4.5 star rating: Recommended 1427 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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1012 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 75 minutes

From USD $33.60
$39.20 Save $5.60

Chicago Grand Half-Day Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 232 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 4 hours

From USD $47.99
From USD $124.00

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour by Night

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 75 minutes

From USD $33.60
From USD $55.35

Chicago City Tour with Optional River Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 39 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: Varies

From USD $36.99

Chicago River Ghosts and Gangsters Kayak Tour

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

From USD $65.00

Chicago North Side Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 2 hours

From USD $29.00

Chicago City Tour and Chicago River Cruise

4 star rating: Recommended 67 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 4 hours

From USD $60.00

Chicago South Side Tour with Optional River Cruise

4 star rating: Recommended 6 Reviews

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Duration: 2 hours

From USD $29.00

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