Chicago Tours
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
5
BEST SELLER

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

By Shoreline Sightseeing
Recommended by 97% of travelers
97% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
What is Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travelers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
About
Get views of Chicago’s most famous buildings, as well as insider info from an expert guide, on this architecture-focused cruise. See all the most important buildings on one tour, a hard-to-accomplish task on foot. View the skyline from the Chicago River while listening to live commentary. Snap photos of the Willis (Sears) Tower, Old Post Office, Wrigley Building, and more.
from
$53.70
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 250 per group
Duration: 1h 15m
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English
More

Highlights
  • See all of Chicago's architectural masterpieces in a single tour
  • Choose from multiple departure times to fit your busy schedule
  • Learn about the city's architectural history through an expert's live narration
  • Prebook this must-do Chicago activity, which frequently sells out
Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best
2024

  • Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
  • Live expert commentary on board
  • Restroom on board
  • Pet-friendly
What's not included
  • Drinks (available for purchase)
  • WiFi on board

Make your way to the specified departure place, either the Michigan Avenue riverfront or Navy Pier, in time for your chosen cruise departure. Since you’ve pre-purchased your tickets, skip the line and have no worries if this popular Chicago tour sells out. Find a comfortable seat and settle in as your guide, an architecture expert, gives an introduction to Chicago's architectural history. Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings, including the 360 Chicago Observation Deck, Willis (Sears) Tower, Wrigley Building, and more, and learn which buildings famous architects Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill designed. You have plenty of photo opportunities. Some cruises include a full bar. Your cruise ends at its starting point.

Start:Multiple meeting point options.
  • Option 1
    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.
  • Option 2
    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.
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Near public transportation
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 5580ARC

    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Most travelers can participate
    • 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.
    • Departure locations cannot be changed
    • Beginning November 6, 2023 through April 2024, tours will be 60 minutes in length.
    • Cruises are dog-friendly
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 5580ARC

    Reserve your spot

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    Itinerary
    • 1
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    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Shoreline Sightseeing
      8,957
      Chicago, Illinois
    • dennisdP92XR
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Definitely recommend!
      This was a wonderful experience. We went really went far out into the water for just gorgeous views. Could even see Buckingham Fountain from the boat. Afterwards go right over to Navy Pier and spend some time. Worth the price and will do again.
      Written June 12, 2024
    • simonemW9596RL
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Peaceful and smooth
      It was very peaceful. The boat was smooth and the tour was informative about the architecture. The boat wasn’t crowded.
      Written May 1, 2024
    • Arielle251
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Beautiful!
      We went on the Skyline Chicago River boat tour back in October, it was very windy. But also, very pretty! Really enjoyed it and got some great pics of the skyline and water. Loved it!
      Written April 19, 2024
    • Shirley0127
      0 contributions
      1.0 of 5 bubbles
      Not worth the ride
      Not worth the ride too expensive for nothing, you better off walking to see the city of Chicago, instead of looking at it from this boat that it’s really only 25 minute boat ride.
      Written March 4, 2024
    • Bria1010
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Do it!
      My significant other and I had a WONDERFUL experience aboard one of the Hot Chocolate Cruises. It would make a great family outing as well; short and sweet. I would definitely recommend going after the sun has set.
      Written December 29, 2023
    • Beemoney97
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Great Views and a Great Guide
      This tour is amazing! Even on a snowy day, we got a great view of the city. Our tour was on 11/26, and our guide Tori was amazing! She was very knowledgeable and friendly. Have your cameras out because you're gonna want to take pictures the whole time.
      Written November 26, 2023
    • travel_sco_lb
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Amazing - loved every minute!
      This is a must for anyone visiting Chicago! Stephanie was absolutely great! So knowledgable and interesting! I honestly cannot fault this experience, it was amazing from start to finish! We left the boat with the best pictures of the city and some really interesting facts!
      Written November 22, 2023
    • barbaraw815
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Fun thing to do on a nice day
      Beautiful day and a lovely cruise. Wish it lasted longer. Narration was very informative. Best seats are in the middle so you can hear the narration. Especially hard to hear in the back.
      Written October 23, 2023
    • 674sylviai
      0 contributions
      3.0 of 5 bubbles
      Enjoyed the ride
      We enjoyed the ride which takes you outside the city. But the views are great. The bad thing for us was the parking. The website says to park at a public parking but it was a mile or more away on foot! Recommend parking at Navy Pier
      Written October 22, 2023
    • LoreG115
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Best Concierge in town!
      Erin was the best concierge. She provide all the information needed to have the best time in Chicago Downtown. She is very friendly and made my stay incredible!!! Loved her!
      Written October 19, 2023
    • marykays358
      0 contributions
      3.0 of 5 bubbles
      Skip this and go on the Architectural Tour.
      Meh...This isn't really a tour so much as a shuttle between 2 points. You cannot really hear the prerecorded audio information during the cruise and it's not that exciting. The Architectural Tour on the river is MUCH better. Spend your money there.
      Written October 17, 2023
    • rebelee
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Lived up to expectations!
      The reviews for this experience are great and the tour lived up to the lofty expectations. Beautiful views, knowledgeable tour guide, even on a cold and dreary fall day.
      Written October 16, 2023
    • karenpC1575ET
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Relaxing boat tour.
      The time we went it turned from day to night. The view was stunning and the information was just enough.
      Written October 11, 2023
    • dorothym683
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Don’t miss this. Stunning architectural tour.
      We did the architectural River cruise. Great tour, well-managed, informative and covered safety issues. The boats are mostly open, there is some shady seating, but anything overhead blocks your view.
      Written October 9, 2023
    • Melissa Pirani N
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Enjoyable way to see the buildings along the Chicago River
      We had a wonderful time! Our guide was witty and informative. She pointed out all of the buildings along the three branches of the Chicago River and told bits of info about each of them. The ride was 75 minutes in length, but it never felt dull or boring - even our 5 year old was entertained!
      Written October 2, 2023
    See all 8,957 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

    Popular mentions

    5.0
    5.0 of 5 bubbles5,537 reviews
    Excellent
    5,070
    Very good
    341
    Average
    51
    Poor
    27
    Terrible
    48

    Drew
    7 contributions
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    Sep 2022 • Friends
    We booked from Navy Pier at dusk so we could enjoy a “sunset cruise” and be positioned to see the last fireworks of the season. Unfortunately, the weather changed to blustery and cool. We chose to sit at the back of the boat to avoid rain, if it happened. Wrong choice! To hear the commentary, we should have been front and center. The sound system was weak and a number of families sat around us making it doubly hard to hear the speaker. Our docent spoke for almost 1 1/2 hours without notes (!) but he spoke so quickly that we couldn’t process half of what he said. I would recommend he pepper his phenomenal amount of information with less statistics and more stories. We eventually gave up, sat back and tried to enjoy the sights. It was very disappointing.
    Written September 4, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    MsPiggy
    Miami Beach, FL4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Sep 2020 • Solo
    I don’t normally write reviews but an exception is being made. I took the 5pm cruise with my German Shepard and was wowed by the incredible skyscrapers along with a deep history lesson of this magnificent city combined with anecdotes, jokes, and a blues song played on the harmonica and sung by our guide. Thank you Kevin, they don’t pay you enough. Highly recommend this to anyone who appreciates architecture or wants to be inspired.
    Written September 24, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Robert L
    Amherst, MA1,608 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We did the 90 minute boat tour that was guided by an architectural commentator. The views of the city and buildings were stunning. Many of the buildings are new and the guide discusses the various design periods. The 90 minutes just flew by.....this is a must even though you get tickets via Ticketmaster- who clearly inflate the charges.
    Written May 9, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    yvonnel253
    Baltimore, Maryland3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    May 2022 • Couples
    Mary Jo, our guide for the May 10 boat tour, was knowledgeable about Chicago’s historic and current architecture, the engineering feats behind the skyscrapers and the history of Chicago River as well as the city. She took the time to introduce herself to passengers who were waiting to board the boat and to find out where they were from and why they were in town. She was organized, articulate, and provided an outstanding 90 minute presentation that was well worth the ticket price. The beautiful day made the trip unforgettable.
    Written May 18, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Shellie B
    Portland, OR60 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    As a former travel writer, I’ve taken a lot of tours. Honestly, this was a Top 5 experience. The difference? The volunteer docent, Jim. He was an older man with an AMAZING memory and enthusiasm for the city. In 1.5 hours, he never referenced a script; he knew every date, architect name, address - it was astounding as was Chicago’s architecture. I’d recommend doing the last tour of the evening when you’ll likely be treated to the sun setting on the reflective buildings of the city. It makes for lovely photos. One last thing: I would have gladly tipped Jim, but the docents don’t accept gratuities.
    Written July 19, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Anurag S
    Seattle, WA2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dec 2021 • Friends
    Spiro was an engaging and a friendly guide. I would recommend this tour to everyone who wants to learn about the architecture history for the Chicago skyline and interesting stories about the growth of the city to what it is today. The tour is an hour long adventure and it is a fun walkthrough in the centre of the city. A must for anyone visiting Chicago.
    Written December 26, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Solange S
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Jun 2021 • Family
    Jim was our host and he is THE BEST host ever! You’ll get the money of what you pay x100 times. We wanted to do a sunset trip with other company but was sold out when we got to the pier. So we said let’s give a shot to this architectural trip. I remember I told my sister, we just don’t listen to whoever is giving the tour and we just enjoy the view. Thinking was going to be boring and flat. But I’m the contrary this tour has been incredible! Didn’t want it to finish and I’ve learn so so many things. Please do it! I recommend the sunset one because you see beautiful colors and it’s not too hot if you go in summer time. Ask for Jim!
    Written June 6, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Brittany
    Zeeland, MI6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We live 3 hours away and the night before we were leaving for Chicago, the event we were going to was cancelled. I frantically started googling things to do and this was the only boat tour that had tickets left. We aren't necessarily interested in architecture, but thought we'd get some cool pictures. We ended up really enjoying this tour, even the architectural information along with it. We had a great guide (never caught his name!) that was entertaining and spoke clearly and loud enough that you could hear him wherever you were on the boat. The tour ended up getting fully booked and it seemed to be about 50% full, so plenty of room to spread out. We appreciated the fact that there were bathroom on board.

    Overall, highly recommend!
    Written April 8, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Robert L
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Jun 2022
    Heard many great things about the architecture tour and decided to be a tourist for a day even though I have lived in IL all my life. Antonio brought the architecture to life and was very animated when discussing the story of the Chicago fire. The weather was perfect for a 10 am tour and would definitely recommend it for tourists and people from IL who have never experienced the tour before.
    Written June 6, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Billy
    Dayton, OH1 contribution
    1.0 of 5 bubbles
    Jun 2022
    We arrived for our 11:15a tour and boarded the boat about 10 minutes early. About 5 minutes before the tour was to start, we were notified that the guide was stuck in traffic and the tour would not be able to continue.

    We were offered to take the 11:45a tour or receive a refund. The 11:45a tour did not work for us, so we elected for a refund. The staff on the boat were very apologetic. When we arrived at the ticket office, the representative was rude and dismissive regarding the refund. They refunded an amount smaller than what we originally paid. A manager offered the difference in cash, but they did not have cash available and would need to go to an ATM to get money to refund us. The staff in the office had a poor attitude and lack of customer service. We still were not refunded the full amount that we paid, but gave up in the interest of time.

    Ultimately the time it took for the trip to be cancelled, and for us to receive a partial refund prevented us from finding another tour with another provider that would work for us. I will choose a different company in the future.
    Written June 3, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hi bzoel - Can you send your booking reference number to info@shorelinesightseeing.com so I can look into your situation?
    Written June 6, 2022
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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