Friday, April 26, 2024

Architectural Boat Tour Chicago River

Spirit Of Chicago Sunset Dinner Cruise With Buffet

Chicago River Boat Architecture Tour

Nothing says romance like dinner on the water. But you can take that one step further, by making that water Lake Michigan, and the backdrop the twinkling lights of the legendary city of Chicago.

Cue this three-hour cruise past the landmarks of Navy Pier and Soldier Field. As you go, youll dine on a sumptuous buffet of all-you-can-eat American favorites.

Then the music starts, with a private DJ spinning tunes as you watch the lights and stars come on over the Midwestern skies. Talk about a night to remember

Architectural Boat Tours Chicago Il

  • Near North Side

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    Discover why TripAdvisor ranked Shoreline Sightseeing’s Architecture River Tour as the #1 Travel Experience in the U.S. for 2020. Enjoy a 75-minute tour led by an expert, more

  • Locally owned & operatedBudget friendly

    So let me just start off by saying if you can only do one thing while in Chicago let this be it. I was a little hesitant about spending $35.50 for an adult for a 90 minute excursion but in the end I would’ve more

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  • The Loop

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    Whether or not you consider yourself an architectural aficionado, this museum/center/foundation is a must, if you live in Chicago or are visiting the city. Chicago is the more

  • Near North Side

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    Explore Chicagos scenic shores with a relaxing sail around Lake Michigan aboard Chicago’s Official Ambassador Tall Ship Windy. Take in the world-famous skyline, enjoy spectacular more

  • River North

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    Wateriders offers guided kayak tours and rentals on the Chicago River. Paddling through the steel and concrete canyons along the bustling Riverwalk in the heart of downtown Chicago more

  • Bucktown

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    I usually don’t write Yelp reviews, but I definitely wanted to write something about my experience with NorthShore Marine. Captain Paul is a REALLY nice guy. He’s extremely more

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  • Learn About Our Group Discounts And More

    Located Downtown for Your Convenience

    Looking for a fun way to go sightseeing with your group? We offer discounts on groups of six or more adults , as well as 40% plus discounts for students, seniors, first responders, military & military families, veterans, COVID-19 heroes, and school groups. Did we mention kids aged 3 and under are also free? Our marina is located in the south loop and is right off the expressway with easy parking options making it easy for you to bring your out-of-town visitors out on the water. Additionally, we are the closest dock to McCormick Place, the main convention center in Chicago, making it easy for business travelers to experience Chicagos famous architecture boat cruise. With the best prices in town and one of the longest architecture tours around, you cant go wrong with Tours & Boats!

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    Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise Aboard Chicago’s First Lady

    Tickets start at $51.96 for daytime river cruiseTickets start at $55.74 for evening cruiseVISIT THE CAC FOR JUST $5 EXTRA!Please note, prices are subject to change.
    Northeast corner of Michigan Ave. and E. Wacker Dr. Look for the blue awning marking the stairway entrance, 112 E. Wacker Dr.

    Chicagos First Lady is committed to taking the proper precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its river cruise guests and team, including ensuring that boats are cleaned and sanitized throughout the day and their service. Chicagos First Lady offers restrooms on board each vessel with running water and plenty of soap. Chicagos First Lady continues to follow the recommendations of public health officials and is monitoring the evolving situation.

    #1 boat tour in North America according to USA Today Readers’ Choice 2021 Awards! Looking for the ultimate Chicago architecture experience? Buy a combo ticket for the river cruise AND visit the Chicago Architecture Centeryou’ll save $9!

    For more than 25 years, the CAC’s expertly trained docent volunteers have led the river cruise, sharing fascinating stories behind more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River. Hear how Chicago grew from a small settlement into one of the world’s largest cities in less than 100 years. In just 90 minutes, you’ll get the best overview of Chicagos architecture and its history.

    Learn what’s new on the River Cruise.

    Hear From Our Previous Guests

    Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

    Alexandra H.

    We used to live in Chicago and went back to show the city to our teenage children. The architectural boat tour was a great start to introduce them to the architectural landscape and history of our beloved city. The captain of the boat was a lot of fun and our tour guide was very knowledgeable. I studied the architecture of Chicago in college and she knew her facts.

    Collin K.

    We had a great informational time on the tour. So many buildings, so little time! Even at 90 minutes the tour seemed to fly by. Our guide, Sean, did a great job keeping the same pace as the boat describing each building in great detail, builders, architects, year, styles, and revisions.

    Dave T.

    Absolutely terrific river tour of Chicagos architecture. When the other architectural tours were full, we defaulted to this one. HOME RUN! Billy was a wonderful guide. Obviously comfortable in front of a crowd, and his spontaneity kept us entertained throughout.

    Donamarie S.

    I have wanted to book this boat tour for years! I had family in town from England as well as out of state so I figured this would be perfect for everyone to see as much as possible with such a big group. It was perfect! We had so much fun!

    Kayla S.

    Want to read more about Chicago?

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    Viator Vip: Willis Tower Skydeck Early Access Trolley City Tour And Chicago Boat Tour

    A fully-fledged day out in the Windy City awaits on this VIP combo tour. Things begin early, as you arrive at the soaring Willis Tower.

    It was once the tallest structure on the planet, but now hosts brave view seekers on its 103rd-floor Skydeck see if youve got the nerve to stand on the glass-bottomed floor there!

    After that, things roll on to a trolley route around The Loop, to spy out majestic skyscrapers next to heritage architecture like the Rookery Building.

    Finally, its onto the water down by Navy Pier. A 75-minute cruise ensues, with a dedicated guide spinning tales of great structures and their unique designs.

    The Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise: Options Prices And Schedules

    Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise

    This years first cruise embarked on April 1st and will run until Indigenous Peoples Day in September or Veterans Day in November, weather permitting. Two-to-three cruises leave every hour starting at 9:00 AM with the final departure at 8:00 PM every night.

    Tickets for the regular daytime cruise start at $51.96, while evening cruises start at $55.74 for adults or children aged four and above. Infants three years and under cruise for $23.62 at all times. Golden hour cruises are worth the extra bucks for stunning visuals of the river and its reflective surroundings in the soft, waning light.

    A special 9:00 AM Saturday departure is catered to the needs of photographers for the usual daytime price. This cruise allows a freer movement of passengers and stops three times for added photo opportunities.

    Visitors with accessibility needs can choose from specific times on vessels with wheelchair accessibility on the open-air bow deck, salon, and restrooms.

    For an extra $5, you can add an entry to the Chicago Architecture Center right across the street, regularly priced at $14 for adults. It houses a striking 3D model of the city featuring more than 4,200 buildings with interactive audio-visual elements, among other changing exhibits.

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    Best Extended Tour: Chicago River Architectural Tour

    For an extended version of an architecture cruise at a reasonable price, the Chicago River Architectural Tour runs a full 90 minutes and has a bar on board to boot. Entertaining and educational guides narrate the journey as the boat passes more than 50 landmarks and architectural gems, keeping an eye out for gargoyles and icons from the Neoclassical period to the Art Deco era. The tour runs four times daily from April through November and departs from the Lofts at River East . Non-alcoholic refreshments and cookies are served, but beer and wine are additional. Viator members recommend arriving early to grab a seat on the upper deck because the trip is very popular and the boat can fill up.

    See It All With Shoreline Sightseeing

    Chicago Uncovered: Chicago River architecture boat tour

    One of Chicagos classic cruise options, Shoreline Sightseeing covers all the bases. Their ultra-popular Architecture River Tour takes you on all three branches of the historic Chicago River takes you past dozens of landmark buildings.

    They also offer skyline lake tours, plus specialty cruises and holiday events. Hop on a boat at Navy Pier or on Michigan Avenue.

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    Night Boat Tours And Firework Cruise Discounts

    Like most metropolitan cities, Chicago looks entirely different after dark.

    Several cruise companies offer services at night, allowing you to get a good look at the lights from the city while youre drifting down the river.

    Some of these opportunities are only offered during the summer months, but they often include fireworks.

    There are currently 3 different discounts available for the following Chicago night boat tours:

    If youre looking for the best opportunity to save money on a night boat tour or cruise, discount sites will likely provide your best chance at a good deal.

    Major discount sites tend to feature all the latest fireworks and holiday cruises.

    Depending on whether or not they have additional coupon codes, you could end up saving even more than you would with group rates.

    NOTE: Although you’ll find the most popular companies listed below, there might be a few we miss which are sold at a discount through websites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

    If you can’t find what you’re looking for, consider checking these discount sites to find a service that fits your needs.

    Enjoy impressive views of Chicagos skyline from Lake Michigan, with an uninterrupted view of the weekly fireworks display.

    Tour-goers love to watch the reflection of the lights on the water, as well as the buildings!

    Reviewers say to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the tours start time, and this is well worth the money!


    • NOTE: Returns May 28th, 2022.



    Shoreline Architecture Firework Tour

    Get all of the information on a daytime architecture tour, with an added grand finale: seeing fireworks on the lake!

    Whether you depart from Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue, youll tour the main and south branch of the Chicago River before traveling out onto the Great Lake for the best view of the weekly fireworks display.

    Pro tip: Dont forget your camera! Even though it is nighttime, the lights of the city offer perfect photo opportunities. Youll have your postcard-worthy photo in no time!


    Depart from one of two locations:

    • Navy Pier Entrance, Polk Bros Park. GPS: 600 E Grand Ave
    • Michigan Avenue Bridge . GPS: 401 Michigan Ave

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    Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip

    A forest of skyscrapers looms high overhead as you hop on a modern cruiser and take the waters of the Chicago River. As you gaze skywards, youll be able to make out some of the most iconic landmarks of the Windy City.

    Theres the soaring clock tower of the Wrigley Building, oozing elegant Colonial Revival styles. Theres the gleaming glass outline of the Trump International Hotel. And theres the striking duo that makes up Marina City.

    Your jaunt is rendered extra relaxing on account of a barcoded ticket. Thats delivered online and lets you skip the box office queues.

    Lake Michigan Sightseeing Boat Tour

    Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise  Tour Review

    At just 40 minutes long and with prices starting at $26, this Lake Michigan sightseeing jaunt is a simple and affordable way to see another side of the Windy City.

    Itll take you out onto the waters of the Great Lakes, so you can survey the town from a distance.

    There, the silhouettes of mighty skyscrapers serrate the skyline, while the twirling carousels of Navy Pier combine with Grant Parks prestigious monuments.

    There really is loads to take in, so be sure to bring along your own lunch and grab a tipple at the on-board bar.

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    Chicago Classic Lake Tour: 40

    Skip the ticket booth and get down to sightseeing, all by choosing this straight-to-board package. It offers a chance to get out onto the sloshing surface of Lake Michigan.

    Thats where arguably the most dramatic broadside panoramas of this great American city unfold.

    See if you can spy out the babbling Buckingham Fountain of Grant Park, or the bulbous dome of the Adler Planetarium, not to mention one skyscraper after another, as you travel.

    Theres a bar on board for those hard-earned tipples and refreshments, along with a running commentary that delves into the rich history of the Midwest.

    Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours

    Welcome to Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours! Were proud to present you with an in-depth, expert architectural-based river boat tour that delves into one of the most remarkable American cities today. Known for unique, daring, and historical architectural pursuits, its hard to cover all of the design and building treasures that make up the Windy City today. If youre ready to learning more about the designs, people, and innovations behind these creations, throw on your captains hat and get ready to cruise along the Chicago River and see what architects from around the world travel to see in Chicago.

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    Where The Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise Is Located

    Theres no better way to get around the heart of Chicago than boarding a bus or L train. The dock is down a flight of stairs on the southeast corner of DuSable Bridge at 112 E. Wacker Dr. Bus stops along Michigan Avenue or Wacker Dr. and train stations at State/Lake or Millenium Station are just a short walk away. Taxis and rideshare services will also drop you off at the upper level by the bridge.

    From there, take the stairs with a blue CFL awning to arrive at the Riverwalk where ticket windows and docks are located.

    If you prefer to drive, the nearest public parking is at LAZ Parking Service Garage right next to the Architecture Center. Parking validation at the CFL ticket office or with a bartender will get you a discounted rate of $14 for up to three hours and $15 for up to four hours.

    An accessible ramp to the Riverwalk is located at Wacker Dr. and State St. There is also an accessibility drop-off on Lower Wacker Dr. on the same level as the dock.

    Seadogs Lakefront Speedboat Tour

    Chicago Architectural Boat Tour River Cruise (HD)

    If youre looking to have some moderate thrills as you do your sightseeing, and you dont mind the wind in your hair, we recommend Seadog.

    Race through the water as you hear about the Windy Citys most famous landmarks along the shoreline.

    Light and humorous, reviewers have a hard time knowing if they like the speed or the speeches more!

    Beware: We see a pattern in the reviews of guests who are unhappy with the will call ticket option due to long lines.

    We recommend buying E-tickets in advance, which saves you from the long line and can help ensure you get a great seat by showing up about 20 minutes in advance.

    Duration: 30 Minutes


    Depart from South Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave. . Look for the red & white ticket booth just across from the Ferris Wheel.


    The deals provided by this company are a bit different from what you’ll find with other services, but at least you’ll be able to save some money.

    • 15% off tickets if you bring your dog for the ride.
    • Special group rates offered for Skydeck Chicago.
    • Children 2 and under are free.

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    Odyssey Chicago River Architecture Lunch Cruises

    Experience an elegant take on a classic architecture boat tour aboard the Chicago Rivers only lunch cruise, available weekdays.

    What’s Included

    A two-hour architecture lunch cruise aboard Odyssey Chicago River is the perfect way to enjoy time with family or the company of great friends

    2-hr cruise on the Chicago River

    3-course plated lunch

    Stunning riverfront views

    Odyssey Plated Lunch Menu Our freshly prepared, three-course plated architecture lunch menu is included in the base ticket price for all standard lunch cruises. Our chefs are happy to prepare vegetarian and vegan options, and we can also accommodate most dietary restrictions – just inform your server onboard. Menu items subject to change.

    Odyssey Chicago River Architecture Lunch Cruises

    From the Blog

    Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

    A 90-minute history tour on the Chicago River from the comfort of an open-deck boat with views of the Civic Opera House, Wrigley Building, Willis Tower and more.

    Adult tickets start at $49. Tickets for students under 18, Seniors, Military, Veterans, COVID-19 Healthcare Workers, and First Responders are $25.

    For more information click here.

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    Best Land And Water: Chicago City Tour With Optional River Cruise

    If you prefer a smaller group size, the Chicago City Tour combines sightseeing in an air-conditioned bus that holds 12 people or less with a peaceful boat ride . The tour begins with a narrated, two-hour ride around the city with a chance to get out and explore a few stops, including the 1888 skyscraper called The Rookery, which is known for its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed lobby. Next up is a 75-minute cruise on an open-top boat to delve even deeper into the citys famous architecture and to learn about the role the river has played in the citys development. Transportation from most area hotels is provided but is not round-trip.

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