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Chicago Architecture Foundation

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60604
Phone Number: +1 312-922-3432
Website
Today
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Description:

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit cultural...

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit cultural organization with tours, exhibitions, programs and events for all ages. Visit CAF on Michigan Avenue to view our 1,000-building scale model of Chicago, shop in our award-winning store, or participate in a fun LEGO® building event in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio. Choose from 85 tours by boat, walking, bus, or even L train, including the CAF River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises. Tours depart daily and are led by CAF's expert docent guides. Every October, check out CAF's free annual Open House Chicago festival. Proceeds from CAF’s tours and gift shop, as well as grants, sponsorships and donations, support this educational mission.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,726 reviews
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Boat Tour

Beautiful views, lots of room to sit, friendly/helpful staff (it rained right before our trip and the staff dried all of the benches by hand for passengers), AMAZING docent... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Heather L
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1,726 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,622: English reviews
new jersey
Level Contributor
66 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

The boat cruise was a very enjoyable experience. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and made our cruise fun. The boat was older and the outside seats left a lot to be desired but it was an pleasant and informative trip.

Helpful?
Thank rhonda512
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

Beautiful views, lots of room to sit, friendly/helpful staff (it rained right before our trip and the staff dried all of the benches by hand for passengers), AMAZING docent (Heather)!

Helpful?
Thank Heather L
Level Contributor
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

I took this tour this week with two of my friends. We loved it. A wonderful mix of architectural information with a bit of local history. By the end of the tour we could all identify the basics of style and era of the buildings. Our guide was well spoken and knowledgable. A wonderful way to view the skyline.

Helpful?
Thank Amber L
Illinois
Level Contributor
141 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Really interesting tour of nearby Chicago neighborhoods including LIttle Italy, Chinatown, Pilsen, etc. DISCLAIMER: my cousin was the tour guide, and she is excellent, but all tour guides are trained and vetted by CAFoundation- so each tour will be similar- travel in a double decker bus and see a lot of the city you wouldn't normally see- I live in... More 

Helpful?
Thank starsky18
ChiArchitecture, Marketing Coordinator at Chicago Architecture Foundation, responded to this review

Thanks so much for joining us on a tour and reviewing your experience! And also a tremendous thanks to your cousin for her time and efforts! Our tours wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the generosity and expertise of our docents. Take care! More 

London
Level Contributor
203 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Seeing the architecture from the boat & having it explained by a local docent was an excellent experience. 90 minutes on the boat. Very interesting & informative. Thoroughly enjoyable

Helpful?
Thank NaomiBUK
Chicago
Level Contributor
21 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

The Chicago Architecture Foundation operates a 90 minute boat tour on the Chicago River that illuminates 130 years of architecture, design, and construction in Chicago, and it's about as enjoyable an educational experience as one could imagine. The Foundation docent speaks very knowledgeably about a broad variety of buildings - and the river & locks themselves - to illustrate the... More 

Helpful?
Thank Bruce D
Le Mont
Level Contributor
39 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is a very informative boat tour on the architectural sites in Chicago; better than you could ever do on foot. The tour guides are well informed, seek an excellent, slow englisch (good for foreigners). You can enjoy the tour on the deck of a nice ship and don't forget to bring your camera along

Helpful?
Thank FedorLeMont
Edmond, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

My daughter and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset tour. The tour guide, a Chicago native, provided plenty of information about the architectural history of the city. The music they played during boarding was fun and festive. The staff were polite and welcoming.

Helpful?
Thank Becky D
Melbourne, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Rebecca D was the Docent for the Chicago Architecture Foundstion's 90 minute river cruise tour. She was very knowledgeable about Chicago architecture. Her presentation was entertaining, organized and fluid. She was never lost for something interesting to say. Her love for history, architecture and Chicago was apparent.The ride on the river was really enjoyable, too. I felt very safe and... More 

Helpful?
Thank Janet G
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Fantastic boat tour! The boat was comfortable and had both a snack bar and restrooms. Everyone was kind and knowledgeable. Highly recommend!

Helpful?
Thank NatFaye063
ChiArchitecture, Marketing Coordinator at Chicago Architecture Foundation, responded to this review

Thanks very much for joining us and for writing a review! Your feedback is greatly appreciated. We hope to see you on one of our 85+ other tours sometime soon! More 

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Chicago Architecture Foundation and other visitors
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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?

Staying in Downtown / The Loop

Neighborhood Profile
Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.