Recent Searches
Clear
Chicago River
Chicago River

Chicago River

star-5
10,329 Reviews
Open daily
The Loop, Chicago

The Basics

The most popular way to explore the Chicago River is on a cruise, in particular a Chicago architecture river cruise, which offers an overview of the city’s history and building architecture. You can combine your cruise with a Chicago city tour, food tour, South Side tour, speedboat ride along Lake Michigan, or access to the Willis Tower. Kayak tours are also popular, including a nighttime ghosts and gangsters tour.

Show all
45-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour from Magnificent Mile
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
45-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour from Magnificent Mile
star-4.5
$23.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Wow
Did the night time tour. It was stunning. Cool history on the buildings too. 1/2 way through you get the most beautiful and breathtaking view of the skyline all lit up In the night.
Angela_B, Sep 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Chicago

star-5
Best ever Chicago River architecture tour!
Claire_S, Sep 2021
Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady
Patricia was incredible...informative n immensely knowledgable..witty n entertaining. Best tour on the Chicago River!!
star-5
Awesomeness
Bianca_B, Aug 2021
Chicago River Kayak Tour
Tour guide was awesome!! Always wanting to kayak the Chicago river and was well worth it. First time learning to kayak and the guides were very helpful.
star-5
Loved it
Marilyn_G, Sep 2021
Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Convenient, clean, freindly. Actors giving the commentary were a little too cute for our taste. Pointing out landmarks, history and telling about a city doesn't have to be cutesy.
star-4
Knowledgeable tour guide made River tour a great ride
GayleP, Sep 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Chicago architecture is impressive and the day was sunny and warm. Boat was clean and comfortable. Becky the tour guide was excellent. Great knowledge and wonderful presentation style. We followed up on her suggestion of other attractions to visit in Chicago.
star-5
Best way to see Chicago
Devan_A, Sep 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Our docent, Becky, was outstanding. Great sense of humor and deep subject matter knowledge. The boat was clean and well kept.
star-5
A nice way to spend an afternoon
Cynthia_B, Sep 2021
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
Very good guide she was so knowledgeable. The boat was a bit Overcrowded for these covid times. It was a wonderful way to see the riverfront and city skyline From the lake.
star-5
Last minute and worth it ⚓🛥
Priscilla_P, Aug 2021
Chicago River Floating Tiki Bar Cruise
This was by far, the best part of our weekend getaway, eventhough it was a last minute decision, the availability was there, also Mr. Robert (Capitan) was super friendly and kind!! The whole staff was friendly too, and the restrooms were very clean! I would had loved for the music to be a just a notch louder but overall everything was great!! We'll definitely be back !!
star-5
Sunday fun day on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan!
Nancy_Y, Aug 2021
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
Fantastic guide!! Great knowledge and lots of fun. Beautiful scenery, very clean boat, excellent staff. Nice bar but could have used a second bartender.
star-5
Well organized.
David_H, Aug 2021
Chicago Architectural River Cruise
Very knowledgable and enthusiastic narrator. Boat clean and well organized. Easy to book the tickets and find the dock.
star-5
Great experience
Biljana_M, Aug 2021
Chicago River Floating Tiki Bar Cruise
Great river cruise! Very clean Amazing drinks! Wonderful staff! My whole family have so much fun we enjoy from beginning to the end Will go again
star-5
First time Chicago visit by Tina
PatriciaPhelps, Jul 2021
Chicago Sunset Cruise
The beautiful skyline at night, the history told as you approach the buildings, the cleanliness of the boat. The staff were kind, professional, and courteous! The ability to see and take such beautiful panoramic pictures leave me speechless.
star-5
2021 Chicago Sunset
Romelia_U, Jul 2021
Chicago Sunset Cruise
The cruise was great. The view of the city as the sun set was spectacular, while the view of Lake Michigan was incredible! They played great music making it romantic if you're there as a couple. Bathrooms small, but clean. There's also a bar (drinks not including in price). On the way back, the city lights are on, making the view amazing with the crescent moon in between the buildings. This last part of the cruise was great! Loved every minute of it!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • River cruises fill up fast in summer, so buy tickets or book a tour well in advance.

  • River cruises depart rain or shine. As weather can change quickly in Chicago, be prepared for rain or temperature fluctuations.

  • No experience is necessary to kayak on the Chicago River; tour guides provide a short lesson before each kayaking tour begins.

Show all

How to Get There

Running through the center of downtown Chicago and dividing the Loop from River North, the Chicago River is hard to miss. Most river cruises depart from below the DuSable Bridge at the corner of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. If you’re coming via public transportation, take the El to State/Lake.

Show all

Trip ideas


When to Get There

The Chicago River is best explored during late spring, summer, and early fall, as most river cruises don’t operate during winter. The Chicago River is famously dyed bright green for St. Patrick’s Day, an event that traditionally takes place on the Saturday before March 17. If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday during summer, book a fireworks cruise to enjoy fireworks over Navy Pier.

Show all

Chicago Architecture Highlights

Exploring the Chicago River is largely about appreciating Chicago architecture. On the main branch of the river, look for the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the corncob towers of Marina City, and the Merchandise Mart, once the largest building in the world. On the south branch, the highlight is the Willis Tower, which was the tallest building in the world when it was completed as the Sears Tower in 1973.

Show all