Recent Searches
Clear
icon_solid_phone
Questions? (888) 651-9785(888) 651-9785

To limit the spread of the coronavirus, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please consult government travel advisories before booking. The WHO is closely monitoring the coronavirus and more information can be found here.

Chicago River Tours

star-4.5
136 Reviews
Chicago River
Winding its way through the heart of the Windy City, the Chicago River flows past some of the city’s most notable architecture, including the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Wrigley Building, and Navy Pier. The river also offers opportunities for exploration, such as river cruises, kayaking, and canoeing, along a revamped riverfront.

The Basics
The most popular way to explore the Chicago River is on a cruise, in particular a Chicago architecture river cruise, which offers an overview of the city’s history and building architecture. You can combine your cruise with a Chicago city tour, food tour, South Side tour, speedboat ride along Lake Michigan, or VIP access to the Willis Tower. Kayak tours are also popular, including a nighttime ghosts and gangsters tour. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • River cruises fill up fast in summer, so buy tickets or book a tour well in advance.
  • River cruises depart rain or shine. As weather can change quickly in Chicago, be prepared for rain or temperature fluctuations.
  • No experience is necessary to kayak on the Chicago River; tour guides provide a short lesson before each kayaking tour begins.

How to Get There
Running through the center of downtown Chicago and dividing the Loop from River North, the Chicago River is hard to miss. Most river cruises depart from below the DuSable Bridge at the corner of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. If you’re coming via public transportation, take the El to State/Lake. 

When to Get There
The Chicago River is best explored during late spring, summer, and early fall, as most river cruises don’t operate during winter. The Chicago River is famously dyed bright green for St. Patrick’s Day, an event that traditionally takes place on the Saturday before March 17. If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday during summer, book a fireworks cruise to enjoy fireworks over Navy Pier.

Chicago Architecture Highlights
Exploring the Chicago River is largely about appreciating Chicago architecture. On the main branch of the river, look for the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the corncob towers of Marina City, and the Merchandise Mart, once the largest building in the world. On the south branch, the highlight is the Willis Tower, which was the tallest building in the world when it was completed as the Sears Tower in 1973.
Address: The Loop, Chicago, USA
Hours: Open daily
Admission: Free
Read More

46 Tours and Activities to Experience Chicago River

Category
Filter
Select Dates
Today
Tomorrow




Did you know?You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.
Learn more
Did you know?
You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.Learn more
Sort by:Featured
Chicago Architecture River CruiseDay Cruises

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

star-5
Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, 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). Each Architecture River Tour ticket includes a free one-way water taxi pass valid for use any time during the 2020 water taxi season.
...  More
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$46.87 
From  
$46.87 
Learn More
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Lake and River Architecture TourDay Cruises

Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour

star-4.5
Step aboard a boat for a comprehensive cruise that details the history of Chicago's architecture. Enjoy views of the Chicago skyline accompanied by architecture-focused commentary that points out each of the landmark buildings. As you cruise through Lake Michigan, snap photos of you and your party against the stretch of Chicago's 26-mile shoreline.
...  More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$39.00 
From  
$39.00 
Learn More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

45-min Chicago River Architecture TourDay Cruises

45-min Chicago River Architecture Tour

star-5
Get a front row perspective on the exquisite buildings that line the Chicago River during a 45-minute architecture cruise. Hear live commentary about the history and architectural heritage of Chicago on this family-friendly tour, which highlights landmarks such as the Chicago Riverwalk, Michigan Avenue Bridge, Wrigley Building, and Willis Tower. Sit on the open-air top deck or the sheltered bottom deck for the ultimate view of Chicago.
...  More
  • 45 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$23.00 
From  
$23.00 
Learn More
  • 45 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your must-do activities without being locked in
Chicago City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture River CruiseBus Tours

Chicago City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture River Cruise

star-4.5
Explore Chicago's iconic landmarks on this sightseeing tour led by an expert guide. Board a comfortable, large-windowed minibus and explore downtown and Northside neighborhoods. You have a chance to get out and visit several locations and hear about the historical and cultural factors that make Chicago unique. Upgrade your tour with a popular open-top boat tour on the Chicago River that focuses on the city's renowned architecture.
...  More
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$43.95 
From  
$43.95 
Learn More
  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off TourBus Tours

Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

star-4.5
Don’t spend time figuring out what to see in Chicago and how to get there—this hop-on hop-off tour provides a mapped-out itinerary of the city's top sights. With several strategically located stops, the tour allows you to explore the Windy City at your own pace. See the world-class Art Institute and landmark skyscrapers, while live commentary onboard gives you insight into the city's colorful history.
...  More
  • 2 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$29.00 
From  
$29.00 
Learn More
  • 2 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Prohibition Tour Half-day Tours

Chicago Prohibition Tour

star-4.5
Visit four historic bars in operation since Prohibition in Chicago, and learn from a knowledgeable guide about the surreptitious world of the speakeasy. This adults-only tour takes you by coach to once-illicit establishments in Old Town, Wicker Park and the Chicago Loop where liquor, jazz and mobsters ruled. You’ll hear about Chicago gangsters like Al Capone and learn the historical context for the decade-long ban of alcohol. If you’d like, you can purchase recommended craft cocktails and signature drinks of the 1920s.
...  More
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$55.00 
From  
$55.00 
Learn More
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food TourWalking Tours

Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour

star-5
Go beyond deep-dish on this culinary walking tour of Chicago, which includes five tastings of classic Windy City cuisine. Navigate the endless options of downtown dining with a guide who can provide insight into the best food Chicago has to offer, and skip the lines and the wait with VIP access to popular restaurants.
...  More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$64.00 
From  
$64.00 
Learn More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Helicopter TourLuxury Tours

Chicago Helicopter Tour

star-4.5
On a daytime helicopter tour over Chicago, enjoy views of the city's famed architecture and other sights from the air. Fly over Willis Tower (the old Sears Tower), Wrigley Field, Lincoln Park, and more while a pilot provides commentary about the city as you go.
...  More
  • 12 to 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$154.99 
Price varies by group size
From  
$154.99 
Price varies by group size
Learn More
  • 12 to 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Architecture Fireworks CruiseNight Cruises

Chicago Architecture Fireworks Cruise

star-4.5
Take advantage of a rare chance to experience Chicago’s illuminated skyline beneath a fantastic fireworks display. This summer evening cruise (available on selected nights), takes you past more than 40 significant works of architecture like the Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Tower, John Hancock Center, and more. Your expert guide shares each building’s story, and the cruise concludes with a stunning view of the fireworks from Navy Pier.
...  More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$45.40 
From  
$45.40 
Learn More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago City Tour and Chicago River CruiseHalf-day Tours

Chicago City Tour and Chicago River Cruise

star-3.5
See Chicago from a new perspective during this 4-hour combined bus and boat excursion covering some of the city's most iconic sights. First discover Windy City landmarks such as the skyscrapers of the Loop, Grant Park, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field and the former stomping grounds of President Obama during a narrated coach tour. Then take a Chicago cruise aboard your state-of-the-art yacht, enjoying a cruise of the Chicago River that provides a unique look at the city's architecture from the water. This half-day Chicago exploration also includes hotel pickup.
...  More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$76.95 
From  
$76.95 
Learn More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago in a Day: Food, History and Architecture Combo TourHalf-day Tours

Chicago in a Day: Food, History and Architecture Combo Tour

star-5
An excellent choice for first-time visitors, this tour provides a comprehensive overview of the city and hits on both classic attractions and little-known sites. Beginning at the Chicago Theatre, work your way to the Chicago Pedway, an elaborate network of underground tunnels used by locals and commuters. Stroll the Chicago Riverwalk and the Magnificent Mile, then embark on a food tour to taste some of the city’s famous foods.
...  More
  • 5 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$102.30 
From  
$102.30 
Learn More
  • 5 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Grand Half-Day TourHalf-day Tours

Chicago Grand Half-Day Tour

star-3.5
Get the perfect introduction to the wealth of sights in the Windy City during this 4-hour Chicago day tour. Discover the many landmarks spanning both the city's North Side and South Side, enjoying a scenic ride along Lake Michigan on Chicago's Outer Drive along the way. You'll also have the chance to admire the city's Washington and Grant Parks, explore inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory, see Adler Planetarium and visit the iconic Wrigley Building. This Chicago in a half day tour also includes transport between all sites and tour narration.
...  More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$52.95 
From  
$52.95 
Learn More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Grand Tour and Admission to 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory)Attraction Tickets

Chicago Grand Tour and Admission to 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory)

star-3.5
This Chicago grand tour covers four hours of sightseeing with admission to 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory). Get oriented to the Windy City on a coach tour that takes you along a scenic route on Lake Shore Drive, and past North Side and South Side highlights including Museum Campus, Lincoln Park, Washington Park, Grant Park and Wrigley Field. Finish on the 94th floor of the Hancock Center, one of Chicago's tallest landmarks, for panoramic views of the Magnificent Mile from the open-air observation deck.
...  More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$73.95 
From  
$73.95 
Learn More
  • 4 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

VIP: Architectural River Cruise and Chicago Helicopter TourLuxury Tours

VIP: Architectural River Cruise and Chicago Helicopter Tour

star-4.5
Experience Chicago from the air and the water on this two-part tour that features a river cruise and a helicopter ride above the city. First, take a cruise down the Chicago River to learn about the architectural history of the town. Then, board a state-of-the-art helicopter and fly above the skyline. Both tours are fully narrated and pass landmarks including Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, and more.
...  More
  • 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$195.00 
From  
$195.00 
Learn More
  • 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Land and River Architecture Tour of Chicago's Scenic North SideHalf-day Tours

Land and River Architecture Tour of Chicago's Scenic North Side

star-4.5
Discover Chicago’s iconic architectural gems from every angle on a 3.5-hour tour of the North Side. Divided between land and water, the comprehensive tour enables you to cover a huge area of the city without getting worn out. Travel comfortably by coach or trolley to Fort Dearborn, Wrigley Building, and more. Afterwards, see the Windy City's famous skyscrapers, bridges, and historical sites on a 90-minute cruise down Chicago River.
...  More
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$76.95 
From  
$76.95 
Learn More
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

VIP: Chicago Helicopter Tour Plus 360 Chicago Observation DeckAttraction Tickets

VIP: Chicago Helicopter Tour Plus 360 Chicago Observation Deck

star-4
Travelers who like to get to know a city by seeing it from above will love this tour. View Chicago’s long coastline from the seat of a helicopter, then take your time spotting each individual landmark from the observation deck at 360 Chicago. There will be opportunities to take lots of impressive photos. Choose between a daytime or nighttime tours, for unforgettable views at any time of day.
...  More
  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$175.00 
From  
$175.00 
Learn More
  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Best of Chicago: History & Culture Tour with Chocolate and PopcornLuxury Tours

Best of Chicago: History & Culture Tour with Chocolate and Popcorn

star-5
The Windy City is known for its spectacular architecture and eclectic food scene. Experience both on this tour through the downtown that combines sights with nibbles. Take in famous landmarks like the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and Cloud Gate on foot and with the scenic L train or water taxi along the Chicago River. Taste popcorn and chocolate from two beloved city eateries during the tour.
...  More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$50.63 
From  
$50.63 
Learn More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago City Minibus TourBus Tours

Chicago City Minibus Tour

star-5
PLEASE NOTE: Our mini buses are disinfected after each tour. We will do our best to make each tour fun, informative and as SAFE as possible! Freshly discounted private tours are also available. They will be the best way to travel for a while. Scroll down to find Private Tour Enjoy Chicago’s famous sights (now including Wrigley Field!) and fabulous views on this award-winning small-group sightseeing tour of the city. Travel through Chicago with an expert guide on a comfortable minibus, stopping at iconic locations like early skyscraper "The Rookery" (Frank Lloyd Wright architecture), Museum Campus (for the BEST skyline view in town), Millennium Park (The Bean), Buckingham Fountain, The Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park, Chicago River, The Gold Coast, Lake Shore Drive and more! Along the way, your guide will provide historical and informational commentary about the area and its many attractions. The small-group atmosphere with maximum of 10 people ensures a more personal experience. 
...  More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$43.95 
From  
$43.95 
Learn More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food TourLuxury Tours

Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour

star-5
Get to know the food offerings in River North on this small-group walking tour. As you explore, listen to in-depth commentary from your guide on the culinary history of Chicago and the culture of the River North neighborhood. With a small group of just 12 fellow food-lovers, you'll enjoy personalized attention and the chance to chat about your favorite tastings. Samples include the classic Italian beef, a Chicago-style hot dog, and the famous deep dish pizza.
...  More
  • 2 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$60.96 
From  
$60.96 
Learn More
  • 2 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Lake Michigan and Chicago River Architecture Cruise by SpeedboatJet Boats & Speed Boats

Lake Michigan and Chicago River Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

star-4.5
Discover Chicago's world-renowned architecture during this sightseeing cruise. Board a comfortable riverboat for a cruise on the Chicago River, viewing landmarks like the Willis Tower and the Tribune Tower while listening to engaging commentary from your guide. Then board a speedboat for an exciting ride up the shore of Lake Michigan for views of Grant Park, the Chicago Harbor, and the Museum Campus.
...  More
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$49.82 
From  
$49.82 
Learn More
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

20 Minute Chicago Helicopter Tour With Fireworks ShowLuxury Tours

20 Minute Chicago Helicopter Tour With Fireworks Show

Get a front row seat to Chicago’s fireworks display during a 25 to 30-minute helicopter ride above the Windy City.  The nighttime tour takes you over Navy Pier, the Loop, and North Side. Listen to in-flight commentary through a provided headset, which also mutes outside noise. Then, fly to Navy Pier and photograph the stunning fireworks from above before returning to the Earth.
...  More
  • 18 to 20 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$279.00 
From  
$279.00 
Learn More
  • 18 to 20 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First LadyDay Cruises

Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady

star-5
The Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady has long been the gold standard among all Chicago tour experiences, and is the only Chicago architecture boat tour led by highly trained expert docents. On this 90-minute cruise, you will enjoy an overview of historic and modern architectural styles including stories about the people who designed and built Chicago. No visit to Chicago is complete without experiencing this award winning tour, so accept no substitutes.
...  More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
From  
$53.25 
From  
$53.25 
Learn More
  • 1 hour 30 minutes

Chicago Water Taxi Riverwalk Fireworks CruiseCity Tours

Chicago Water Taxi Riverwalk Fireworks Cruise

star-4.5
Get the best possible views of Chicago's summertime fireworks from the deck of a boat. Embark on an evening cruise from the Riverwalk down the main branch of the Chicago River, enjoying views of the city's architectural gems. When darkness falls, sit back and enjoy the light show. Beverages are available for purchase from the cash bar on board.
...  More
  • 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$25.00 
From  
$25.00 
Learn More
  • 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Chicago Insider Segway TourLuxury Tours

Chicago Insider Segway Tour

star-5
This is a tour like no other! Our newest Segway adventure is completely unique and will cover the good, the bad, the ugly and the totally weird stories of Chicago. We will travel back through the ages as you discover the city through the lens of the Chicago Syndicate, hear the whispers of the city’s elite (or politicians), and be entertained by stories that are rarely told. You’ll think “No, really I never would have known!” Glide around Millennium Park, through the new neighborhood of Lakeshore East, and along the Lakefront as we unveil Chicago’s forgotten past in two hours! Your imagination will come alive as you hear stories of the Chicago Mob, the truth behind the 1968 Democratic National Convention, innovations that changed history, and so much more!
...  More
  • 2 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$75.58 
From  
$75.58 
Learn More
  • 2 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are Chicago River hours of operation?
A:
Chicago River hours of operation: Open daily. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Chicago River?

icon_solid_phone
Book online or call
(888) 651-9785
(888) 651-9785