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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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Chicago, United States
Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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Number of travelers
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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 by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews

    Reviews

    5.0
    star-5
    8,539 Reviews

    Reviews by Viator travelers

    We perform checks on reviews

    Showing 1-10 of 8,539 reviews
    star-5
    Well worth the cost!
    Beverly_A
    , Aug 2022
    An excellent tour guide (Evan) and staff. Learned many things I did not know about the Chicago skyline.
    star-5
    Fantastic night on the river!
    Randi_S
    , Aug 2022
    The entire experience was wonderful! Very educational and the timing of the cruise at sunset was spectacular. Highly recommend this tour!
    star-5
    Stephanie was a great...
    Susan_S
    , Aug 2022
    Stephanie was a great docent. Made the cruise fun and interesting. She had great stories and made us laugh.
    star-5
    Glad we went !
    Kelly_L
    , Aug 2022
    Learned A LOT about the history and facts about the structures of the buildings and it was also entertaining, with some jokes thrown in. It was a great time All Staff friendly !
    star-5
    Great company and very...
    Aleigha_M
    , Aug 2022
    Great company and very friendly employees. Enjoyed this trip! I did this with coworkers but this could be perfect for couples and friends too.
    star-5
    Our tour guide was so...
    Dominique_M
    , Aug 2022
    Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and engaging. Loved his dad jokes lol a great mix of technical information as well as historical/ fun facts about the city. Will definitely rebook the next time I’m in Chicago!
    star-5
    Great tour!
    Gabriela_T
    , Aug 2022
    The guide is very knowledgeable and the tour is fantastic. We enjoyed it very much. We were able to buy snacks and drinks on board.
    star-4
    Too Hot!!
    Mary_Z
    , Aug 2022
    This trip would have been a five if the vessel had shade. I looked longingly at the boats with covered seating. A thermometer on the route said 75 degrees. Think of what it would have been if it were 85 and sunny! I would warn friends not to use you on a hot or sunny day..
    star-5
    Abeautiful day in CHIICAGO
    Waleed_A
    , Aug 2022
    It was a nice trip, good information about Chicago,s history, good details about the construction of the building. Thank you for your team.
    star-5
    Must do in Chicago
    Lowen_J
    , Aug 2022
    They whole tour was AMAZING! The gal who narrated it was so good. She knew a ton, and she is a native of Chicago-it’s a must see tour!
    star-5
    There was not one...
    Carmel_B
    , Aug 2022
    There was not one specific moment that I recall yet I was fascinated to learn how so many buildings were constructed to complement the other structures around them. Understanding a bit of the history of those buildings made them even more beautiful!
    star-5
    Wonderful history of...
    Jennifer_G
    , Aug 2022
    Wonderful history of Chicago’s architecture, beautiful skylines, amazing tour guide all on a relaxing river cruise.
    star-5
    Must do in Chicago
    Amy_Y
    , Aug 2022
    Great introduction to the history of Chicago through architecture. Our guide said he had been doing tours for 10 years and it really showed in the smoothness and amount of information provided in his explanations. Despite it probably have been his 3000x giving the tour, his energy and friendliness really brought the experience to life. It was the perfect amount of time and moment to “relax” between non stop being on our feet the day before and after.
    star-5
    Great experience
    Joseph_T
    , Aug 2022
    Spiro made the trip very interesting. I don't think the cruise would have been as good if it were not for Spiro.
    star-5
    Great City Views!
    Tara_W
    , Aug 2022
    Great tour and highly suggested! We went on the 7:30pm tour which was absolutely perfect timing. We were able to see the city during dusk and the beauty of it lit up at night.
    star-5
    All around best tour
    Maria_D
    , Aug 2022
    Great historical tour of the architecture and with the best views. Spiro was well knowledges about the history of his city.
    star-5
    Architecture tour
    Michael_D
    , Aug 2022
    This was great Spiros was such a brilliant guide. Recommend to anybody visiting Chicago would love to do it again.
    star-5
    The history of Chicago...
    Paula_S
    , Aug 2022
    The history of Chicago and it’s architecture was fascinating. Our guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She asked for questions and interacted with the group.
    star-5
    I was in town on a...
    jessica_a
    , Aug 2022
    I was in town on a business trip. I wanted to experience Chicago in some type of way in the little time that I had. This tour popped up on my google search.. it was amazing. I have to say, Patrick was our tour guide. He was nothing short of an expert on this tour. I didn’t expect to learn so much about Chicago, her was clear, funny, entertaining and like I said..expertly delivering a fantastic experience. I hope they treat him well. He sure was amazing, I shared the videos and pics I captured. All my co workers had serious FOMO. They are all booing with me next time. As Patrick said , there’s always something new on the tour as the years go on. Bravo! Thx To the crew and Patrick. Great job.
    star-5
    Loved learning about the...
    Christine_F
    , Aug 2022
    Loved learning about the city and the views are fabulous while floating down the river. . Boat narrator was fantastic too!!

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