Water activity

Chicago River: Guided Tour of Historic Chicago by Kayak

Chicago River: Guided Tour of Historic Chicago by Kayak

From US$ 71.02 per person

Enjoy a guided kayak tour on the Chicago River and paddle past spectacular architectural buildings. Choose a single or tandem kayak.

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 2 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide


  • Admire Chicago's world-famous architecture
  • Get a safety briefing and paddling demonstration
  • Enjoy stops to take in the sights and hear stories
  • Learn Chicago's history from your expert guide
Full description
Join this guided kayak excursion on Chicago River’s Main Branch to paddle through a modern urban setting while imagining the city’s early historical locations. Kayak alone or in a tandem (2-person) kayak. Begin your experience with a 20-minute pre-tour session on land, where professional guides go over safety issues and the rules of the river. There will also be a brief paddling demonstration for those who are new or beginner kayakers. Afterward, your adventure on the water begins. Travel for about 2.5 miles along the Chicago River, stopping frequently to rest and chat. During your periodic stops, hear stories and details about Chicago’s rich history from the lead tour guide. Pass some of Chicago's most iconic sights along the way, including the Wrigley Building, Merchandise Mart, Aqua, Tribune Tower, and much more. Since the city grew up on the Chicago River, this tour is a great way to take in the contemporary urban landscape while visiting some historic spots. This tour starts and finishes near the eastern end of the Chicago Riverwalk.
  • 1.5-hour guided kayak tour
  • 20-minute safety briefing
  • Professional guide and kayaker
  • Paddling demonstration
  • Kayak and paddle
  • Life vest
  • Gratuities for the guide (optional)
Not suitable for
  • People over 250 lbs (113 kg)
  • People with low level of fitness
Covid-19 precautions

You must book this activity online because the ticket office is closed

Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

Select participants and date



Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Urban Kayaks is located on the south side of the Chicago River, on the Chicago Riverwalk between Columbus Drive and Lake Shore Drive. Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled tour time.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Passport or ID card
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Swimwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain gear
  • Gloves
  • Beachwear
  • Weather-appropriate clothing

Not allowed

  • Unaccompanied minors

Know before you go

  • Advance reservations are strongly recommended since this tour often sells out well in advance
  • To paddle a single kayak, you must be at least 18+ or 15+ with parental consent
  • Children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in a tandem (2-person) kayak
  • You must be physically able to paddle safely and willing to sign a release of liability and indemnity waiver
  • You must be capable of understanding and communicating with the staff and accompanying tour members in English
  • You can bring water and any foods/snacks you may want during the tour
  • Tandem kayaks have a combined weight limit of 425 lbs
  • You can choose between a daytime or sunset tour
Customer reviews

Overall rating

5 /5

based on 1 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money

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Relaxing and informative.

October 3, 2021

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Product ID: 404624