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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)

Departure Point

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.

Return Details

Returns to original departure point

Departure Point

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.

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

Reviews

5.0
star-5
6,449 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 6,449 reviews
star-5
Funny and interesting!
RJAllard
, Sep 2021
I’ll admit-this was a bit of a hard sell to my family. An “Architectural Cruise” sounded a little boring to them, but everyone of us had a great time. I think our guide was Kevin and he was funny and brilliant. The biggest surprise was how interesting the stories were-the Chicago skyline has some fascinating stories behind it. We’re still talking about what we learned and I know we will do so for a while. Plus the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. A win anyway you look at it.
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star-5
Perfect experience
Penny_T
, Sep 2021
Superb host! So informative and funny! Clean, plenty of space. Super enjoyable. We attended for my daughter’s 20th birthday. She lives in Chicago but had never done the tour. She’s recommending it to all her friends!
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star-5
Awesome; highly recommend!
Karen_D
, Sep 2021
A bride threw her bouquet into the boat from the bridge ! Fun touch to a great cruise. Loved it! Cruise narrator was extremely knowledgeable.
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star-5
Very good .... a must do when in Chicago
Norma_L
, Sep 2021
The host Rachel was sooo awesome and knowledgeable. Very great tour. Informative. Beautiful sights and wonderful architecture
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star-5
Well worth the $$
Elizabeth_K
, Sep 2021
Tour guide William was excellent. Just enough history and jokes/trivia. Very knowledgeable and could tell he enjoyed what he was doing. Very pleasant, calm voice
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star-5
Amazing!
Daryl_S
, Sep 2021
Rachael was great! She spoke very eloquently and provided great detail through the trip. This is my second ride with you all, but the first for my family who was visiting. I booked due to the quality I experienced the first time and will continue to do so! Thank you so much for showing us a great time!
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star-5
The tour guide was...
Gretchen_H
, Sep 2021
The tour guide was awesome. Great mix of dry humor and knowledge! Did the 10:45am tour. Grabbed a Bloody Mary and enjoyed!
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star-5
Fabulous day, a great way to tour Chicago
Adam_C
, Sep 2021
Tour guide Evan was energetic, informative and humorous. It was obvious he enjoyed his job and made the great tour that much better.
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star-5
Fun for everyone
Wendy_D
, Sep 2021
Learning about counteracting the sway of the buildings. Jim was a great edutainer. We had a lot of fun!
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star-5
The last part where the...
Mj_H
, Sep 2021
The last part where the boat stopped and we all were taking pit.. It was breath taking .. Patric our tour guide was AMAZING
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