4.5 star rating: Recommended 1805 Reviews

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  • Address: The Loop
  • Hours: Open daily
  • Admission: Free

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.

Practical Info

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.

Tours & Tickets

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Chicago Architecture River Cruise, Chicago, null
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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1242 Reviews

Experience one of the world’s most beautiful cities on a 75-minute cruise on the historic Chicago River. On this architecture cruise, head down the main ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 75 minutes (approx.)

From USD $33.60
$41.44 Save $7.84
Viator VIP: Willis Tower Skydeck Early Access, Trolley City Tour and Chicago River Cruise, Chicago, ... 
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Viator VIP: Willis Tower Skydeck Early Access, Trolley City Tour and Chicago River Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 45 Reviews

See classic Chicago sights with this Viator VIP package that includes early entry to the Skydeck in Willis (formerly Sears) Tower where you'll be greeted and ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $124.00
Chicago Grand Half-Day Tour, Chicago, Viator VIP Tours
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Chicago Grand Half-Day Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 259 Reviews

This comprehensive half-day tour of Chicago is the perfect introduction to the Windy City! Discover the highlights of Chicago’s North Side and South Side ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $48.00
Lake Michigan and Chicago River Architecture Cruise by Speedboat, Chicago, Bus & Minivan Tours
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Lake Michigan and Chicago River Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

4.5 star rating: Recommended 109 Reviews

Chicago is renowned for its stunning and original architecture, and the most relaxing way to see it is on a cruise on the Chicago River! You'll learn all ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 75-minutes

From USD $39.38
Chicago City Tour with Optional River Cruise, Chicago, Day Cruises
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Chicago City Tour with Optional River Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 47 Reviews

Don’t miss Chicago’s famous sights and fabulous views on this award-winning small-group sightseeing tour of the city. Travel through Chicago with an expert ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: Varies

From USD $36.99
Chicago City Tour and Chicago River Cruise, Chicago, Half-day Tours
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Chicago City Tour and Chicago River Cruise

4 star rating: Recommended 68 Reviews

Discover Chicago from both land and water on this scenic half-day tour. Take a narrated coach tour through the city’s South Side and see highlights ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $60.00
Tastes of Chicago Walking Tour: Chicago-Style Pizza, Beer, Brownies and Hot Dogs, Chicago, Day ... 
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Tastes of Chicago Walking Tour: Chicago-Style Pizza, Beer, Brownies and Hot Dogs

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 26 Reviews

Experience Chicago on a walking and food tour of the central business district. Visits to legendary sites such as Palmer House Hotel, Marshall Field’s ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $55.35
Chicago River Kayak Tour, Chicago, Walking Tours
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Chicago River Kayak Tour

Explore the beauty of downtown Chicago from the water on a relaxing 2.5-hour kayak tour. In either a single or double kayak, you'll paddle along the Chicago ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $65.00
Chicago Riverwalk Parks and Architecture Segway Tour, Chicago, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Chicago Riverwalk Parks and Architecture Segway Tour

Experience a unique cruise along the Riverwalk on this fabulous Chicago Architecture Segway Tour. Enjoy Chicago’s iconic bridges, parks, and skyscrapers. ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $70.85
Chicago North Side Tour, Chicago, Segway Tours
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Chicago North Side Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Experience the vitality and excitement of Chicago on this sightseeing tour! Explore Chicago's main business district, one of the financial epicenters of the ...  Read more

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $29.00

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