Water activity

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

From US$ 40 per person

Experience Chicago’s legendary architecture from the best seat in the house: the river. Enjoy a comprehensive tour with a live fun guide as you navigate through the heart of the city covering all 3 branches of the Chicago River.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 1.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide


  • Pre-purchase your ticket to skip the ticket line and guarantee your place on this popular cruise
  • Experience the architectural river tour which started it all – back in 1935
  • Enjoy year-long cruising with a choice of outside deck-top or indoor climate-controlled seating
  • Learn from expert tour guides the importance of Chicago’s architecture and how it has developed over the years
  • Enjoy true Chicago hospitality with locally sourced food and drinks available at a full service cash bar
Full description

Experience more of Chicago by boat than on any other architectural cruise. See architectural highlights and enjoy an open-air deck or climate-controlled interior as you travel the main River and its north and south branches.

View all of Chicago's architectural highlights during this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Be entertained by the expert and friendly tour guides as they explain the 130 year-long history behind the skyline, while bartenders and staff keep you comfortable with refreshments.  Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and goes up the main branch of the Chicago River past Wolf Point.

It then cruises along the north and south branches of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. On the way, learn about ornate, historic early skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the imposing art deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building.

Don't miss the circular Marina City Towers, the majestic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and the tallest building in Chicago) the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower. During your cruise, have the opportunity to enjoy a full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn.

Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

  • 1.5-hour cruise
  • Boat trip along the main, north, south river
  • Access to open deck
  • Access to climate-conditioned interior deck
  • Local expert tour guide
  • Beverages and snacks (available for purchase onboard)
  • Gratuities
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Present your timed ticket to a uniformed employee. They will be standing at the top of the stairs at the northwest corner of the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge at the foot of the Wrigley Building. The employee will guide you to the correct dock for your cruise time.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Sun hat

Not allowed

  • Pets (assistance dogs allowed)
  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Weapons or sharp objects

Know before you go

  • Children under 4 years of age are free
  • Seats on the decks are chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Vessels include restrooms with diaper changing tables, cash bar, and climate control
  • Passengers can bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and food
  • Passengers must wear masks, even when outside
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 705 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money

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Overall, this was a great tour! I loved how the tour guide shared all the history about the buildings, etc. At times, however, it was very hard to hear her when sitting near the engines on the upper deck. Even after asking her to turn the volume up it was still hard to hear. Other than that, this experience was a great history lesson and photo op all in one.

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January 9, 2022

Zack was the guid for our architecture river tour he seemed very knowledgeable of history of the city. Definitely it won’t disappoint you of your purchase. It’s about 1 hour and half hour tour if you book your tickets for around evening-ish you will get to see the fascinating view of the buildings. I do recommend this!

December 12, 2021

Our guide, Bobby, was very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. We only had a few hours to spend in Chicago. This tour and a deep dish pizza are the best way to experience Chicago on a time crunch. The tour is very interesting, with funny anecdotes and beautiful views. If coming in the winter, please dress warm. If you think you'll be warm enough, add another layer, lol. I'm from Miami and have very low cold tolerance. But wanted to see everything so I stayed on the deck. If you're too cold, you can take a break and a hot drink in the temperature controlled cabin. Overall great experience! And a mention for the polite and professional crew!

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November 29, 2021

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Product ID: 290485