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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.
Saved to wishlist!
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

    5.0
    star-5
    7,880 Reviews

    Reviews by Viator travelers

    We perform checks on reviews

    Showing 1-10 of 7,880 reviews
    star-5
    Great way to learn about Chicago buildings.
    Scott_L
    , Jun 2022
    Megan was an excellent tour guide on this cruise. She was very informative about the architecture of the city and entertaining as well.
    star-5
    Architecture is Fun !
    David_F
    , Jun 2022
    Beautiful City! Fun and educational!! Our host was knowledgeable and entertaining! Go to Navy Pier early and have a drink by the lake !
    star-5
    Awesome Experience
    Jim_W
    , Jun 2022
    Excellent tour. Guide was unbelievably good. Top notch. Don’t worry about it and just use these guys.
    star-5
    It’s a must !!
    DIANE_E
    , Jun 2022
    Fabulous experience it’s a must when visiting Chicago. Excellent value for money and very informative
    star-5
    Perfect length of tour!...
    Adam_J
    , Jun 2022
    Perfect length of tour! Excellent guide!! Interesting stories and good recommendations. A must if you visit chicago.
    star-5
    Architecture at Sunset
    Vanessa_A
    , Jun 2022
    Best way to see Chicago and to learn about the city’s incredible architectural history and distinctive buildings. The tour guide was very knowledgable. Take the tour at sunset to see the buildings in daylight and also lit up for the night!
    star-5
    Best tour on the river
    Kristen_W
    , Jun 2022
    Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, fun and entertaining. I highly recommend this tour, it was the highlight of my trip to Chicago!
    star-5
    Awesome sightseeing and learning experience
    Darien_M
    , Jun 2022
    To learn that a horrific incident such as the great Chicago fire, a tragedy that did so much damage to the city. The fire showed the city that it needed to innovate the architecture which drove Chicago into the future with buildings made of better materials which lead to the first and many skyscrapers.
    star-5
    Fantastic Architectural River Tour
    Don_L
    , Jun 2022
    Great tour and tour guide! Really enjoyed the stories behind the buildings. Lots of good history that was shared along with the intimate details of a lot of the buildings and do design them and why they design them that way.
    star-5
    Great river cruise!
    Laszlo_D
    , Jun 2022
    Really enjoyed the historical background and explanation of the various buildings we saw along the way. Great staff!! Thank you!
    star-5
    Traveling seeing the...
    Alberto_A
    , Jun 2022
    Traveling seeing the interesting buildings at night. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave us every detail.
    star-5
    Must see tour
    Patty_D
    , Jun 2022
    Large open air and open-seating River boat with a knowledgeable captain and crew. Boat was very clean, safe and well maintained. Refreshments available for purchase during the ride. The Chicago skyline is amazing and a must see! Highly recommend this company.
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    Chicago architecture comes to life!
    KAREN_M
    , Jun 2022
    Excellent docent, Antonio - very informative fun! Beautiful scenery and architecture. This city is amazing!
    star-5
    Strongly recommended for a first trip to Chicago
    JEANYVES_R
    , Jun 2022
    Patrick was an excellent guide who gave us a fascinating insight of Chicago architectural history Comfortable ship Really exciting experience
    star-5
    Great tour!
    Karen_V
    , Jun 2022
    Amazing tour. Highly recommend the tour. Learned so much about the area. Enjoyed the dinner tips as well.
    star-5
    Beautiful views of the...
    Elaine_H
    , Jun 2022
    Beautiful views of the skyscrapers. Interesting history of the buildings. Very enjoyable introduction to the City
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    50th Birthday Eve made unforgettable!
    Anu_G
    , Jun 2022
    The history lesson about Chicago was amazing! Antonio, our host, was very knowledgeable and extremely funny! This was one of the best Chicago experiences that I have had!
    star-5
    Absolutely fantastic
    Marc_K
    , Jun 2022
    The tour guide, Kevin was very knowledgeable about the tour and personable. He went went and introduced himself and got to know the passengers.
    star-1
    You suck!
    Robin_B
    , Jun 2022
    You guys suck! I got the Covid and was not able to travel and could not get my money back. I will never use visitor again!!!
    star-5
    Chicago architecture boat tour.
    Walter_W
    , Jun 2022
    Spiro was a guide and did a fantastic job at linking each buildings and architecture to each other and told the whole story about the rebuilding of Chicago. Fantastic tour.
    1 traveler found this review helpful

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