Tours and Tickets
Chicago Architectural River Cruise
4.5

Chicago Architectural River Cruise

By Chicago Line Cruises
Recommended by 93% of travelers
93% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
See Chicago's architecture from the best possible vantage point―a boat on the Chicago River―during this architecture-focused tour through the city's heart. Listen to your guide's in-depth commentary as you pass more than 50 significant sites, from Lake Point Tower to Navy Pier. Some onboard refreshments are included, with wine and beer available for purchase.
from
$50.00
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 100 per group
Duration: 1h 30m
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Live guide: English
More

Highlights
  • Take in Chicago's architecture from the vantage point of the Chicago River
  • Cruise includes in-depth commentary on architectural history
  • See more than 50 buildings during the cruise—much faster than if on foot
  • Refreshments and cookies are included; wine and beer can be purchased
  • Multiple departure times to fit your schedule

  • Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Coffee. Lemonade. Coke products.
  • Live commentary on board
What's not included
  • Beer, wine, and cocktails (available for purchase)

Make your way to the Lofts at River East on Ogden Slip in time to meet your departing architecture tour. Step on board and find a comfortable seat as the boat sets out for a cruise on the north, south, and main branches of the Chicago River. As you travel, listen to your guide's commentary, which sheds light on the city's rich architectural history. You can also enjoy included refreshments of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and cookies. Beer and wine are available for purchase. This tour showcases more than 50 important buildings in just a short time, which would take much longer if attempting to view by foot. Highlights include the John Hancock Building, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Marina City, Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building, and NBC Tower. Return to your departure point at the conclusion of your tour.

Start:
  • 465 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
    Address is 465 N. McClurg Court (on a hidden branch of the Chicago River called the "Ogden Slip") behind Pinstripes Cafe Please note we are not located at Navy Pier. There is street parking on Illinois. The ticket office is no more than 300 feet from the vessels.
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Wheelchair accessible
    • Stroller 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: 32280P1

    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Minimum drinking age is 21 years
    • Refunds will not be issued if tour/activity is missed due to late or non-arrival of cruise ship
    • Most travelers can participate
    • 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 100 travelers

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

    How much is Chicago Architectural River Cruise?
    Chicago Architectural River Cruise price starts from $50.00. Discover and book Chicago Architectural River Cruise on Tripadvisor
    What is the Chicago Architectural River Cruise cancellation policy?
    Chicago Architectural River Cruise cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Chicago Architectural River Cruise on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Chicago Architectural River Cruise?
    Chicago Architectural River Cruise is hosted by Chicago Line Cruises. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Chicago Line Cruises on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Chicago Architectural River Cruise on Tripadvisor
    How much time do I need for Chicago Architectural River Cruise?
    On average, this experience will take approximately 1h 30m. Discover and book Chicago Architectural River Cruise on Tripadvisor

    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: 32280P1

    Reserve your spot

    Similar experiences

    Itinerary
    • You'll start at
      465 N McClurg Ct
      465 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
      Address is 465 N. McClurg Court (on a hidden branch of the Chicago River called the "Ogden Slip") behind Pinstripes Cafe Please note we are not located at Navy Pier. There is street parking on Illinois. The ticket office is no more than 300 feet from the vessels.
      See address & details
    • Pass by
      Chicago
    • 1
      Chicago River
      Stop: 90 minutes
      On your Architectural Tour, you will learn how the Great Chicago Fire jumped a river and allowed for visionaries of structural steel and plate glass, such as John Wellborn Root, William Le Baron Jenney, Louis Sullivan (Wright’s mentor) and Daniel Burnham, in less than ten years, lift Chicago from the ashes of the fire to new heights. Chicago’s ascent continued into the 20th century with titanic figures such as Bertrand Goldberg, Fazlur Khan and Mies van der Rohe – (higher/taller) buildings, sleeker – and it has soared in the 21st century with audacious new steeples such as The Trump Tower and Aqua designed by Jeanne Gang, an internationally known artist of architectural design.
      Read more
    • You'll return to the starting point
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Chicago Line Cruises
      834
      Chicago, Illinois
      Joined in August 2007
    • jvd780
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Wonderful tour and staff!
      We had the best crew for this tour! Our guide was a home grown Chicagoan who shared history on so very much of Chicago's history as well as the architectural history. We came from Wisconsin and I had researched on Tripadvisor for the best tour as it was with my 12 year old granddaughter. After reading all of the selections I had it in my mind that the tour left at 2:30 however it left at 2. I was very upset and was out of line with those sweet people running the tours. They re-booked us on the 4 p,m, tour. They went above and beyond and I cannot thank them enough for being patient and kind to a cranky old lady who messed up. As for the tour itself, it was awesome! I highly recommend Chicago Line cruises.
      Written August 3, 2023
    • Hayat313
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      The Chicago Sea dog Architectural cruise
      Me and my husband 25 & 26 and child 6 Attended all the Chicago architectural cruises and by far our favorite one was the sea dog!! Our Captain Swag and his crew were amazing! Ted the bear was a great guide We had a blast ! We all got a cool splash cooled us off on that hot summer day , great way to end our long exhausting day in the city. My advice to you is try to have dinner after just in case you have a weak stomach it was a great ride you will get a little dizzy but over all it was a fun experience. We did book the Chicago experience as a package it was a great bundle cheap as well!! Highly recommend the sea dog it was the best of the best Will be hopping on again and definitely going back to ask for our same crew 🙏🏻💕
      Written August 27, 2021
    • I5344LPclares
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Seadog Yellow Mellow boat ride
      The Seadog boat ride with Eric was great! Thanks to Austin and the great captain (I forgot his name 😭), had a blast!
      Written August 11, 2021
    • ElTouristo61
      0 contributions
      4.0 of 5 bubbles
      A Unique and Relaxing Way to See Chicago’s Architecture.
      This roughly 90-minute tour aboard a Chicago Line’s boat provides a great introduction to the architecture and history of Chicago…home of the first skyscraper. Our guide was knowledgeable, at times funny, and passionate about her work. She was always quick to point out the architectural gems along the Chicago River while providing the building’s back-story and information on the building’s designer. A little pricey but well worth it. An unbeatable and unique view of Chicago’s skyline!
      Written October 3, 2020
    • Joseph P
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      cruise and drinks
      The late afternoon cruise I was on was excellent. The staff and the lady doing the talking were superb. The talk was interesting, yet not overly involved and hit the highlights of the building being described.
      Written October 9, 2019
    • chriskF8978AV
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Must do!
      Our guide was a walking encyclopedia of interesting and accurate facts of the history and architecture of Chicago. Fantastic! The views are spectacular and the buildings are beautiful to see from the boat. Cash bar if interested.
      Written September 1, 2019
    • Twinsmom99
      0 contributions
      4.0 of 5 bubbles
      Charity event aboard the Fort Dearborn
      We had amazing weather for our event which certainly was a plus! Nice, calm three hour river cruise for the event. We’d like to return to do an architectural cruise.
      Written August 25, 2019
    • Sabrina W
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Amazing tour
      We signed up for this cruise tour at the Essex Hotel. It was so much better than our expectations! The tour guide was so informative and entertaining! The cruise was extended for the fireworks which was beautiful. We would highly recommend this tour to learn Chicago history, view the city in comfort and enjoy the entertainment! You won't be disappointed!
      Written August 8, 2019
    • Michael W
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Great company
      Lots of fun and very interesting guide. I loved the trip and it was longer than other river boat cruises that I have been on. They took us up further on the river and it was most appreciated.
      Written August 6, 2019
    • ChiVol101
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Cruise on the Fort Dearborn / Outstanding
      We booked the Fort Dearborn for a cruise with friends and ended up with approximately 80 people on a Saturday night. We chose the 3 hour open bar option with premium service for Beer / Wine / Mixed Drinks. We also had a band that played on the upper deck. The experience was really outstanding and everyone had a great time. The staff was very friendly and service oriented. A Summer Saturday night on the river gives you views of the City from a totally different perspective. Highly, highly recommend.
      Written July 15, 2019
    • Naomi R
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Highlight of my brief tricot Chicago
      The docent for this tour had a wonderful narrative and terrific delivery. Her timing was perfect - no problem figuring out the building she was discussing. I learned a lot about the changes in architectural style and the technical innovations that allowed buildings to rise ever higher. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
      Written July 2, 2019
    • Macimag
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Excellent tour.
      A lovely young lady was our captain for this tour. She was greatly skilled. The tour docent was also excellent. A native Chicagoan, with a great love of his city, and was quite well versed. How he talked the entire 90 minutes and held my attention to every minute is a credit to his breadth of knowledge. This tour boarding area is tucked away north of the river, so don’t think it is under the bridge at Wacker and Michigan. It is a pleasant walk from most any place in the area of that intersection, though. Complimentary cookies, too, though I didn’t taste them.
      Written June 13, 2019
    • Leelab
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Chicago Day Trip!
      Really enjoyed the Cruise the tour guide was great and very knowledgeable. Great coffee and cookies!
      Written May 6, 2019
    • StacyInDC2012
      0 contributions
      4.0 of 5 bubbles
      So informative!
      This was my friends first time doing a Chicago architecture boat ride and my second. I still feel like I learned so much from the guide. The boat ride was nice and the views just incredible. I definitely recommend this as a great activity during a Chicago visit.
      Written April 11, 2019
    • dogdoc92
      0 contributions
      5.0 of 5 bubbles
      Informative and Enjoyable Architectural Tour
      Despite a very chilly late March day, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip along the Chicago River, learning a lot about the architectural styles, history and future of the Chicago skyline. Hot Starbucks coffee and the encyclopedic knowledge of Sean, who used no notes as he described many of the buildings that have been part pf Chicago's story. Highly recommend. We will come again on a warmer day next time to make for a less frozen and more engaged teen audience in our family.
      Written March 30, 2019
    See all 834 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

    4.5
    4.5 of 5 bubbles546 reviews
    Excellent
    417
    Very good
    95
    Average
    15
    Poor
    7
    Terrible
    12

    Pam K
    South Burlington, VT200 contributions
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    Sep 2019
    For an enjoyable architecture tour, you need three things: To be comfortable, to learn about architecture and to feel you got your money's worth. They failed on all three points.

    1. To be comfortable: So this is Chicago and we are tourists. The weather is up and down so who knows how to dress? It ended up being a cold and post-rain/rainy night. I was worried about the cold, but thought surely they had planned for that. Nope. Not only were the seats all wet with no way to dry them but there were no blankets or heaters or anything to make it more enjoyable. So we opted to go downstairs where it would be less cold, but then you get the full magic of the architecture. And we were still cold.

    2. To learn about Architecture. This was my second architecture tour. The first one taught us about the architecture and used the buildings as examples. We learned about the progression of the styles and to tell one style from another. On this tour, there was a little bit of Chicago history but otherwise it was just point to a building and say who built it. Then point to the next so quickly you barely figured out which building she was talking about. I think she was cold too and just wanted to get it over with.

    3. To be worth the money: We specifically booked this tour company because they talked about a cocktail cruise which sounded like a fun way to do the sunset tour. The cocktail package was $20 a person (over the boat price) so I expected great things. They did not deliver. Cocktails to them was a small assortment of beer, wine, crappy margarita mix or Baileys. We didn't even drink $10 worth of drinks between the two of us.

    Save yourself the wasted money and time and go somewhere else instead.
    Written February 16, 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.

    Trish W
    Port Saint Joe, FL147 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Aug 2022
    Jack, our cruise director and local historian, was so knowledgable. We enjoyed hearing the history of the buildings that surrounded us and learning how the buildings compliment one another in their architecture, style and height. It's pretty crazy how the skyscrapers are built to withstand the high winds of the Stink Weed City.
    Written August 20, 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.

    monique
    Beverly Shores, IN5 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Chicago Architectural Center sponsors this tour. Guides are all 100% volunteers who create their own script from hours and hours of studying the vast amount of information on the Chicago scene. Their scripts are reviewed by a panel of professional architects and well practiced before they actually lead a tour. All are packed with facts and interesting twists to Chicago Architecture . This is my number one to- do with visitors and each of my 10 plus cruises have been equally rewarding!
    Written April 22, 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.

    Von1287
    Albany, NY763 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Sep 2022
    Phil Rosenthal did not disappoint here. We loved this cruise! The guide is super knowledgeable and made it fun. It was cool to see the city by water and learn so many random facts about the city and the buildings. There truly is a lot of interesting architectural feats here! This should be the number one tour in Chicago for sure, if you do one thing, do this!
    Written February 3, 2023
    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.

    SandyraeM
    37 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Jul 2020 • Couples
    the cruise was narrated beautifully. You could tell the guide loved chicago and art/architecture. He was also funny and provided many little known quite interesting facts
    Also were pleased with the social distancing
    We were only ones on our bench and all were 6 to 10 feet away. With many benches marked as closed. All wore masks. Felt safe
    Written July 25, 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.

    Patricia D
    Amherst, MA1,897 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We planned this ahead and didn’t want to miss it, even in the rain!
    Our docent was so knowledgeable about the history of each building. The staff were welcoming and friendly! They had food, drinks, rain ponchos and blankets that could be purchased. We sat up front on the first deck on the wooden benches where the life jackets are stored. Great seats as the speaker was just above us, so we could hear perfect!
    Wonderful tour! You can’t appreciate the beauty and ingenuity of the buildings-unless on the water and have a great docent!
    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.

    Richard F
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Impressive and up close experience of skyscrapers along the Chicago river. Extremely knowledgeable docent from the architectural institute. Detailed history of the settlement and development of buildings and unique characteristics of fabulous skyscrapers.
    Written October 20, 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.

    Mary Jane E
    33 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Apr 2022 • Friends
    We highly recommend the Chicago Architectual Center tour of the Chicago River. Our guide was fabulous and she gave us so much history of the city and info about the architecture.
    We took this cruise on the day we arrived in Chicago and it was a great way to get oriented and get good insights for our time in Chicago.
    This cruise is a Must Do!
    Written May 2, 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.

    SarahBNiles
    Niles, MI174 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I have wanted to do this tour for years and it was better than I had hoped! The views were stunning and we learned tons about the buildings. Mark was fantastic and kept everyone entertained while teaching us about the architecture and history of the city. I highly recommend this tour!
    Written July 25, 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.

    scelestini83
    Clinton Township, MI65 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great experience! The guide was well spoken and knowledgeable. It was a very interesting tour. We also bought out tickets for the wrong date in error and they were able to accommodate us. Very pleased! Would highly recommend!
    Written July 30, 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.

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