Join us on an exciting journey as we tour the Chicago River and its architectural landmarks.

The professional guides will recount the dramatic story of Chicago's rise from the Great Fire of 1871 to become the home of the skyscraper and the cradle of modern American architecture. Along the 75-minute route, you will see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, and Helmut Jahn. A complimentary map and guide is yours to keep as a souvenir of your cruise.

The tour boards at Navy Pier. The Chicago Architectural Cruise goes down the main branch of the Chicago River, up the north branch to the East Bank Club, and then south past Willis Tower to the old Post Office Building.

The cruise is led by a knowledgeable professional in the architecture field who will provide detailed descriptions of more than 40 buildings seen on the river cruise. This tour is NOT conducted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Rates - including tax

Type Rate
Adult Rate
(Ages 13-64):
Senior Rate
(Ages 65+):
Child Rate
(Ages 3-12):
Child - Free
(Ages 2 and Under):

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Tour / Activity Details

75 minutes
Multiple Departures - Monday through Friday (May through September) These cruises are also available on weekends. Click this link to order for a Saturday or Sunday from April through September:
Chicago Architectural Cruise - 1 to 19 Persons - Weekends

These rates are available for parties of 1 to 19 persons on weekdays. Architecture cruise boats hold 70 to 200 persons. All rates and schedules are subject to change. This tour does not offer hotel pick-up. Departure is from Navy Pier (details on E-Ticket). Please order online or call to order or for more information.

There is a $6.95 USD processing fee per order. This is a flat fee regardless of the number of tickets or tours purchased on an order. There is a service charge per ticket. This charge will be reflected on your summary before you checkout. The total shown includes any and all taxes, fuel surcharges, and service fees. There are no additional charges, unless otherwise specified.

Tour / Activity Policies

Cancellation Policy: There are no refunds. All sales are final.

Change Fee Policy: If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can only be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.

Tour / Activity Description

Schedule Notes

The regular schedule of weekday Architecture Cruises begin around the first of May and end in October. However, cruises may be scheduled in March, April and/or November, based on weather. Check Availability Calendar for the current schedule. Schedules are subject to change, based on weather and customer traffic. These tours are not available on holidays.

Tour Description

The Forest of Skyscrapers lining the Chicago River had its roots in 1770 in the low-lying prairie river area the Indians called "Chicagou," which means smelly onion patch.

Two major events helped shape the architectural history of the city: balloon frame construction and the famous Chicago fire. The unique Chicago invention in the 1830's of balloon frame construction was a method of building in sections that let homes be assembled quickly. This innovative concept was used to build towns from Chicago across the nation to the West Coast.

On the Chicago Architectural Cruise, you will see and learn about the following landmarks:

Navy Pier, Lake Point Tower, Aon Tower, John Hancock Center, Cityfront Center, Illinois Center, NBC Tower, Chicago Tribune Tower, 360 North Michigan, 333 North Michigan, 401 North Michigan, Wrigley Building, 35 East Wacker, Leo Burnett Building, IBM Building, Marina City, R.R. Donnelley Center, LaSalle-Wacker Building, 222 North LaSalle, Central Office Building, Merchandise Mart, 333 West Wacker, Montgomery Ward Complex, River Cottages, Merchandise Mart, Fulton House, 225 West Wacker, Boeing World headquarters, Civic Opera Building, AT and T Corporate Center and USG Building, Riverside Plaza, Citicorp Center, Willis Tower, Chicago Board of Trade, Central U.S. Post Office, U.S. Post Office Central Processing and Distribution Center, 311 South Wacker, and River City.

You will see over 40 buildings, learn about the architects and architecture, and hear the history of this fascinating city.

All boats have full rest rooms and a full bar. For your convenience, all of these tour boats have easy boarding ramps and are accessible to people with disabilities. However, only the upper decks of our Architecture Cruise boats are handicap accessible. The vessels are not equipped with elevators - therefore restrooms, which are located on the lower deck, are not accessible to those in wheelchairs. Additionally the upper decks are open and provide no protection from the elements. For those who would like to bring their dogs along, leashed dogs are welcome onboard the cruise.

These rates are available for parties of 1 to 19 persons on weekdays. Architecture cruise boats hold 70 to 200 persons. All rates and schedules are subject to change. This tour does not offer hotel pick-up. Departure is from Navy Pier (details on E-Ticket). Please order online or call to order or for more information.

Customer Ratings & Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 34 Next
5.0 / 5
My husband and 23 year old daughter went-we all loved it.
5.0 / 5
GReat for families and kids of ALL ages, wonderful, wonderful boat road of the inner city of chicago. Very fun. they even serve beverages!
5.0 / 5
It was very enjoyable
5.0 / 5
I enjoyed the cruise. My young children wouldn't be interested in the architectural information, had I brought them, but I would consider taking them on this cruise if they're ever in town with me. It's a short trip, you get a good feel for the city, and anyone 10 or older can appreciate the information about Chicago's architecture.
5.0 / 5
5.0 / 5
Great service
5.0 / 5
Great tour!
5.0 / 5
5.0 / 5
the service was very enlighting. I will use it again. I invited friends fron Mexico, an architecture student, but she couldn't take full advantage because the language barrier. please, consider a one tour in Spanish.
5.0 / 5
I always take visitors on this tour to marvel at Chicago's wonderful architecture. The docents are well informed and do not disappoint.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 34 Next

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