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Chicago Architecture Foundation

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Address: 224 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604-2505
Phone Number: +1 312-922-3432
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Open now
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Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

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 1,810 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1449
  • 205
    Very good
  • 24
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  • 9
A Treasure

CAF has 80+ tours of the incredible architecture in Chicago. The docents are volunteers and are excellent - you can do the same tour with a different docent and learn something... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
John W
West Linn, Oregon
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1,810 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,700: English reviews
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

For 90 minutes you will learn everything you have wanted to know about downtown Chicago and the buildings!The river cruise on a tourist boat with a very educated speaker. From the early days to the fire to today you will be refreshed with the knowledge that will be given to you. Don't miss this. Rain or shine!

Thank wkell
West Linn, Oregon
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

CAF has 80+ tours of the incredible architecture in Chicago. The docents are volunteers and are excellent - you can do the same tour with a different docent and learn something new. The annual open house in October provides a free opportunity to visit 100+ buildings which you'd otherwise not have an opportunity to see. Chicagoans are rightly proud of... More 

Thank John W
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Amazing volunteer guides and unique water views of Chicago -- this boat ride is a great, only-in-Chicago experience.

Thank Kathleen C
Waunakee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
152 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is not just a boat ride in the Chicago river. It is a guided tour of the the history of the the buildings along the river and there are lots of them. This is a zoo in the summer with thousands, of people all doing these tours. There are many boats on the river at once, all with crowds... More 

1 Thank LorenD1
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

This boat tour is the best way to see Chicago's skyline and its wonderful architecture. The tour guide was quite knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour. He kept it interesting for everyone on board for the 75 minute tour. I would definitely recommend this tour. It is well worth it, very informative and it provides you with a... More 

1 Thank bianca_pb2014
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

What a great experience!! Our guide was amazing! We loved this tour! It is well worth your money. I would do it again.

Thank katherine a
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

We did the neighborhood bus tour and the architecture river cruise. We learnt a lot from both. The docents are very knowledgeable and humorous. The river cruise in particular is a great way to see the city and learn about the history and design of the surrounding buildings. Our docent on the cruise Harry Hirsch was excellent.

1 Thank Kathryn G
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
113 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We heard this was a great tour of Chicago and it was....have been to Chicago dozens of times over the years, but just recently found out about this. We had a great weather day and a great tour guide and even some adult drinks on board. Learn a lot about the buildings and history of Chicago. This is a must... More 

1 Thank LORI H
Hockessin, Delaware
Level Contributor
51 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

The CAF boat tour was suggested to us prior to our visit as the best boat tour of the city. They were correct our docent was fabulous and we learned alot about Chicago and building styles in general. Lots of interesting buildings from art deco to post modern. Including a newer very tall building with a certain developers name on... More 

Thank Eric B
Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

My experience was excellent! Can't say enough about the quality of our docent (Lance Friedman). Lance talked the entire time, and he taught us Chicago history as well as the architecture. Very impressed, a don't miss tour! The boat was great, and each tourist had a seat on top, so viewing was unobstructed.

Thank Michele W
ChiArchitecture, Marketing Coordinator at Chicago Architecture Foundation, responded to this review

Hi Michele, Thanks very much for your review as well as for joining us! We'll be passing your kind comments along to Lance. More 

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  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
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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.