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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceChicago, United States
Likely to Sell Out

From $46.87

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)

Departure & Return

Possible departure locations

Departure Point

  • 401 N Michigan Ave, 401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

    FROM MICHIGAN AVE: Departs from 401 N Michigan Ave at the Shoreline Sightseeing docks. NE corner of Historic Michigan Ave. (Dusable) Bridge. Located alongside Chicago's Honored Pioneer Court.

  • 124 N Streeter Dr, 124 N Streeter Dr, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

    FROM NAVY PIER: Departs from 124 N Streeter Drive from the Shoreline Sightseeing docks at Polk Bros Park.

Return Details

This activity will end right where it started.

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
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Departure locations cannot be changed
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers
Operated by Shoreline Sightseeing

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.

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 sanitization during Chicago Architecture River Cruise?

A:The policy on sanitization is:
  • Regularly sanitized 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

Traveler Photos

See more

Traveler 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.
7,425 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 7,425 reviews
Mother's Day Cruise review
Samantha_S, May 2022
The tour person, I think his name was Dan is extremely knowledgeable about the great city Chicago. Was very friendly and checked on us multiple times throughout the tour. The Irish Coffee drink was exceptionally well made by the bartender below.
I would do it again
Lorelei_F, May 2022
The tour was awesome, the crew attended us very good. One thing though is that there are 2 sides of the river where you can board and there should be a sign that inform people what side if the river to go and not going downststairs on the wrong dock
Highly recommend
Gwen_O, May 2022
Tour guide's explanation of the architecture of the buildings through the years. He was clear, knowledgeable and informative. We learned a lot about Chicago's history. The tour was on time and comfortable.
Best Part of My Trip to Chicago
Stephen_Y, May 2022
This was my favorite part of my trip to Chicago. We took a 90 tour up the Chicago river and enjoyed a very pleasant trip. Our tour guide was incredibly informative and knowledgeable and kept the experience fun for everyone. I learned a lot about the city and it's architecture in the best possible setting. I would recommend this tour to anyone.
Fantastic and entertaining
Leon_W, May 2022
Great tour guide. He was very knowledgeable and funny. I highly recommend this when visiting Chicago
Peter_J, May 2022
Amazing tour with very informative tour guide. Would recommend this to others wanting to learn more about Chicago.
The history and seeing...
Christopher_J, May 2022
The history and seeing the buildings from both up and down the river Kevin was the bomb I could believe he broke out in song What a blast
Well worth the price
jmr33090, May 2022
Our tour guide was both entertaining and very knowledgeable about the various architectural styles found in Chicago's skyline. Overall well worth it.
Awesome! The tour guide...
Cindy_Y, May 2022
Awesome! The tour guide spoke about all the historical buildings in Chicago. They had nice drink bar downstairs on the bus.
A must do
Nick_H, May 2022
Megan best guide ever give her a raise or im going to hire her. Informational, spacious and a lot of fun. Sunset cruise for the win.


Product code: 5580ARC