5 star rating: Highly Recommended 952 Reviews

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

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

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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 branch of the Chicago River, up the north branch to the East Bank Club, and then south past Willis Tower (Sears Tower) to the old Post Office Building. Take in magnificent city skyline views as you see more than 40 notable buildings, including the John Hancock Center and the Wrigley Building, and learn about their distinctive architecture from your onboard guide, an expert in architecture.


  • 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

Take an architecture cruise down the Chicago River and learn about the city’s famed architecture from your knowledgeable guide. Board your tour at Navy Pier for an exciting journey that takes you down all three branches of the historic Chicago River and past impressive architectural landmarks.

Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings on your cruise including the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building, the Aon Center, Willis Tower (Sears Tower), the IBM Building and more. Your guide, an expert in architecture, will recount 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.

Along the scenic 75-minute route, see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM). This river tour provides the best advantage point to admire the distinct city skyline and marvel at world-famous architecture while learning about Chicago's fascinating history.

For a full list of Chicago architectural wonders seen on this tour, see the Itinerary section below.


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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Sarah was terrific and very knowledgeable about our wonder city!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Want to see Chicago from a different angle, a river view? Then this is the trip for you! The Architecture River Cruise was an incredible journey weaving in and out of Chicago from the most wonderful vantage point. It was amazing to see all the different styles of buildings and the different time periods in which they were built. You can't appreciate this view just from driving around Chicago, you have to see it from the river!!! We LOVED this tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Loved it! Must do if you are visiting Chicago for the 1st time.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

The guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. It was really fun: beautiful, fascinating, satisfying.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Such an informative tour! Our guide was a lively and knowledgeable gentleman who proved to know everything there is to know about Chicago's architectural past and present. I took a zillion photos of the buildings as we floated by - the water is truly the best vantage point to capture all of the iconic skyscrapers. Make sure you put down your camera from time to time too to take in the smaller details and admire the architecture with your own eyes.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Great fun and great services

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

A tour of this type rises or falls on the strength of the guide/narrator. Our narrator, Ben, was both personable and knowledgeable. I consider this tour a must when you're in Chicago, whether you're a resident or a tourist. You'll learn how and why the flow of the Chicago River was reversed, what Second City really means, how Chicago supports those towering buildings despite the squishy land beneath them, the histories of major architects who have shaped the Chicago, and the plans for adding even more spectacular buildings in the near future.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Great way to see Chicago!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Such a good way to get oriented to the city.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

This was the highlight of our delightful weekend trip to Chicago. Knowledgeable and humorous guide and gorgeous, interesting views. I'd highly recommend it!

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Tour code: 5580ARC


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