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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceChicago, United States

From US$50,36

Select Date and Travelers

Reserve Now & Pay Later
Secure your spot while staying flexible
Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 1 hour 15 minutes (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 Travelers 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

1 hour 15 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Chicago Skyline (Pass By)

Navy Pier (Pass By)

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower (Pass By)

Tribune Tower (Pass By)

John Hancock Center (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • All boats have full restrooms and 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
  • Beginning November 8, 2022 through April 2023, tours will be 60 minutes in length.
  • Cruises are dog-friendly
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers

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 canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

about cancellations.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
Our Guide was very knowledgeable and funny. We had a very memorable time on our tour! The details about the buildings and architecture was fascinating! Highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Chicago!!


10 284 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 10 284 reviews
Excellent tour, guide was...
Chifumi_S, Jun 2023
Excellent tour, guide was very entertaining and we had a great time. Would definitely recommend for a quick tour.
Architectural tour with mom
Michael_B, Jun 2023
Plenty of room on the vessel, and very informative. I took my mother and she absolutely loved it. She probably took 100 pictures.
Malgorzata_G, Jun 2023
Very nice beautiful tour....We really enjoy it.Now we know more about Chicago history.Highly recommend it.Thank you
All staff was absolutely...
Michal_K, Jun 2023
All staff was absolutely Amazing from start to finish. I will recommend to everyone. Was very funny and interesting
Joan_S, Jun 2023
Our fight was delayed we realized we would not be able to make it to the pick up point, tried calling at least 20X and CSR kept hanging up. Tried rescheduling but it said to contact customer service, haha, we finally did get live person and after we told him our story he tried calling the same number as us and he was hung up on! TERRIBLE!!!!!
All was great! Stefanie...
Joanna_C, Jun 2023
All was great! Stefanie was a great tour guide that was very knoweledgabale and knew how to get crowd attention.
Full moon fireworks float
Daniel_S, Jun 2023
We had a great time on the fireworks sailing. The staff was attentive and informative. The Captain navigated the vessel around the other boats in the water and positioned us for great viewing of the fireworks.
Relaxing tour on a sunny morning
Matthew_D, Jun 2023
A very easy, relaxing, informal 90 minute boat tour around the river walk in downtown Chicago. Tour guide Patrick was entertaining without being corny. The weather was perfect and it was our last morning in Chicago. We took advantage of the drinks available for purchase and it was a great way to see the city on a beautiful morning.
Perfect way to see a lot of the city!
Steph_M, Jun 2023
Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and funny! I appreciate a wonderful tour on the perfect June day!
Great Experience
Tommy_H, Jun 2023
Had a great time and learned a lot about the city. The host was great and very knowledgeable. The view and weather were great.
Best tour ever. Tour...
Carly_H, Jun 2023
Best tour ever. Tour guide was fantastic and very knowledgeable but fun. I am looking forward to taking it again
Totally Worth It
Gabriela_S, Jun 2023
Patrick was amazing!! Very entertaining and educational at the same time. Worthwhile tour for tourists but Chicagoans as well that aren't as familiar with our architectural history.
Learning about the...
Trudie_M, Jun 2023
Learning about the history of the buildings and the resilience of Chicago. New appreciation for how the city has evolved.
Nice city walk finish.
Viktoriya_P, Jun 2023
This was a nice and relaxing tour for family after nice walk from museum to the starting point along the Lakefront Trl and Park Dr to the tour starting point. If you visiting Chicago with family this is nice place to go to learn about city history.
Best Tour I’ve ever been in!
Christopher_E, Jun 2023
It would have to be the gentleman that gave the tour. He was so knowledgeable and funny. Grabbed our attention at all time.
tourist or local? Doesn’t matter!
Julia_B, Jun 2023
Every time I visit Chicago, I take this tour. It never gets old and is such a special way to see the city. Tourist or local…everyone would love.
History of the tall beauties along the river
Dave_H, Jun 2023
We were on the ‘Riverview’ and our docent was Jim. What a great job he did! I learned how to stop skyscrapers from excessively swaying in the Chicago wind. There’s 3 methods. Take the excursion and find out!😀
Fun, relaxing, informative, and beautiful!
Carrie_E, Jun 2023
Such a fun activity to do with our girls during our visit to Chicago. Ricky was our guide and did a fabulous job. Thanks for the memories!!
Beautiful Day on the River
Doug_S, Jun 2023
Views were incredible and river was beautiful. Great information from the tour guide…all around wonderful experience!
Excellent Tour
Kristin_K, Jun 2023
Sam was awesome-very informative and an excellent tour guide. His presentation was flawless and his knowledge on the history of Chicago was spot on.


Product code: 5580ARC

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