Winding its way through the heart of the Windy City, the Chicago River flows past some of the city’s most spectacular architecture, especially downtown. Here, river walks dotted with restaurants take you under some of the movable bridges that connect the Loop to Chicago’s Near North Side.
To see some of the prettiest views of the city, hop in a boat, kayak, canoe, or gondola and sail down the river. From the mouth of the river on Lake Michigan heading inland you’ll pass Navy Pier, Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Marina City, and the Merchandise Mart. Heading down the south branch, you’ll pass Union Station and the Civic Opera House.
One of the most spectacular events on the Chicago River is St. Patrick's Day, when the river is dyed green. The actual event does not necessarily occur on St. Patrick's Day and is scheduled for the Saturday of the closest weekend.
I cannot imagine having gone to Chicago and missed this tour. We learned so much from our informative guide who was humerous and very interactive with the group. We had a blast! Everyone in our family, from the "elders" through the teenagers absolutely raved about the experience. Thanks for the memories!
great, north and south Chicago in 2 separate tours, hotel pickup - great!!,
knowledgeable guide, very informative and entertaining
As this was my first visit to Chicago, I took the four hour tour and at the end of it I felt I had a general idea of what Chicago was like. I was lucky with the weather, Chicago's blue sky made everywhere inviting and our guide's rather pseudo-ironic style managed to enliven the neighbourhoods and the buildings we passed. The twenty minute break at the conservatory filled with spring made a perfect teaser for what would replace the still-bare nature outside. My one quibble is that the windows of the bus should always be perfectly clean (no water marks) so the pictures taken from the bus (there are few stops) are free of streaks, etc.
The Chicago River is best accessed by the Michigan Avenue Bridge, which lies at the foot of the Magnificent Mile, between the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. This is where you can rent kayaks and canoes.
Navy Pier is another place to hop on a boat for a ride on the river. This area has the most concentration of river walks and restaurants. All Loop points are accessible by buses and El train; parking is limited, so it’s best to take public transportation.