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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceChicago, United States
Likely to Sell Out

From US$46.87

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Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible
Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 1 hour (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


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).
  • 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 architecture
  • See more than 40 buildings including the Wrigley Building and Willis Tower
  • Discover the major events that helped shape the architectural history of Chicago

Why Travellers Choose This Tour

This ultra-flexible cruise runs more than 20 times daily from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.

What's Included

  • Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
  • Live commentary on board
  • Drinks (available for purchase)

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting points

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End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue (depending on option chosen) for your cruise departure. Board your riverboat and find a comfortable seat; 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 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 John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the Wrigley Building, and the Lyric Opera House. 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.

Chicago River

Cruise takes place on the Chicago River.

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Chicago Skyline (Pass By)

Enjoy an amazing view of the city's skyline.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • All boats have full restrooms and some have a full bar
  • Some boats are single deck vessels, the type of vessel you are placed on cannot be guaranteed
  • Wheelchairs or other walking assistance equipment are not provided.
  • Tour times cannot be changed.
  • Near public transportation
  • Departure locations cannot be changed
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Beginning November 8, 2022 through April 2023, tours will be 60 minutes in length.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travellers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

about cancellations.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.

Q:What is the policy on sanitisation during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?

A:The policy on sanitisation is:
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas

Q:What is the social distancing policy during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?

A:The policy on social distancing is:
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons

Traveller Photos

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Traveller Tips

Most of the boat is exposed, so make sure to wear appropriate attire in the case of rain or direct sunlight.
There are 2 departure piers (East Michigan and East Grand) so make sure that you’re at the right place.
9,621 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 9,621 reviews
Excellent tour
Troy_R, Dec 2022
Professional guide was amazing. We absolutely love taking friends and family on this excursion. It never gets old.
Solo Date
Casey_D, Dec 2022
I took the 4pm tour and it was just beautiful with the sunset. I learned so much and really enjoyed every bit of it.
Great time!
Alexandra_M, Nov 2022
Antonio was great! Very enthusiastic and entertaining! Wish we could have gone north AND south on the tour rather than just south (we missed the Montgomery Ward building, etc)
Learning about the...
Amy_R, Nov 2022
Learning about the architecture of the buildings and the thought process behind it was very interesting. It was a wonderful experience:)
Great way to spend the hour.
David_E, Nov 2022
Very well conducted tour. The guide has a great, informative and entertaining delivery and program. Was describing buildings and history the whole time. No need to even get a snack or coffee!
Steve and Chicago ROCKS!!
Hana_R, Nov 2022
Steve is a real talent! So smart and funny and while some people can be corny he was not at all! Very informative and kept it going for the whole trip!
Unique and insightful experience
DARSH_S, Nov 2022
Great tour of architecture around the Chicago River and Downtown loop. Our guide Kevin gave a good overview of the history, both modern and old, of what makes the Chicago skyline unique. Definitely would recommend for those visiting Chicago - a good choice for all ages.
A must see when visiting Chicago.
Claire_C, Nov 2022
All of it was interesting. The tour guide was OK, seemed like he might be new. He was a little forgetful and his jokes were corny.
The tour guy was very...
Laura_A, Nov 2022
The tour guy was very nice and fun Great tour and the views of the city are amazing , my family enjoyed this adventure for sure
Informative and fun
Darren_C, Nov 2022
Seeing the skyline and hearing about the architects ideas and designs was great. Bob was our tour guide and he was interesting to hear share stories of Chicago history.
Excellent 60 minute tour
Maria_S, Nov 2022
Warmer, sunny weather in November made this a great tour. The tour guide was interesting and easy to hear.
Look up and see the amazing history of this beautiful city.
Carol_S, Nov 2022
Took a last minute tour over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I’ve always wanted to do this and it didn’t disappoint. Tour guide was extremely knowledgable and entertaining.
Stephanie did an...
Olena_S, Nov 2022
Stephanie did an outstanding job guiding the tour! It was perfect! This experience is definitely worth the time and money. We had a 10 and a 6 year old kids, and they enjoyed it as well.
Learning about the...
Jenifer_R, Nov 2022
Learning about the architecture in Chicago was fun, experience with staff particularly with the tour guide “Antonio” was great
The river provides a...
Antonios_T, Nov 2022
The river provides a unique point of view in the middle space between the buildings. We got to appreciate the sizes, the reflection of one building into the other. The story behind each building traveled us in time as we moved along the river.
Good tour
Padma_C, Nov 2022
Tour guide was very informative. Tour operator was very flexible when we missed our original booking.
Dan shared lots of...
Melissa_A, Nov 2022
Dan shared lots of interesting facts about architecture and the city's history. He was knowledgeable and friendly, answering our questions and taking our group photo.
Great narrator
Mukti_P, Nov 2022
Narrator was great and engaging with great knowledge of the buildings and surroundings. Would recommend this to all new visitors to Chicago.
Great experience but not as advertised.
Andrew_C, Nov 2022
I have done this river cruise several times and I always enjoy brining new people to experience it. The guide is always so passionate and knowledgeable about the buildings, history, and upcoming projects. My only hiccup was thr website said 90 minute tour but apparently it’s shortened this time of year or something. Normally we would see the Rookery and go north as well but we did not. Not sure if this intentional or just incorrectly labeled.
Open Air boat we were freezing
Christine_U, Nov 2022
The boat and your driver were top notch. However, the website should clearly state this is an open boat, no real shelter. We went out in 22 degree weather. We would never have booked it had we known it was open air.


Product code: 5580ARC