history of Chicago
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    Great Learning Exoerience
    Nancy_H
    , Aug 2022
    It was great learning about the history of the river and the buildings lining it. Our guide was fantastic!
    star-5
    A must!!
    Daniel_M
    , Aug 2022
    Amazing ride and the guide was remarkable. She know her stuff and explain very well. I would recommend to everyone one

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