Chicago
River & Harbor Cruises

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Our most recommended Chicago River & Harbor Cruises

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

1. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

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.

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Chicago River: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture Cruise

2. Chicago River: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture Cruise

Admire Chicago’s impressive architecture from a unique perspective aboard a 45-minute cruise sailing down the Chicago River, which features a full-service cash bar and live commentary tailored to entertain the whole family. Experience the best of the Chicago River from Lakeshore Drive to the Willis Tower, navigating along the South branch of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. Be entertained by the fun and experienced tour guides as they explain the history behind Chicago’s buildings along the river and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing skyline. Enjoy the most relaxing way to sightsee in Chicago- a perfect way to explore the city free of traffic noise and congestion. Make sure to visit the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits. Explore the open-air decks that allow you to feel the cooling river breeze and see the city from many vantage points that provide perfect photo opportunities.

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Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-the-Ticket-Office

3. Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-the-Ticket-Office

Skip the lines at the ticket office and climb aboard a state-of-the-art cruise for a 60- or 75-minute cruise of all 3 branches of the Chicago River, and marvel at the architecture that has made the city so legendary. Get an insight into the buildings and engineering of a city that gave birth to the skyscraper and is the spiritual home of modern American architecture. Your 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, Trump Tower, Marina City, Willis Tower, and more. Relax with a glass of something cold from the cash bar, as you cruise the Windy City’s waterway, and learn its status as a modern metropolis and one of the world’s most beautiful cities. End your tour in the same place where you boarded the boat.

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Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

4. Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

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.

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Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

5. Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

Experience an architecture cruise along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, a family tradition since 1935. Admire Chicago’s historic and ever-changing skyline with a local expert guide as you cruise through the city. Choose between the open-air decks or the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during the cruise. Start the cruise at Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and go up the main branch of the Chicago River to Wolf Point before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. Learn about historic skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building, the circular Marina City Towers, the AON Center, and modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the Vista Tower. After passing through the Chicago Lock and cruising past Navy Pier, admire the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. Here you can also see the twin super-skyscrapers, the famous Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, and the John Hancock Building. See 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. Enjoy several vantage points for memorable pictures throughout, and finally arrive back at Du Sable Bridge on Michigan Avenue.

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Chicago City Mini Bus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

6. Chicago City Mini Bus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

After your hotel pick-up from most downtown Chicago hotels, board your climate-controlled minibus with a small group of twelve people or less. Enjoy the sightseeing tour which has won Chicago's "Concierge Preferred" award several years running.  Your tour begins 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, you'll tour through Grant Park, which is known as the city's front yard. The centerpiece of the park is the Buckingham Fountain (operational May to October).  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, you'll travel around Millennium Park, featuring The Bean, before heading up north along Wacker Drive, which parallels the Chicago River. You'll arrive in the fancy Gold Coast nightlife area and residential neighbourhood - 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 as we get you back to or near your hotel or parking place. For those wanting the ultimate Chicago experience, add on the option of the world-famous architecture cruise of Chicago. After your 2-hour 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.  

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Chicago: Fireworks Premiere Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

7. Chicago: Fireworks Premiere Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

Dine aboard our unique boat, the Odyssey, which is designed to provide the ultimate viewing of Chicago's sights. Dine on a gourmet three course meal served at your private table, then dance the night away to the live band and watch the beautiful fireworks display with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. Experience an elegant dining cruise along the Chicago shoreline aboard the luxury cruising vessel, Odyssey. Your evening starts as you are greeted aboard by the Captain and crew and our ship's photographer will take a picture to capture your memory. After being seated at your private table, enjoy your gourmet three-course meal consisting of creative appetizers and entrees prepared fresh onboard daily by our Executive Chef. The wait staff will time your meal according to your preferences so you can savor every moment of your three hour dinner cruise. After dinner dance to the live music or relax on one of three climate controlled decks as you watch the lights of Chicago twinkling in the night. Don't forget to visit the Captains bridge, which is open during most of your cruise. Menu:  Tasting Trio Shrimp & Watermelon  English Cucumbers | Pickled Shallots | Extra Virgin Olive Oil Roasted Summer Vegetable SaladV  Yellow Corn | Zucchini | Caramelized Onions | Heirloom Tomato | Arugula | Herb Vinaigrette Whipped Goat Cheese  Candied Pecan Herb Crust | Balsamic Strawberries | Crostini Entrées Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes  Sweet Corn, Red Pepper & Thyme Succotash | Cajun Cream Sauce Oven Baked Atlantic Salmon Filet  Lemon Orzo with Red Onions & Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Citrus Dill Sauce Maple & Mustard Glazed Chicken Breast  Fingerling Potatoes & Chives | Haricot Verts | Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce Braised Beef Short Rib  Idaho Potato & Horseradish Mash | Baby Carrots | Pearl Onions | English Peas | Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce Greek Zucchini FrittersV  Lemon Orzo with Red Onions & Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Spring Onion & Cucumber Tzatziki Desserts Duo of Sorbet  Seasonal Sorbet | Fresh Fruit Granny Smith Apple Parfait  Cinnamon Spiced Apples | Almond & Oat Crumble | Candied Chili Bacon Salted Caramel Cake  Dark Chocolate Ganache | Raspberry Sauce Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake  Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | Blackberry Sauce Menu subject to change without notice.

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Chicago: Fireworks Buffet Dinner Cruise

8. Chicago: Fireworks Buffet Dinner Cruise

Quite simply, a Spirit dinner cruise is the perfect night out. A magical setting enhanced by dazzling city sights and Lakefront lights. An evening filled to the brim with wonderful cuisine, live music, dancing under a canopy of stars and a spectacular fireworks display over the Chicago skyline. This three-hour dinner cruise this is the ultimate Chicago experience. Menu:  Salads: Organic Mixed Field Greens  Grape Tomatoes | English Cucumbers | Carrots | Corn | Kidney Beans | American Cheddar Cheese | Herb Croutons | House-Made Ranch Dressing | Balsamic Vinaigrette | Low-Fat Italian Dressing Organic Spinach & Kale Salad  Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese | Red Bell Peppers | Red Onions | Lemon & Oregano Dressing Roasted Red Beet Salad  Pickled Shallots | Fresh Mint | Italian Parsley Mediterranean Couscous & Chickpea Salad  Scallions | Plum Tomatoes | Cumin & Paprika Vinaigrette Orzo & Bay Shrimp Salad  Scallions | English Cucumbers | Cherry Tomatoes | Dill & Mustard Vinaigrette Vegetables, Potatoes & Pasta: Roasted Broccoli Florets  Toasted Garlic | Chili Flakes Creamed Corn & Cheddar Cheese Casserole  Green Chilies | Scallions | Cilantro Baked Ziti Pasta  Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese | Mozzarella Cheese | Spinach & Garlic Sauce Mashed Potatoes  Idaho Potatoes & Roasted Garlic Entrees: Oven Baked North Atlantic Sole Filet  Tomato, Shallot & Caper Sauce Honey & Sesame Chicken  Scallions | Fresno Chilies Whole-Roasted Pork Loin  Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce Braised Beef Short Ribs  Baby Carrots | Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce Desserts: Seasonal Cut Fruit  Cannolis  Chocolate Drizzle Rice Krispy Treats  Cheesecake  Chocolate Cake  Strawberries & Vanilla Custard  Apple Cobbler Please note that menu items are subject to change without notice.

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Chicago: Guided City Highlights Tour with Entry Tickets

9. Chicago: Guided City Highlights Tour with Entry Tickets

The day begins with pickup from your downtown Chicago hotel and heads to one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Chicago Bean. Learn about this iconic artwork as well as its artist, Anish Kapoor. Next, admire Chicago’s impressive skyline aboard the Shoreline Architecture Cruise. Listen to the onboard narration as you admire over 40 of the city’s landmarks.  Afterwards, head to the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, Skydeck Chicago. Take the elevator up to the 103rd floor and soak up 360-degree views. There’s also time to walk out onto The Ledge, a special glass balcony which provides a once in a lifetime experience. Stop at the 360 Chicago Observation Deck next for yet more panoramic views of the city. Then have fun on the TILT Experience, a must-do when visiting Chicago. Later, enjoy a narrated drive through the city and pass by famous sights including the Aqua Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and more. Finally, visit the Adler view point for one last view of the city then enjoy drop-off back to your hotel.

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Chicago: 75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

10. Chicago: 75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

Climb aboard a speedboat for a thrilling 75-minute river and lake cruise of Chicago’s architectural gems. Depart from the former Navy training center of Navy Pier on the shores of Lake Michigan on the only tour to take you from the lakefront. Sail through the locks and along the Chicago River, all the way to the famous Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Get up-close to Chicago’s most famous buildings and unique architecture, and enjoy amazing views and an entertaining narration as part of the exciting ride. Learn the fascinating history of buildings such as the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower, the former Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) - the second tallest building in the USA - 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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago

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What people are saying about Chicago

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 2,924 reviews

Es un paseo muy bonito, bien explicado, las bebidas a bordo deliciosas, y las fotos que se pueden tomar en el paseo de las 5pm son increíbles, Chicago de noche se ve hermoso.

The tour guide, Jack, was the star of this trip- engaging, knowledgeable, and funny! I would highly recommend a tour with him!

We had beautiful clear skies and really enjoyed the views and listening to the tour guide.

Great tour. Very interesting to learn about Chicago history.

The tour guide for the 2pm sailing was out standing!!