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Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady

Chicago, United States

From $56.00

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You will not receive a refund if you cancel.
  • 1 hour 30 minutes (approx.)
  • Offered in: English


Enjoy a quintessential Chicago experience when you go on an architecture-themed river tour. Pick from multiple convenient start times, and board your vessel—the Lady Liberty—directly from the Chicago Riverwalk. Your trained docent guides will give you a rich introduction to the Windy City’s history, key landmarks, and architectural highlights—and you can spy landmarks like the Marina City towers and Navy Pier from the water’s edge.
  • See a new perspective on the Windy City when you sail the Chicago River
  • Multiple departure times are available to suit your schedule
  • Discover key Chicago landmarks like Navy Pier and Marina City
  • Learn all about the city’s highlights and heritage from your docent guide

What's Included

  • Live commentary on board
  • Local guide (docents)
  • River sightseeing cruise
  • Drinks & light snacks (available to purchase)
  • Storage for luggage

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 112 E Wacker Dr
    112 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

    On Chicago's Riverwalk at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Please use 112 E. Wacker for GPS navigation. Look for our blue awning at street level on the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive.

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Your tickets will be held at the dockside box office for collection on the day of the cruise
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Not recommended for children younger than 12 years
  • Routes, specific vessels, and schedules are subject to change without notice
  • All seating is General Admission. Boarding is on a first come, first serve basis
  • Most departures wheelchair accessible, please advise at time of booking if wheelchair assistance is required
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Pets are not allowed
  • Most travelers can participate
  • WARNING: Tickets are not refundable or transferrable to other departures.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers

Cancellation Policy

This experience is non-refundable and cannot be changed for any reason. If you cancel or ask for an amendment, the amount you paid will not be refunded.

      about cancellations.

      Frequently Asked Questions

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

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      Q:Where is the departure point for the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:The cruise departs from the scenic dockside along Chicago’s Riverwalk; 3 blocks north of Millennium Park and steps from The Magnificent Mile. The entrance to the Riverwalk dock is street level on the northeast corner of Michigan Ave. and Wacker Dr.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Is there parking available for the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:The nearest parking facility is LAZ Parkins Garage at 111 E Wacker Dr. This garage is directly across the street from the stairway to the dock and next door to the Chicago Architecture Center. There is a fee for parking.

      Apr 2021

      Q:How early should I arrive for my Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your cruise departure time - allow extra time in summer!

      Apr 2021

      Q:What should I bring with me on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Bring your sunglasses, cap, or visor, as the sun can interfere with your view of the buildings.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Can I purchase food/drinks while onboard the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Yes - there is a full bar available onboard.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Is the seating assigned during the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:No - All seating is general admission. While seat numbers are printed on the tickets, you can ignore these as they are not valid.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Are there restrooms available during the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Yes, all the boats have restrooms onboard. Please note: the restrooms close 15 minutes before the end of the tour for safety reasons.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Can I bring luggage with me on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Due to security reasons, luggage cannot be brought on board. There is not an area to store your luggage dockside either. Please leave your luggage at your hotel.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Can I bring a stroller with me on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Yes, you can bring a stroller onboard. Children must be removed from strollers before boarding. Strollers will be folded and stored in the salon during the cruise.

      Apr 2021

      Q:What happens if it rains on the date of my Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:All sailings go out rain or shine. All the boats have two levels – the top deck is open-air, and the lower deck is an enclosed, climate-controlled salon. Each salon is surrounded by large windows so you can stay comfortable while taking in the views.

      Apr 2021

      Traveler Photos

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      Traveler Tips

      It is difficult to hear the tour guide so you need to get there early and sit close to the guide.
      Upstairs seating is plenty but don't forget your hats and sunscreen if you visit during summer.
      However, in the event of rain, sitting in the saloon is a less satisfactory experience.
      884 reviews
      Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
      Reviews by Viator travelers.
      Showing 1-10 of 884 reviews
      So worthwhile!
      Mary_F, Sep 2022
      Our docent Larry was the key to this informative and entertains tour. I'd do it again tomorrow if I were stilll in town. So much to absorb!
      Love the experience!
      Nancy_C, Sep 2022
      Worth the time and worth the money! Loved it! It was great to hear the history of Chicago and it was perfect weather too!
      Must Do for Visitors and Locals!
      Kevin_L, Aug 2022
      Great experience. We learned so much about the history of Chicago and the art of the actual city! We had a great guide in Deb. A must do!
      Fantastic start to a day of sightseeing in Chicago
      Patricia_A, Aug 2022
      A fantastic activity - the docent from the Architectural Center was informative snd fun and the river boat staffed and driven well!
      Cassandra_T, Aug 2022
      My mom and I went on the river cruise. I really enjoyed learning the history and more about architecture.
      Lovely afternoon
      Elizabeth_H, Aug 2022
      We had a lovely time cruising on the First Lady. The weather was perfect and the buildings glistened in the sun. Our docent was amazing. It was obvious she had a passion for her city and it’s architecture.
      Magnificent tour.
      Martha_M, Aug 2022
      Excelent experience. Truly enjoyed the views and the stories and descriptions by the docent. Shared the tour with a friend from Argentina.
      Great day on the river...
      Matt_M, Aug 2022
      Great day on the river with the family. Guide was informative and view of the city was impeccable. Would highly recommend this.
      Highly recommend
      Marcialee_L, Aug 2022
      Our tour guide Tim did an excellent job providing fascinating facts about Chicago history and architecture in an engaging and pleasant presentation.
      Exceptional Architecture Tour
      Ellen_T, Aug 2022
      Our tour lecturer(I think his name was Charles) could not have been more interesting and enthusiastic about his subject. I especially appreciated the fact that he was doing this as a volunteer. I learned so much ! And, the boat was clean and well maintained
      Our tour guide ...
      Adrienne_S, Sep 2022
      Our tour guide Bob Was great It please please make it abundantly obvious when tickets are purchased that you must have them printed out to actually board the boat. We had to take the 12 noon instead of 11 because we had to figure out how to print our tickets
      An unforgettable beautiful experience
      dalleynedettmers, Aug 2022
      The guide‘s explanation of the buildings and architectural styles. He was very knowledgeable and extremely professional. The boat ride was soothing and very relaxing. I shall definitely take this trip again should I return to Chicago
      The #1 River Cruise!
      Jeff_M, Aug 2022
      We have a great time on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady! The weather was perfect, the tour guide was highly knowledgeable about the City and its buildings. This is the cruise you want to take! I want to learn more and plan to take a walking tour in the fall.
      First Class
      Randall_W, Aug 2022
      Our River Cruise on the First Lady was First Class. I use a walker and the crew was very accommodating to me. Our Narrator/Volunteer from the Chicago Architecture Center was Patricia and she was excellent! Thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience even the voucher exchanger Jade was a joy.
      We had a wonderful...
      Ellen_G, Sep 2022
      We had a wonderful narrator/guide whose name I believe was Georgia. You can confirm by checking the 11:00 on Friday. We have traveled extensively and she is definitely one of very best.
      Very kind crew, very knowledgeable guide, very enjoyable time
      Jan_E, Aug 2022
      Very kind crew. Very knowledgeable guide. Very enjoyable time. We liked it a lot and recommend this tour to anybody interested in architecture.
      Boat ride thru History
      Michael_J, Sep 2022
      Just listening to the history of the city. Our speaker was superb‼️ She was icing on the top of the cake. Great opportunity for pictures. I knew a little bit of the history of the city but never realized the major role that the Chicago River played in the development of the city. This cruise made our trip to Chicago.
      The very best!
      John_M, Aug 2022
      Great expertise and presentation skills of docent — a real pro! Boat was comfortable, and tour was comprehensive. A great way to see a lot of architecture in a short time.
      Our tour guide Claudia was magnificent!
      BRADLEYA_T, Aug 2022
      Learning about the various architectural phases in our countries history and how they affected the Chicago riverfront.
      Chicago at its best
      Katherine_M, Aug 2022
      We take this tour almost every summer and we always learn something new. The docents from the Center who narrate are amazing. The river is the best way to see the most beautiful city in the world and we are world travelers.


      Product code: 41402P1