About The Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours
Chicago is known around the world for its architectural feats, both inside and outside of the buildings. From the 100-year-old Art Deco, Neo-Classical, and Gothic Towers, to some of the tallest modern-day skyscrapers, Chicago is where old meets futuristic architectural endeavors. It has something for everyone in a way that no other city replicates today.
More Information On Chicago Architecture Boat Tour
Chicagos decorated past lives on through captivating stories told by the knowledgeable guides at Tours and Boats. These Windy City experts usher groups of travelers to myriad landmarks while sharing anecdotes that paint a vibrant picture of the citys history. During the companys sightseeing river cruises, their boats float by well-known structures such as the Merchandise Mart, Navy Pier and Willis Tower while passengers learn about the citys famed architecture.
Good To Know
- Whats included: a leisurely architecture boat tour of downtown Chicago
- Departure times: See the schedule and availability as well as information on parking and directions.
- Departure location: 900 South Wells St., Chicago, IL 60607
- Notable sights: the Wrigley Building, Willis Tower, Aqua Tower, Chinatown and other classics, as well as new developments like Riverline and the new CNA Center.
- Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages and snacks are available for purchase onboard.
- Kids 3 and younger ride free, but must be included in your online reservation on the merchant website.
- Parking: Parking is located right next to the marina.
- Vessel: Full service bathrooms, bars and staff assist with passengers needs
About Chicago Line Cruises
Sometimes all it takes is a suggestion. Terry Johnson and Paul McCarthy founded their vessel-chartering business in 1980. But when a good friend recommended they offer expertly narrated tours on the history and the iconic architecture of Chicago, the pair jumped at the opportunity. Praised as the 2018 Concierge Preferred Winner, Best architecture tour available by the Chicago Sun-Times and Most engaging tour of the bunch by Time Out Chicago, their river cruises take passengers on three types of educational, 90-minute tours of the city. Chicago Line Cruises has transported more than three million Chicagoans and visitors along the river for entertainment, stunning views, and a deeper appreciation for architectural design.
- Learn how Chicago became the birthplace of the first buildings to be dubbed “skyscrapers.”
- Hear how the Great Chicago Fire paved the way for an architectural renaissance.
- See a broad selection of modern architectural styles and discover the distinctive characteristics of each.
- Experience Chicago’s first architectural river cruise.
- Hear the overarching story of how Chicago transformed from a swampy marshland to a world-class city.
- Learn about the Chicagoans whose innovations helped influence architecture and commerce around the world.
- Savor a cup of Starbucks coffee while a guide recounts Chicago’s triumphant and tragic moments.
- Historical tours are presented in partnership with the Chicago History Museum.
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% Off Chicago Architecture Center River Cruises
The Chicago Architecture Center River Cruises are excellent, extremely popular and quite expensive. If you buy tickets online from the CAC , depending on the day and time of the cruise prices are $63-$68 including fees for everyone except infants. Infants are $32. There are several ways to save money on tickets.
About Our Boat Partner
Were proud to partner with Chicagos First Lady Cruises, operator of Chicagos finest fleet of cruising vessels. Its boats hold up to 250 passengers and feature open-air upper decks, full-service bars, climate-controlled lower cabins and upscale marble and granite restrooms. Being onboard is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
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Our Commitment To Your Touring Experience
We believe that tours should be entertaining, enlightening, informational, and perfectly organized, every single time. A tour shouldnt feel laborious in any way you should feel an effortless inclination to learn more about what we present at your fingertips. With our Chicago architectural tours, thats exactly what we strive to provide, basing each tour from the perspective of an expert with the real-life example in the background.
If youre thinking about booking a tour with us, know that our commitment to flexibility and accessible makes our Chicago Architecture Tours easy and convenient:
- Tours run daily:
- Chicago River Boat Architecture Tour:
- 10 am
- 3 pm *Not Available Friday thru Sunday Summer Months*
- 4 pm
Shoreline Water Taxi Service
Another affordable taxiing service is Shoreline, which offers a route on the lake as well as the river.
We like this service for their unique lake route, which is the cheapest way to view the skyline while on Lake Michigan notably the Museum campuses.
Duration: 15-40 minutes, depending on the chosen route.
- Taxis operate 10 am-6 pm, at least every 20 minutes
Price Options and Packages:
There are no reservations for Shoreline taxis, as they are a commuter service. Tickets can be bought on site.
Single Ride Extended River Route | Lake Route
- $10 – Adults
Single Ride River Route
- $6 – Adults
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What Type Of Local Tours Are Available In Downtown Chicago
The Loop is the best place to start your tour of Chicago. Here you can explore the city in some pretty quirky ways, including by walking, bus or Segway.
Some of our favorite downtown tours include:
- Sunset Segway Tour. Embark on a guided Segway tour through Grant Park and Chicago Riverwalk to catch the sun setting over the river.
- Chicago Crime Tour. Fancy yourself a detective? Explore the city’s famous crime scenes on this sightseeing bus.
- Scavenger Hunt Adventure. Follow the clues scattered around downtown as a team, with fun trivia, snapshot opportunities and compass challenges.
The Chicago Water Taxi
For a fast and cheap cruise on the River, hopping on a water taxi can be a convenient way to travel for local commuters and travelers.
Many of Chicagos popular attractions can be seen along these routes, and each of the station stops offer fantastic things to do, see, and eat.
NOTE: Due to the pandemic, Chicago Water Taxi is currently only available on Saturdays and Sundays. Cash is no longer accepted and you must purchase tickets with a debit or credit card.
While there are no guides on these boats, the sights are comparable to the ones on any of the sightseeing cruises listed above, and at a huge discount!
Duration: 15 to 30 minutes
- Chicago Avenue
There are a few deals available for senior citizens and members of the military. If this describes you, chances are you’ll be able to save a lot of money on tickets.
- 50% off one-way tickets for Seniors & people w/ Disabilities.
- Active Duty military w/ ID ride for free.
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Which Neighborhoods Should I Visit In Chicago
Chicago has an abundance of neighborhoods, all with their own culture, history and attractions. Pilsen, Hyde Park and Wicker Park are some of the best for food and culture.
- Pilsen is in the south-west of Chicago. Here you can soak up the colorful street art or catch a local act at Thalia Hall.
- Hyde Park is just south of downtown and is home to the University of Chicago campus. If you’re there in summer, head to 57th Street Beach.
- Wicker Park is in the north-west and has been nicknamed Chicago’s hip neighborhood. Head here on an evening to enjoy the abundance of bars, clubs and music venues.
Seadogs Lakefront Speedboat Tour
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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Discover The Windy City From The Water
Set Sail on a Premier Charter Cruise
Architecture boat tours are one of the best ways to delve into Chicagos history. Youll see the different art styles on the buildings that line the Chicago Rivers shores while expert guides explain how the city was rebuilt after the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. We offer 90-minute architecture tours that cover all three branches of the Chicago River, or you can book a private boat tour for your event that covers Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Check out our cruises below to learn more.
Chicagos Best 90-Minute Architecture Boat Tour
Chicago Architecture Tour Discounts
The windy city is home to the worlds first skyscraper, so its a pretty popular destination for anyone interested in the history of architecture.
There are currently 5 different ways to save money on an architecture boat tour in Chicago:
- Free for kids
- Discount Sites
- Coupon Codes
Youll enjoy the biggest possible discount by using a tourist pass but depending on when you check discount sites, you may find that they offer similarly excellent deals.
For more details about these services, please read our full post covering Chicago Architecture Tours.
If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, we recommend checking these discount sites to find a service that fits your needs and expectations.
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Speed Boat Tour Discounts
Anyone looking for fun and excitement on the Chicago River will want to consider a Speed Boat cruise.
These trips are more like a roller coaster ride than they are a boat tour.
As you ride through Chi-town at top speeds, youll see some of the most important landmarks in the city.
Guides will usually point out significant sights as you enjoy a thrilling experience.
There are only 3 ways to save money on these Chicago boat tours as of right now:
- Group Rates
- Kids are Free
- Dog Discount
While the last option is definitely the strangest discount of them all, group rates are probably the best way to save money on these speed boat tours.
We recommend checking these discount sites if you can’t find a service that fits your needs and expectations.
Hear From Our Previous Guests
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.
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.
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.
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!
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More Information On Wendella Sunset Cruise
Chicago River Architecture Tour 90 Minutes
Be inspired by the captivating, visual art that is Chicagos legendary architecture, and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing, dynamic legacy for all to enjoy and admire. This comprehensive tour will navigate through the heart of the city on all three branches of the Chicago River while your professionally-trained architectural guide tells the story of more than 130 years of innovation in design, style and technique and why it is important today. This tour departs from Michigan Avenue at 400 North Michigan Avenue. Descend the stairs at the Michigan Avenue bridge to the dock level.
Wendellas Signature Lake & River Tour 90 Minutes
A Chicago family tradition since 1935, this is the tour that started it all. This unique excursion tells the story of more than 200 years of fascinating social, cultural and political history, and explores more than a century of groundbreaking architecture. The journey begins with an up-close perspective of Chicagos internationally-known architecture as seen from the Chicago River. Then venture through the Chicago Lock on to the calm, cool waters of Lake Michigan for expansive views of Chicagos extraordinary 26-mile skyline. Take the selfie of a lifetime on this inspirational experience! This tour departs from Michigan Avenue at 400 North Michigan Avenue. Descend the stairs at the Michigan Avenue bridge to the dock level.
Chicago Sunset Cruise 90 Minutes
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:
- Group Rates
- Discount Sites
- Kids are Free
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.
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.
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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.
Chicago Architecture Boat Tour
Along with its delicious food and a thriving theater scene, Chicago is known for its unique and eclectic architecture. On this 90-minute guided cruise down the Chicago River, you’ll get a chance to marvel at the city’s soaring towers and stately historic buildings from a unique perspective. From the deck of the luxurious, 100-foot party boat the Summer of George, you’ll learn historical facts and interesting tidbits about significant landmarks like The Wrigley Building, Merchandise Mart and the John Hancock Building. It’s the perfect and picturesque way to get a new look at the Windy City you know and love.
The tickets identified in this promotion are made available through Goldstar. Groupon is not affiliated with or sponsored by Chicago Architecture Boat Tour in connection with this deal.This offer is not eligible for promo codes.
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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