Friday, April 26, 2024

What Is The Best Architectural Boat Tour In Chicago

Chicago River Architecture Cruise

Chicago River Architecture Boat tour Chicago 90 mins. is the best


This wildly popular cruise comes highly recommended by guests who have been on it, and with good reason too it takes you past many of the citys most famous landmarks and beautiful buildings.

Sailing under the historic bridges is a memorable affair. The incredible architecture of Chicago is brought to life by the fantastic audio commentary, which gives you invaluable insight into the history of the place.

While cruising along the three branches of the river, youll pass more than 40 structures, with Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building, and Willis Tower among the many highlights.


Slowly sailing along the Chicago River as the lights come on and dusk falls is a magical experience and the perfect way to explore Chicago by night the views of the skyline are spectacular.

With a huge buffet to choose from, the meal is sumptuous, and enjoying a drink on the deck as you look up at the stars will live long in the memory.

In addition to the wonderful food and sights, DJs play a selection of hits. Dancing the night away on deck is a lovely way to end a great day out in Chicago.


Cruising along Lake Michigan while sitting back and watching Chicagos incredible sights pass by you is a delightful experience and a peaceful way to see a lot of the city in one go.






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.

Dine On The Water With Odyssey Cruises

Odyssey dining cruises are the perfect way to create a memorable moment in Chicago. Choose from a river or lake dining cruise, complete with delicious cuisine, cocktails, and entertainment.

Their glass-enclosed river vessel is particularly stunning. It offers passengers panoramic views of the citys most iconic buildings as you glide along the Chicago River. They also offer a lakefront dinner cruise option that departs from Navy Pier.

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Chicago Urban Adventure River And Lake Boat Tour

Youll see both of the very different aquatic sides of the Windy City in a single day when riding this Urban Adventure cruise. First up: The Chicago River. That weaves through a pack of cloud-splintering skyscrapers. One moment the Willis Tower looms above you. The next, its the bustling Chicago French Market. All the while, you get to enjoy commentary filled with factoids about the history of construction in the USA. For the grand finale, you burst out onto the waters of Lake Michigan. Looking westwards from there, its possible to see the whole metropolis, sometimes even silhouetted in the water like a mirage.

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

Architecture Boat Tour of Chicago Coupons and Review ...

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.

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The 7 Best Chicago Architecture Boat Tours Of 2020
    The 7 Best Chicago Architecture Boat Tours of 2020. Best Year-Round: Chicago River Architecture Cruise. Viator. Buy tickets with Viator. For a fantastic tour at an affordable price that runs year … Best Night Tour: Chicago Fireworks Architecture Cruise. Best Boat Combo: Architecture Cruise and …

Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride

Going high speed means youll waltz around the banks of Lake Michigan as the winds of the Windy City zoom on by. Yessir, theres hardly a wasted moment to be found on this sped-up tour of the Downtown and its various little corners. Your jaunt begins on Navy Pier, with a modern speedboat that leaves its wake in the water. A montage of Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, and the beaches of the Near North Side all unfolds over the next 30 minutes or so. And in the meantime? You just sit back, relax, and enjoy the adrenaline rush!

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Best Chicago Architecture Boat Tours

This list counts the best Chicago boat tours, offering night-time excursions for extra romance next to adrenaline-pumping speed tours.

Oh, Chicago the Windy City. Theres hardly a more astounding city in America. As if to say, move over New York, this one comes with mighty landmarks galore. Among them, the Willis Tower. Once the tallest on the planet, its now a legendary spire on the skyline. Then comes the John Hancock Center with its gleaming, jet-black exterior. Theyre punctuated by the mirror-like tops of the Two Prudential Plaza, the historic locks with equally as historic bridges, and green spaces like Grant Park where fountains babble by statues.

The upshot of all that is Chicago is a doozy for lovers of all things architecture. Whats more, its a town pierced by riverways and hemmed in by the waters of Lake Michigan. Put the two together and viola: Youve got one darn fine medley of boat tours with views of mighty structures.

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

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour River Cruise (HD)
Tickets start at $48.18 for daytime river cruiseTickets start at $52.91 for evening cruiseVISIT THE CAC FOR JUST $5 EXTRA!
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. Learn more about the CAC’s Covid-19 safety policies.

#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 $10!

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.

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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

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.

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Chicago River Boat Tour

Whisking you from the DuSable Bridge to the Willis Tower, under the gaze of the Wrigley Building and out beneath the 100-storey John Hancock Center, this short, sweet, but informative Chicago River Boat Tour usually ticks all the boxes. The on-board narration will tell tales of how this city led the way in the construction of huge skyscrapers. And youll learn intriguing titbits about the towns industrial growth and waterways. In all, it lasts around 75 minutes, with a central meeting point on Michigan Avenue.

Can You Boat In Chicago

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

Chicago , IL. Perched on the edge of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a true boating haven. The lake is easy to navigate, with very few reefs and shoals, and has a lifetime supply of spectacular destinations. If you re anywhere near Lake Michigan this summer, getting out on the water should be your first priority.

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Frequently Asked Questions :

Docked at River City Marina, the “Summer of George” was designed and built as a party cruise boat. Groups can enjoy our 100-foot vessel that has vast seating, an enclosed main deck, a full-service bar and a dance floor to entertain your guests while they view the beautiful Chicago skyline. The interior is elegantly understated offering a 360-degree view from mahogany trimmed windows. The open-air upper deck is expansive with bench seating along both sides.


The dock is located at 900 South Wells Street at River City Marina. Guests need to head south on wells street and enter through the parking lot behind the River City condominium building. The parking lot is located across from the soccer field on 9th Street and Wells. You do NOT need to go in the building . for a bigger map.

Ticketing Policy:


Ticketing Technical Issues:For any ticketing / technical issues, please see the Eventbrite Help Center and/or contact Eventbrite through .

Please note the parking lot may fill up early and we are not responsible if you cannot find a spot. Please plan on arriving early to find alternate parking if need be.

For any other concerns, please contact us!

For More Information: E-mail: Phone: 312-858-6955

River & Lake Architectural Cruise

Put yourself in the hands of a bona fide Chicagoan who knows the ins and outs of this awesome metropolis, all by opting for a whirlwind tour of Windy City construction. There is oodles to get through in just 75 minutes. Tales of post-war building booms, Art Deco influences, the erstwhile military locks, and the iconic metalwork of the DuSable Bridge from 1920 all begin to flow. Meanwhile, camera lenses will point to the skies, as symbolic structures like the Willis Tower drift on by. Theres also instant ticket delivery, and you can show your admission on a smartphone.

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Chicago First Lady Cruises

Experience the official Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady, voted the #1 Boat Tour in North America by USA Today readers and the only cruise led by the Chicago Architecture Centers expertly trained volunteer docents. The 90-minute cruise reveals fascinating stories behind Chicagos majestic buildings in a way no other tour can. Each boat features open-air upper decks, interior climate-controlled salons and a fully stocked bar.

Cruising daily April November. Tickets available at dockside box office or in advance at Private evening charters also available for groups of 2-250, please inquire.


Entertain The Family With Wendella Boats

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour

For three generations, Wendella has been cruising the Chicago water waters. With its variety of tour options, cruise times and lengths, and a heated, enclosed cabin, Wendella is a great choice for families looking for flexibility. They offer a variety of cruise options, including lake & river architecture, sunset cruises, and more.

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Your Guide To Chicago Lake And River Cruises

One of the best ways to see Chicago is from the water. The city is home to two stunning waterfronts the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and each offers plenty of cruise options. Admire the skyline on a lakefront cruise, learn about the citys iconic architecture on a Chicago River cruise, enjoy dinner and dancing aboard an all-glass vessel, sip cocktails on a tiki-themed boat, paddle your own kayak the options are truly endless. Heres your guide to Chicago lake and river cruises, boat tours, dinner cruises, and beyond.

Chicago Architecture Foundation Bus Tour

In addition to their boat tour, CAF also provides an extensive architecture bus tour.

Clocking in at over 3 hours in length, you can rest assured that you will learn a lot about Chicago while on this adventure.

Over the course of this excursion, youll cover more than 30 miles of architectural history in the windy city.

If youre looking for a more educational experience, this is probably your best bet.


  • $37 CAF members

Tour Length: 3 ½ hours

Availability: This tour is typically available at least once a week. Check their tour calendar for more information.

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Chicago River Architecture Tour

This is a75-minute boat tour best for those who want to understand the citysarchitecture.

You will cruisealong the Chicago River to discover architectural gems among the citysrenowned landmarks.

A local guide shares stories and anecdotes, keeping the atmosphere lively.

The boat passesmore than forty buildings and sails under historic bridges.

The tour is available in English and Spanish.

Tour price

Adults ticket : 44 USDChild ticket : 22 USD

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10 American Cities With the Coolest Architecture Detroit, MI. Detroit is in the midst of a renaissance, and its one that pays homage to the citys history . Santa Fe, NM. San Francisco, CA. Washington, DC. New Orleans, LA. Boston, MA. Charleston, SC. New York, NY.

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The Best Chicago Architecture Boat Tours

Chicago has one of Americas most celebrated skylines. Particularly the landmark-packed neighbourhood called The Loop, where youll find skyscrapers like the 19th century Monadnock Building or the 110-story Willis Tower sharing the view with cultural landmarks such as The Art Institute of Chicago. Like many major cities in the United States, open water is not far away The Loop borders the waters of mighty Lake Michigan, making a boat trip one of the best ways to simultaneously enjoy the lake and experience the citys peaks and troughs from an appreciative distance. Meanwhile trips along the Chicago River get you up close and personal with the citys architectural gems of the last century and a half.

Special architecture boat tours in Chicago are designed to offer both access and information to guests. Many of the best options cover both the river and Lake Michigan in one itinerary so that you can enjoy both sides of Chicago. Many of the best boat tours also include a guide who can provide insight and information about the buildings helping you differentiate your Daniel Burnham from your Louis Sullivan buildings. These five Chicago architecture boat tours we have selected below were chosen based on many factors, including price, duration and the reviews of previous guests.

What You’ll See On A Chicago Architecture River Cruise

If you can hit a sunny, warm day in Chicago, here’s a look at what you can expect to see along your architecture cruise:

Many cruises will end with a short sail out onto Lake Michigan, which really helps you appreciate Chicago’s unique skyline.

Book your own Chicago architecture cruise here!

Needless to say, this is one of my very favorite things to do in Chicago. Whether it’s your first or fifth time in the Windy City, go on one of these cruises if you haven’t already I guarantee you’ll learn something!

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Chicago Architecture Boat Tour Provided By Tours And Boats

  • Instant confirmation
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Seating is first come first serve basis
  • Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
  • Fully enclosed interior with air conditioning, seats, & windows
  • Full bar & snacks
  • Gratuities
  • Discounted parking is for as low as $10
  • Approx. $10 discounted parking lot connected to marina
  • 900 S Wells St, Chicago, IL 60607, USAPlease enter 900 S Wells Chicago, IL 60607 to your GPS for directions to the boat dock. Go through the parking lot behind the River City condominium building. The parking lot is located across from the soccer field on 9th St and Wells.
  • Seating is first come first serve basis
  • Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
  • Fully enclosed interior with air conditioning, seats, & windows
  • Full bar & snacks
  • Gratuities
  • Discounted parking is for as low as $10
  • Approx. $10 discounted parking lot connected to marina
  • 900 S Wells St, Chicago, IL 60607, USAPlease enter 900 S Wells Chicago, IL 60607 to your GPS for directions to the boat dock. Go through the parking lot behind the River City condominium building. The parking lot is located across from the soccer field on 9th St and Wells.
  • Returns to original departure point
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Temperature checks for tour participants upon arrival

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