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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Chicago, United States

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up to 24 hours in advance
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icon1 hour  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 1 more


Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like the Aon Center, the Wrigley Building and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
  • Architecture cruise down the historic Chicago River
  • Discover all three branches of the Chicago River with your guide, an expert in architecture
  • Enjoy the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline and admire world-famous architecture
  • See more than 40 buildings including the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building and the Aon Center
  • Discover the major events that helped shape the architectural history of Chicago

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

This ultra-flexible, cruise runs more than 20 times daily from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.
Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue for your cruise departure. Board your river boat and find a comfortable seat; a restroom and sometimes a full bar are available on the boat. Listen as your guide, an architecture expert, gives you an introduction to the city's landmarks. 

Along the scenic route, see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. A boat on the river is the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline.

Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings, including the the Aon Center, the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) the Wrigley Building and the IBM Building. Listen as your guide recounts the two major events that helped shape the architectural history of the city. Learn about how the invention of balloon-frame construction revolutionized how homes were built, and hear the dramatic story of Chicago's rise from the Great Fire of 1871. Both of these milestones led Chicago to become one of the cradles of modern American architecture.

Your cruise ends at its starting point.

Traveler Photos


4,084 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Interesting and worthwhile
Nick A
, Nov 2019
I took my two daughters on the river cruise and found it to be enjoyable, interesting and fully engaged in The beautiful landscape of Chicago's Riverfront. The girls, 11 and 19 both enjoyed the cruise and were able to take excellent pictures and learn some interesting facts about the area. I recommend it to Future visitors.
BAD Directions
, Nov 2019
I was unable to find the right dock where cruise was scheduled to depart. I was directed to 4 different Chicago Architecture River Cruise sites. By the time I made it to the correct one my cruise had already left. BETTER directions would have been helpful. I was unaware that there are MULTIPLE cruises with the same name. I LOST MY MONEY because there were not clear directions. From the shore it looked like it would have been a beautiful cruise.
Chicago River
, Nov 2019
On a nice day a boat ride on the river is relaxing, the Architecture tour will give you interesting information about all the beautiful buildings in Chicago.
Great activity for tourists and residents
, Nov 2019
We really enjoyed this tour and was a great activity with family visiting from out of town. Great way to learn more about our new city.
Great way to learn about Chicago!
, Oct 2019
My wife and enjoyed the tour. Our docent, Viviana, conducted the tour in a manner that was both educational and entertaining.
, Oct 2019
Great experience; informative; crew is friendly. And the boat is very clean. We enjoyed beautiful sights of river and buildings. The guide is knowledgeable abut history events of the city
An Excellent Way to See Chicago
, Oct 2019
This is an excellent, informative tour. Sam was a great guide. Very knowledgeable and engaging. We all came away understanding the city's history better and also understanding what is happening to change the skyline.
Had a great time and learned a lot
Paul M
, Oct 2019
Great way to see the city. Sam was very informative and funny. Had a beautiful sunny day for it. My family loved it.
Fascinating cruise
, Oct 2019
We really enjoyed our cruise to see the Chicago architecture. It was greatly enhanced by our guide who clearly knew about structural engineering and could explain why many of the tall buildings don't fall down in high winds (in the windy city). Loved it - and the boat we traveled on had a bar and a friendly and professional crew. We highly recommend this trip.
Best way to learn about the city!
, Oct 2019
What a great way to learn about the architecture as well as the heart of the city. My 11 year olds loved it as much as I did.

Product code: 5580ARC

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