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  3. Chicago
  4. Willis Tower

Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

Product ID: 293160
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Skip the ticket line for Chicago’s only architecture cruise on both Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. Learn about Chicago's internationally-known architecture from expert local guides as you discover the city from riverfront to shoreline.
About this activity
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Mobile ticketing
Duration: 90 minutes
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
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Live tour guide

Select participants and date:



  • Learn from expert tour guides about what makes Chicago's architecture so amazing
  • Choose between outside deck-top or indoor climate-controlled seating on world-class vessels
  • Journey through the legendary Chicago Lock, linking Lake Michigan with the Chicago River
  • Pre-purchase your ticket to skip the ticket line and guarantee your place on this often-sold-out tour
  • Enjoy a full service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn
Full description
Experience the architecture cruise that started it all — a Chicago family tradition since 1935. View Chicago’s historic and ever-changing skyline on Chicago's only architecture tour with views from both directly from the Chicago River, and those only possible from Lake Michigan. During this comprehensive sightseeing tour, all of Chicago's architecture highlights will be viewed, discussed, and experienced.

Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and goes up the main branch of the Chicago River to Wolf Point before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan.

On the way, you will learn about ornate, historic early skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the imposing art deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building, the circular Marina City Towers, the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower.

After passing through the Chicago Lock and cruising past Navy Pier, take the chance to admire the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world. Here you can also see the twin super-skyscrapers, the famous Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the John Hancock Building.

You'll also get to admire the majesty of Grant Park with its famous Buckingham Fountain, and iconic Chicago venues such as Soldier’s Field, Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. With amazing vantage points for perfect selfies and memorable pictures, this is the one thing everyone tells you to do in Chicago, done right.
  • 1.5-hour cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
  • Local expert tour guide
  • Choice of outdoor deck or interior, climate-controlled seating
What’s Not Included
  • Beverages and snacks (available for purchase onboard)
  • Gratuities

Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Present your timed ticket to a uniformed employee standing at the top of the stairs at the northwest corner of the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge; they will guide you to the correct dock for your cruise time.

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Important information
What to bring
  • Sun hat
  • Face mask or protective covering
Not allowed
  • Pets (assistance dogs allowed)
Know before you go
• Due to COVID-19 bar and concessions are temporarily closed – passengers can bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and food
• This tour lasts about 90 minutes, but can run slightly longer in high summer, when the Chicago lock is busy
• Vessels include restrooms with diaper changing tables, a cash bar, and climate control

From US$ 39 per person

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Organized by

Wendella Tours & Cruises

Product ID: 293160