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Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this 75-minute tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like the Aon Center, 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).

Highlights

  • 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

Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue for your cruise departure. Board your river boat and find a comfortable seat on one of the decks; 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 75-minute 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 the Aon Center, the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) the Wrigley Building and the IBM Building. 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. 

Please see the Itinerary section below for a full list of buildings on the tour.

Itinerary

Customer Reviews

Carolyn G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Was an entertaining and educational tour. We enjoyed it very much.

Lis L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

It was a gorgeous afternoon on the river hearing the history and seeing the architecture of the beautiful Chicago skyline with our incredibly knowledgeable and funny guide, Ben. I could do the whole thing again.

Stefanie K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

This tour was amazing!

Denis G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Best tour in Chicago.

Victor L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

what a great way to see the history of the buildings in Chicago. The tour guide, she's hilarious.

David P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Beautiful way to see Chicago and learn the history of the City! Jim, our tour guide was extremely engaging. A MUST activity for all tourists and natives!!

Cynthia P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

This was a wonderful introduction to the city and the history of the area. I highly recommend it. Our tour guide was wonderful. His knowledge was extensive and his wit was dry. We felt he was underappreciated by many on board.

Harold L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Our guide, Jim, did a great job maintaining order and keeping it interesting!

Francis X W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Got to the pier a little early and asked to take the tour leaving in 15 minutes. Was no problem. Enjoyed our experience with no problems and will use Viator again.

Linda F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

We had such a good time! Due to traffic issues we were visiting from Indiana, we weren't able to make our original time of 3:15, but were able to switch to the 4:00 with no problem. My mother is in a wheelchair, and the staff was very accommodating to our situation. Best of all, our Tour Guide was just fantastic! Very informative and hilarious! I would definitly recomment this to others in fact, I already have.

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