Insider's Guide to Chicago

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Tour code: 5580ARC

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Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this 75-minute tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like the Aon Center, the Wrigley Building and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).

Highlights

  • Architecture cruise down the historic Chicago River
  • Discover all three branches of the Chicago River with your guide, an expert in architecture
  • Enjoy the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline and admire world-famous architecture
  • See more than 40 buildings including the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building and the Aon Center
  • Discover the major events that helped shape the architectural history of Chicago

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Architecture River Cruise in Chicago

Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue for your cruise departure. Board your river boat and find a comfortable seat on one of the decks; a restroom and sometimes a full bar are available on the boat. Listen as your guide, an architecture expert, gives you an introduction to the city's landmarks. 

Along the scenic 75-minute route, see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. A boat on the river is the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline.

Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings, including the the Aon Center, the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) the Wrigley Building and the IBM Building. Listen as your guide recounts the two major events that helped shape the architectural history of the city. Learn about how the invention of balloon-frame construction revolutionized how homes were built, and hear the dramatic story of Chicago's rise from the Great Fire of 1871. Both of these milestones led Chicago to become one of the cradles of modern American architecture.

Your cruise ends at its starting point. 

Please see the Itinerary section below for a full list of buildings on the tour.

Itinerary

On the Chicago architecture cruise, you will see and learn about the following landmarks:
  • Navy Pier
  • Lake Point Tower
  • Aon Center
  • John Hancock Center
  • Cityfront Center
  • Illinois Center
  • NBC Tower
  • Chicago Tribune Tower
  • London Guarantee Building333 North Michigan Building
  • 401 North Michigan
  • Wrigley Building
  • 35 East Wacker
  • Leo Burnett Building
  • IBM Building
  • Marina City
  • RR Donnelley Center
  • LaSalle-Wacker Building
  • 222 North LaSalle
  • Central Office Building
  • Merchandise Mart
  • 333 West Wacker, Montgomery Ward Complex
  • River Cottages, Merchandise Mart
  • Fulton House
  • 225 West Wacker
  • Boeing World Headquarters
  • Civic Opera Building
  • AT&T Corporate Center
  • USG Building
  • Riverside Plaza
  • Citicorp Center
  • Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
  • Chicago Board of Trade
  • Central US Post Office
  • US Post Office Central Processing and Distribution Center
  • 311 South Wacker
  • River City

Customer Reviews

David S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Highly informative, interesting, and tour guide Jim was EXCELLENT!!! Would take tour again next time in town, at night, for a different view. Sunset cruise on lakefront was excellent too!!!

walter r

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Our guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant to interact with. Very enjoyable tour

charlotte p

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Victor was so knowledgable . Interesting talk anout beautiful buildings. Chicago at its best.

Dwight k

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Great

CHRISTOPHER H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Victor was very knowledgeable and funny regarding the history of downtown Chicago and its beautiful skyline. I would recommend anyone who is in Chicago longer that three days to take this 75 minute tour. WELL WORTH IT!

Charmaine H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Great tour of Chicago architecture. Larry was an amazing guide. Well worth the investment of time and funds.

Paul S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

trip was awesome. guide was very informative and tour was informational. recommended to all

Sue P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Our guide was highly informed and knew so much. He was entertaining and had a lot of interesting information on so many sites. The crew was pleasant and professional without being stuffy. Overall a good experience.

JoAnn K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This tour was amazing!

Lori K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

We were able to get on an earlier tour. Everyone was so helpful. Very entertaining and informative. Loved it.

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