Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Chicago, USA

From $53.70

Select Date and Travelers

up to 24 hours before the experience starts (local time)

  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


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 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).
  • Discover all three branches of the Chicago River with your guide
  • Enjoy the best vantage point to admire Chicago's skyline and architecture
  • See more than 40 buildings, like the Wrigley Building and Willis Tower
  • Discover the events that shaped 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.

What's Included

  • Guided architecture cruise of the historic Chicago River
  • Live expert commentary on board
  • Restroom on board
  • Pet-friendly
  • Drinks (available for purchase)
  • WiFi on board

Meeting and Pickup

Meeting points

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End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue (depending on option chosen) for your cruise departure. Board your riverboat 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 John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), the Wrigley Building, and more. 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.

Chicago River

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Chicago Skyline (Pass By)

Navy Pier (Pass By)

Tribune Tower (Pass By)

John Hancock Center (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • 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 tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
It was all delightful! Tour guide was great! The views were beautiful! Drinks were nice! I would highly recommend!


12,308 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 12,308 reviews
Daniel_W, Apr 2024
Beautiful day to be on the river. Great staff helped make the trip, especially our guide, Mike. Very fun and informative. Learned a lot about the great city of Chicago.
Great experience
Ella_K, Apr 2024
Love the stories about the buildings and bridges. The staff allowed me to change the ticket time last minute and waited a couple of min for me to get on. Really appreciate this act of kindness
Our guide was very...
Maria_R, Apr 2024
Our guide was very informative and funny! History of Chicago was interesting. Had hot chocolate on a cool spring day too.
11 out of 10
Justyn_S, Apr 2024
Our tour guide Kevin did a great job explaining what buildings were what as well as some good stories about the area. Learned a lot about the buildings, the city and got to hear Kevin sing. The tour on the river gave great views of the skyscrapers and bridges. Towards the end of the tour I was able to get a great view of the skyline.
Don’t miss it
Ricardo_A, Apr 2024
If you only do one tour in Chicago, make it this one! Great tour and explanation of the history of the city and all the beautiful buildings and architecture.
Must see during a visit to Chi-town
Michelle_M, Apr 2024
Sadie did a great job telling us the history of Chicago. She is knowledgeable and funny. Tour has everything you need - bar, restroom and great views.
Awesome tour!
Denice_L, Apr 2024
Our tour guide (Brooke?) was fantastic! She was engaging, interesting, and fun. I loved her energy and also the information she shared. I learned a lot about Chicago's history and architecture and enjoyed the beautiful views. I especially loved how our guide ended the tour. She talked about Chicago's story as a story of hope and strength. I left feeling uplifted. I highly recommend this tour!
Excellent tour
janislnew, Apr 2024
Excellent way to see alot of the skyline in a short time, relaxing on this vessel with a knowledgeable guide
"Attending the Chicago Architecture River Cruise was an absolute delight!
Ruriko_Y, Apr 2024
The live commentary provided fascinating insights into the city's rich architectural history, making the journey both informative and captivating. The views of the iconic skyline from the river were breathtaking, and every turn revealed new architectural wonders to admire. I highly recommend the Chicago Architecture River Cruise to anyone visiting the city. It's a must-do experience that showcases the beauty and grandeur of Chicago's skyline like no other. Five stars all the way!" 🏙️✨
Definitely worth your time
Shirley_M, Apr 2024
Highly recommend if you’re visiting Chicago. Learned a lot about the city, the tour guide was funny and entertaining. Great tour
The ride was nice and...
Alyncia_B, Apr 2024
The ride was nice and smooth. The moderator did a great job sharing the views. In spite of the rain, it was a great way to spend my down time.
A must-do while in Chicago
SC_W, Apr 2024
Jim is fantastic, very knowledgeable and telling great story. This trip shows you why Chicago is the most beautiful city in the US.
Learned so much about...
Carol_G, Apr 2024
Learned so much about Chicago as well the beautiful architecture. Would recommend to everyone Great vale for the money
Perfect First Day in Chicago!
Steve_E, Apr 2024
We were fortunate to have amazing weather for our cruise! The boat was very comfortable, with bathrooms and a small bar. Our guide was not only fun and informative, but quite the character! Overall a great start to our first trip to Chicago. Highly recommend. A must do!
Worthwhile River Tour
John_F, Apr 2024
Overall great time. Very informative with interesting insights. I want to finish this survey, you need to address this issue of not letting me submit.
Chicago boat tour
Max_S, Apr 2024
As a first time visitor to the Onion city - I’d like to thank our tour leader Brook who went above and beyond with her duties. Her positivity radiated and made the cruise very enjoyable.
Beautiful Views!
Latisha_V, Apr 2024
Great tour and knowledgeable entertaining guide! Nice way to see different areas of Chicago and learn some history while relaxing on a boat.
Chicago must do
Bruce_S, Apr 2024
Great tour. Fun, informative and a beautiful day. Probably my 4th time and I’ve loved them all. A must when visiting Chicago.
Roohani_W, Apr 2024
Anthony our guide was great! We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Chicago.
Worth your time
Tracey_S, Apr 2024
We took this tour on Saturday morning: we had beautiful blue skies and a light cool breeze. Stephanie was the best tour guide: informative, fun with a good sense of humor. I’m still wondering where Al Capone lived🤔😊😉

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