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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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Chicago, United States

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon1 hour  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 1 more

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

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.
Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
Live commentary on board
Drinks (available for purchase)

Departure Point

401 N Michigan Ave Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue 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:  
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:  
360 Chicago Observation Deck
Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center
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

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
  • "Do not forget sunscreen and hat if sunny and warm." See review
  • "Dress well if you do this in the winter, it is surprisingly colder on the river!" See review

Reviews

5.0
star-5
4,533 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 4,533 reviews
star-5
Excellent experience
Morgan_H
, Oct 2020
The docent was very knowledgeable and kept the tour very interesting. Although I have walked among these buildings, this tour is the best way to see them and to get proper perspective on the City’s architecture.
star-5
Great Tour
Jonathan_B
, Oct 2020
The Tour is very entertaining and interesting. The staff is helpful. It feels really fast! Great way to learn about the history of Chicago.
star-5
Highly recommend
JCS
, Oct 2020
Absolutely recommend the river boat architectural tour of Chicago. Our guide was highly informative and fun. All safety precautions were adhered to as well. Would definitely go again.
star-5
Just wonderful
Megan_H
, Oct 2020
There is so much to learn about Chicago history and architecture on this tour! Our tour guide was a wealth of information and fun to talk to after the trip. The weather wasn’t that great but it did not dampen my enthusiasm for this tour. A must do while in Chicago. Such an amazing perspective.
star-5
Great experience in the 'age of Covid'. Best trip
Lynn_B
, Oct 2020
Great experience in the 'age of Covid'. Best trip to show our out of town friends our beautiful town safely. Super informed tour guide, good on boat cocktails, social distancing. I recommend the Arch tour as the best way to learn our city's history and treasures.
star-5
A great experience in a too short of time
Joshua_H
, Oct 2020
The “docent” was fantastic. The sites were great. It was also, the only one available. I’m curious if that is because there was no seating below deck. It was great for Covid times. Only complaint was that it was too short and went at a rapid pace.
star-5
Reminded me of My Best Friend’s Wedding Movie
Marcia_Y
, Oct 2020
Excellent tour. Enjoy all the arquitecture building while navigating the beautiful river... tour guide explained everything to prrfection.... weather was great. Cannot Miss this tour if you come to Chicago
star-5
Exceptional Tour
Mark_S
, Oct 2020
The tour was the perfect length filled with numerous fun facts about Chicago's skyline. The boat was comfortable and the crew really went out of their way to make the experience fun.
star-5
Chicago is the best and Blake wasnt bad either!
Kimberly_C
, Oct 2020
Blake was super detailed and funny. As a Chicagoan myself, I'm critical of those who don't represent my beautiful city well. He did a lovely job. PS: you should have more options below of who was with you or allow a write-in option. I was with my brother. Not a teenager or an infant. Her lots of different types of families so I think you should just make a family box and be done.
star-1
Horrible
Javon_W
, Oct 2020
Will never ever visit again they took my money and never replied or gave me my refund I hate it and very upset with this
icon Response from Host , Oct 2020
Thank you for your feedback. Please email me directly with information about your reservation so I can look into your refund request. ah@shorelinesightseeing.com

Product code: 5580ARC

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