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Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain: Our most recommended tours and activities

Chicago Lakefront: Seadog Speedboat Ride

1. Chicago Lakefront: Seadog Speedboat Ride

This half-hour Seadog Speedboat ride along Chicago’s lakefront is one of the best ways to view the city’s skyline while learning about the city. Combine an exciting speedboat ride with informative and amusing stories about the world-famous Windy City. As you depart Chicago's Navy Pier, your captain will tell you interesting facts about the pier and the lakefront as he cranks up the music and races to key lakefront landmarks. Stop near the picturesque lakefront park of the Chicago Museum campus, where you’ll learn about the architecture and history of Chicago. Admire views of the Magnificent Mile neighborhood, including the Buckingham Fountain, Sears Tower, Grant Park, and Chicago's largest shopping district. Listen to the thrilling sound of the turbo engines as you race around the Lake Michigan waterfront and back to the Navy Pier. Upgrade to the Extreme Thrill Ride Option and experience exhilarating speeds and full 360° spins. This jet-propelled ride blasts off to start and splashes down to stop. Experience full-throttle slalom runs, sharp twists and turns, and the raw power of Seadog Extreme's 1400 HP engines.

Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

2. Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

Relax as you glide over the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan on this cruise. Enjoy the glow of the sunset on Chicago's sparkling skyline. Have the option to purchase delectable drinks and snacks at the onboard bar as you sail. Start your sunset cruise on the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue. Make your way along the main branch of the river towards Lake Michigan before entering the Chicago Locks, a modern engineering marvel, that will transfer the vessel onto the great Lake Michigan. The vessel will cruise along Lake Michigan as the sun sets behind the wonderful skyline offering several amazing views. Your local tour guide will give a very brief commentary along the Chicago River and entrance to Lake Michigan, but most of the 1.5-hour cruise is spent without narration, leaving you to watch the sun put on a beautiful display with the City skyline. Admire the many angles of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. Capture magical views of Chicago's 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. During your cruise, treat yourself at the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products. Try local beer and spirits and Garrett’s Popcorn. Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. 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.

Chicago: 75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

3. Chicago: 75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

Climb aboard a speedboat for a thrilling river and lake cruise around some of Chicago’s architectural gems. Gain insights into the city's most famous landmarks from your guide. Admire sights like Willis Tower, Tribune Tower, and Buckingham Fountain. Depart from the former Navy training center of Navy Pier on the shores of Lake Michigan on a tour along the lakefront. Sail through the locks and along the Chicago River all the way to the second tallest building in the USA, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Get up close to Chicago’s most iconic buildings and unique architecture, and enjoy amazing views and an entertaining narration as part of the exciting ride. Learn the fascinating history of structures like the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Cruise the lakefront of Lake Michigan to see monuments and attractions such as Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago Harbor, and the Chicago Museum Campus.

Chicago: Family Fun Urban Adventure River and Lake Cruise

4. Chicago: Family Fun Urban Adventure River and Lake Cruise

Discover Chicago’s stunning skyscrapers, historic buildings, and modern marvels on this fun, family friendly boat cruise. Relax and unwind as you admire scenic views from the Chicago River and the Chicago Harbor Lock. Then move out onto Lake Michigan where you can gaze upon the entire city skyline and shoreline. During the boat ride, enjoy lively narration and stories about Chicago’s rich history as your knowledgeable guides point out the many sights of the city including Willis Tower, Aon Center, John Hancock Building, Museum Campus, Marina City, Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Building, Navy Pier, the Lighthouse and more. The tour also gives you the opportunity to experience passing through the Chicago River Lock System. Listen to your guide explain the full workings of the lock and feel the boat rise as you enter Lake Michigan, and then lower again when returning to the Chicago River.

Chicago: 90-Minute River and Lakefront Cruise at Night

5. Chicago: 90-Minute River and Lakefront Cruise at Night

Experience the magic of Chicago at nighttime and watch the city's glorious skyscrapers, historic buildings and modern marvels come to life with millions of twinkling lights. Relax and unwind at the end of the day on a cruise which not only lets you enjoy the scenic Chicago River, but also takes you through the Chicago Harbor Lock and out onto Lake Michigan where you can admire epic views of the sparkling Chicago skyline and shoreline. Throughout the ride, listen to lively narration about Chicago's rich history as the onboard guides point out the many sights of the city including Buckingham Fountain, Willis Tower, Aon Center, John Hancock Building, Museum Campus, Marina City, Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune Building, Navy Pier, the Lighthouse and more. This tour also gives you the unique experience of passing through the Chicago River Lock System, while learning about the operation and the uses of the lock from your guide. You’ll also feel the boat rise as you enter Lake Michigan and lower as you return to the river, a unique experience for any boat lover.

Amazing Lakefront Segway Tour of Chicago

6. Amazing Lakefront Segway Tour of Chicago

Glide around the streets and parks of Chicago on a leisurely guided Segway tour. Perfect for Chicago newbies and veterans alike, the tour uncovers quirky facts about one of America’s most energetic destinations. Begin with a training session to become familiar with the unique self-balancing Segways, before exploring the Windy City in a fun and futuristic fashion. Start your Segway experience at Millennium Park and continue to Grant Park to stop and admire the famous Buckingham Fountain Ride to Museum Campus to soak up spectacular views of the Chicago skyline and beautiful lakefront. Capture pictures to share of the expansive views of the sea-like Lake Michigan. Return to your meeting point at the end of your tour.

Chicago: Night Tour with Willis Tower Entry & Skyline Cruise

7. Chicago: Night Tour with Willis Tower Entry & Skyline Cruise

Immerse yourself in Chicago’s distinct skyline with bold skyscrapers and incredible views of Lake Michigan illuminated at night on this city tour. Enjoy convenient hotel pickup and drop-off, skip-the-ticket-line entry to Willis Tower, and a scenic Chicago skyline cruise. After getting picked up from your Downtown Chicago hotel, hop in your air-conditioned Mercedes Metris vans and travel to your first stop, Willis Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Take the elevator all the way up to the 103rd floor of the tower, where you can enjoy 360-degree views spanning 50 miles and 4 states. Get your adrenaline pumping at The Ledge – a glass balcony extending 4.3 feet outside the building which provides a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Once your feet are back on solid ground, take to the water for a skyline cruise to see the beauty of Chicago's world-famous skyscrapers lit up by the moonlight and bustling city lights. Enjoy a narrated boat tour passing by over 40 Chicago iconic landmarks. End the night by immersing your senses in a spectacular light and music display at Buckingham Fountain – one of the largest fountains in the world. You will also get to see the infamous Chicago Bean (also known as Cloud Gate), Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work installed in the United States. At the end of your tour, your guide will take you back to your downtown Chicago hotel.

Chicago: Beautiful Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour

8. Chicago: Beautiful Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour

Segways are amazingly fun and there is no better way to tour a world-class city like Chicago than on your own personal set of wheels--a Segway! Our eight-mile Lakefront Chicago Segway tour lets you learn about and view and many Chicago's attractions in a highly unique way. As you glide effortlessly and enjoy the lakefront, you can learn the history of our city from your friendly and professional tour guide. Immerse yourself in the area's countless attractions, gorgeous parks and gardens, and stunning photo opportunities. See sights like Grant Park, the BP Bridge, the Bean, and the Buckingham Fountain, as well as generous views of Lake Michigan and the majestic skyline. Segways are safe to use, easy to learn, and fun to ride. We offer a thorough training session from our certified guides before we begin the tour.

Chicago: City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

9. Chicago: City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

Start with pickup from your downtown Chicago hotel. Board your climate-controlled minibus and embark on your guided sightseeing tour. Begin in the heart of downtown Chicago, at The Loop. Here you'll see incredible architecture, including the world's first skyscrapers. You'll even go inside one that features a beautiful lobby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The stop also includes views of The Chicago Board of Trade and the Willis (Sears) Tower. After The Loop, head through Grant Park, which is known as the city's front yard. The centerpiece of the park is the Buckingham Fountain. Museum Campus is up next, with three museums, Soldier Field, and the most spectacular skyline views in the city. After a ten minute photo stop, travel around Millennium Park, featuring The Bean, before heading up north along Wacker Drive, which parallels the Chicago River. Arrive in the fancy Gold Coast nightlife area and residential neighborhood - one particularly interesting sight here is the original Playboy Mansion. Then you'll take a trip through part of Lincoln Park, and end the tour by zipping along Lake Shore Drive, past beaches, and old mansions, before being dropped off at your hotel. For those wanting the ultimate Chicago experience, add on the option of the world-famous architecture cruise of Chicago. After your minibus tour and a short break, climb aboard a state-of-the-art cruise vessel for a 75-minute cruise of all three branches of the Chicago River. Marvel at the architecture that has made the city so legendary. Gain insights into the buildings and engineering of a city that gave birth to the skyscraper and is the spiritual home of modern American architecture. An expert guide will lead you down the Chicago River to uncover hidden gems, as well the city’s most renowned landmarks, such as the John Hancock building and more.  

2 Hour Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago

10. 2 Hour Pier Fireworks and Evening Segway Tour in Chicago

A summer trip to Chicago would not be complete without an evening of viewing the fireworks at Navy Pier. Marvel at this firework display and the glistening lights festival of Buckingham Fountain. Enjoy views of Millennium Park illuminated against the dark of atmospheric Lake Michigan lit only by moonlight. Sightseeing in Chicago by segway is a fun and easy way to see the city. After we complete our segway training, your talented tour guide will escort you to view Buckingham Fountain’s evening light show. The soaring towers of water dancing to the music against a plethora of colored lights will not fail to impress. Remember to bring your camera! Enjoy the cool summer breeze of Lake Michigan as you glide on your segway through the fragrant rose gardens to our secret location for an evening of suspense as fireworks light up the sky over Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. We glide around the outskirts of Millennium Park to view the Crown Fountain with its many changing photos. As the tour draws to a close you can relax in the knowledge you have witnessed Chicago’s famous summer fireworks and seen the sights!

Other Sightseeing Options in Buckingham Fountain

Want to discover all there is to do in Buckingham Fountain? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Buckingham Fountain

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,283 reviews

Everything moved along swiftly, but wasn’t rushed. All of the ticketing was handled by the guides, so it was super-easy. They managed to keep us on schedule and got us to and from the different points of interest while making sure we were informed about the history of things along the way. Recommended!

Sarah our guide was excellent, so funny and gave tons of information about the buildings and the city. We had a great time. Also all the staff before we got in boat and in the boat were great.

Very nice the speaker was awesome I'll take the boat tour again.

so much magnificent history and great storyteller for the ride!

Not overcrowded Nice personal experience Informative