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Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour

Badge of ExcellenceChicago, United States
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From $42.00

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 1 hour 30 minutes (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Step aboard a boat for a comprehensive cruise that details the history of Chicago's architecture. Enjoy views of the Chicago skyline accompanied by architecture-focused commentary that points out each of the landmark buildings. As you cruise through Lake Michigan, snap photos of you and your party against the stretch of Chicago's 26-mile shoreline.
  • Comprehensive architectural tour
  • Live commentary on Chicago's architectural gems
  • Travel by boat along the Lake Michigan shoreline
  • Buy tickets in advance for this must-do Chicago activity

What's Included

  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Departure & Return

Departure Point

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

    The vessel departs and returns to Wendella's Michigan Avenue Docks located in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, at the base of the Wrigley Building. Look for the blue "Wendella" awning over the dock staircase. Descend the stairs to the river-level dock.

Return Details

This activity will end right where it started.

What To Expect

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Weapons prohibited by US Coast Guard
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Outside alcohol is prohibited
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Increased sanitation and hand sanitizer stations
  • Arrive 15-30 Minutes prior to your departure time
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Contact tour operator for wheelchair & ADA access
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 300 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.

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 do we meet for the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:We are located at 400 N Michigan Avenue at the historic Wrigley Building. Wendella has four dock locations that extend west from the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge to Wabash Avenue.

Apr 2021

Q:Is there parking available for the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:There are two parking garages near the departure point: AMA Plaza parking at 401 N. State Street and InterPark Public Parking at 430 N. Rush St. (Parking fees apply at both locations.)

Apr 2021

Q:Is the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour handicap accessible?

A:We operate 3 boats with wheelchair lifts between decks. All our boats can accommodate wheelchairs & have toilets that are ADA compliant. For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, a written script of the narration is available at the ticket office.

Apr 2021

Q:Can I bring my service animal with me on the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:A service animal is a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Pets and dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not allowed.

Apr 2021

Q:Are there restrooms available on board the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:Yes. Restrooms are located on the lower deck of each vessel; changing tables are also available in each restroom.

Apr 2021

Q:How early should I arrive for the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:Boarding begins 15-30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Apr 2021

Q:Does the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour operate in bad weather?

A:Our cruises depart rain or shine. Our vessels include sheltered areas and climate-controlled lounges. Ponchos are available for purchase onboard. However, in cases of severe weather where the cruise must be canceled, all guests will be refunded.

Apr 2021

Q:Is the boat climate controlled during the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:Most of our vessels feature an enclosed climate-controlled lounge on the lower deck with speakers to hear the tour guide’s narration. If you have a concern about whether your vessel has an interior lounge, please call the phone number on your ticket.

Apr 2021

Q:Is food/drink available during the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:A full-service bar is available onboard. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as an assortment of snacks, are available for purchase. Bar sales are credit cards only. No cash purchases.

Apr 2021

Q:Can I store my luggage during the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:There is no storage area on our dock, but guests may bring their luggage aboard keeping in mind it is subject to inspection.

Apr 2021

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

This is an absolute must if you are coming to Chicago for the first time OR if you have been to Chicago many times but have never seen the beautiful cityscape from the lake.
To see the city from the lake and river is a must.. Too much to miss out if you are not doing both.
880 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 880 reviews
Chicago nights
Brian_R, Aug 2022
The Wendella staff was very friendly and fun! The Brie of the city from the lake is breathtaking. If you are in Chicago, you should definitely take this tour.
Excellent tour
Alun_R, Aug 2022
Wonderful 90 minute tour and worth every cent. Takes you out on the lake and then back for the river tour. Excellent and informative commentary throughout, giving all the detail needed. Highly recommended.
Awesome experience
Jennifer_L, Aug 2022
Awesome experience! Would recommend to anyone who is vacationing in Chicago. My son and I learned a great deal.
Phyllis, the tour guide...
Krisanna_B, Aug 2022
Phyllis, the tour guide was amazing! Great views of the city from both the river and Lake Michigan! Learned so much!
Splash Zone!!
Alana_S, Aug 2022
Scott was amazing and knowledgeable! Depending on the choppy lake water, be prepared to get wet!! We thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
Great your, Excellent views of Chicago's beautiful architecture.
angieglover39, Aug 2022
The tour was very informative and the narrator engaging. However, seating was uncomfortable if you didn't get there earlier enough to get a good seat. So, I recommend if you are planning to take this tour that you arrive early or be prepared to stand or sit down below.
Wonderful tour, the guide...
Christopher_R, Aug 2022
Wonderful tour, the guide was very entertaining and knowledgeable, and I felt the experience was very much worth what I spent.
Don’t nag me.
PATRICE_H, Aug 2022
Knowledgeable commentary. It was a bit too full of jokes that weren’t that funny. Quit bugging me.hhhjj
OMG!!! Loved it!!!
Socar_C, Aug 2022
It was PHENOMENAL! I really enjoyed it! I learned so much about the history of the city. It was a great time!
Patrick_W, Aug 2022
The tour guide was so entertaining & informative. I've been on several of these architectural tours and this was the best one ever. He was great.
Great tour. Emily was...
Charles_B, Aug 2022
Great tour. Emily was amazing. My 11 year old son loved going through the locks. We highly recommend
The guided architecture...
suzete_d, Aug 2022
The guided architecture river/lake tour was wonderful! Extremely interesting and informative and lots of fun! That’s my “go to” activity for my out of town visitors to do.
do not miss
Paolo_C, Aug 2022
very well managed, beatiful tour, both river and lake. Best times are late afternoon. We choose 5.30 pm and was super ( of course depending on weather)
So worth it!!
George_B, Aug 2022
Our tour guide, Robert, was the best!! Knowledgeable, funny, personable! He made the difference on a rather rainy day.
Memorable cruise ride
Had a great narration during the ride. For first half of the ride (lake part), weather was bad with rain and poor visibility, but it was nonetheless great experience. The second river walk part was great. The front desk and check in crew need to be little more clear and communicative, but otherwise everything was good.
The boat was great and...
Lisa_D, Aug 2022
The boat was great and the tour guide (Kenny I think) was entertaining and so knowledgeable. He was great.
Perfect tour!
TinaMarie_M, Aug 2022
Great info on a perfect boat trip. 10/10, definitely recommend the tour! Loved all the historical information and other trivia, lead by a great tour guide!
Recommend Combined Lake and Architecture Tour
Robert_C, Aug 2022
Interesting back stories of Chicago and the architects who designed it's present day building skyline.
Great Experience
Sue_Y, Aug 2022
Guide was GREAT. Energetic, knowledgeable..and pleasant! I learned a lot about the locks and about the history of the City and building plans! Who knew?!
Great way to see the city
Lori_F, Aug 2022
This tour was fantastic. Our guide, Kenneth was the right balance of being both knowledgeable and entertaining. This was hubby's 1st trip to Chicago and although I have been to this lovely city many times, I'd never done a river tour so we had a. blast. Highly recommend


Product code: 76126P2