Water activity

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Activity provider: Wendella Tours & Cruises
Likely to sell out
Likely to sell out

From US$ 42 per person

Experience Chicago’s legendary architecture from the best seat in the house: the river. Enjoy a comprehensive tour with a live fun guide as you navigate through the heart of the city covering all 3 branches of the Chicago River.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Reserve now & pay later
Reserve now & pay later to book your spot without any charges today. Learn more
Duration 1.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
Live tour guide


  • Pre-purchase your ticket to skip the ticket line and guarantee your place on this popular cruise
  • Experience the architectural river tour which started it all – back in 1935
  • Enjoy year-long cruising with a choice of outside deck-top or indoor climate-controlled seating
  • Learn from expert tour guides the importance of Chicago’s architecture and how it has developed over the years
  • Enjoy true Chicago hospitality with locally sourced food and drinks available at a full service cash bar
Full description

Experience more of Chicago by boat than on any other architectural cruise. See architectural highlights and enjoy an open-air deck or climate-controlled interior as you travel the main River and its north and south branches.

View all of Chicago's architectural highlights during this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Be entertained by the expert and friendly tour guides as they explain the 130 year-long history behind the skyline, while bartenders and staff keep you comfortable with refreshments.  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 past Wolf Point.

It then cruises along the north and south branches of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. On the way, 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.

Don't miss the circular Marina City Towers, the majestic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and the tallest building in Chicago) the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower. During your cruise, have the opportunity to enjoy a full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn.

Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

  • 1.5-hour cruise
  • Boat trip along the main, north, south river
  • Access to open deck
  • Access to climate-conditioned interior deck
  • Local expert tour guide
  • Beverages and snacks (available for purchase onboard)
  • Gratuities
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Present your timed ticket to a uniformed employee. They will be standing at the top of the stairs at the northwest corner of the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge at the foot of the Wrigley Building. The employee will guide you to the correct dock for your cruise time.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Sun hat

Not allowed

  • Pets (assistance dogs allowed)
  • Weapons or sharp objects
  • Alcohol and drugs

Know before you go

  • Children under 4 years of age are free
  • Seats on the decks are chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Vessels include restrooms with diaper changing tables, cash bar, and climate control
  • Passengers can bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and food
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 1077 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money

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Star rating:

The tour was absolutely delightful! The spoke tour guy was knowledgeable and was entertaining. The boat was big for the number of guests. Need additional bar tender, for sure. The morning was so hot and windy (6/16/22 10:45 tour) I got overheated & dehydrated. My own fault. We were walking in the heat over 2 miles going the wrong direction trying to find the boat meeting place. Almost passed out (embarrassing!) the captain was so kind. He gave me Gatorade and allowed me to cool down by the AC. Thanks to a stranger kind lady puts cold water around my neck, thank YOU! That was so helpful. I was so grateful!

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June 19, 2022

It was a great tour. Excellent views and lots of time for photos. We went through the city and through the lake and everything was fantastic. The only thing I would fix it the length of the boat ride. It was supposed to be 90 minutes but took almost 3 hours. The snacks were a bit lousy the main point of the whole tour was perfect.

June 18, 2022

Very interesting trip on the river in spite of the rain. The Guide was very good and the buildings were wonderful to see. I fell going up the staircase and think perhaps a guide should be present at the top and the bottom. I did receive help from a vey nice young African American young man who continued to help until we got to the elevator.

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May 26, 2022

Product ID: 290485