Take a 75-minute cruise of the historic Chicago River as your guide showcases over 40 landmarks of modern American architecture.

Join this an exciting journey touring the Chicago River and its architectural landmarks. 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 & Merrill and Helmut Jahn. A complimentary map and guide is yours to keep as a souvenir of your cruise.

Your 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 times on Saturday and Sunday (April through September) Please check the Availability Calendar for specific departure dates and times. See Special Schedule Details. These cruises are also available on weekdays. Click this link to order for Monday through Friday:
Chicago Architectural Cruise - 1 to 19 Persons - Weekdays

These rates are for parties of 1 to 19 persons on Weekends. 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

Special Schedule Details

These Architecture Cruises begin their regular season in April, but sometimes are available (depending on weather) in late March. The regular schedule is through September each year, but often are still available (depending on weather) in October and November. Check Availability to see the current schedule. Schedules are subject to change, based on weather and customer traffic.

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 the 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 for parties of 1 to 19 persons on Weekends. 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 17 Next
5.0 / 5
I would recommend this to any age, any group size, any time of year.
5.0 / 5
Fun tour!
5.0 / 5
A great way to see the city.
5.0 / 5
I loved the tour --I learned a lot and all of my guests enjoyed the tour as well.
5.0 / 5
The tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. I plan to take this tour again -and that is the best praise.
5.0 / 5
would recommend to anyone visiting chicago
5.0 / 5
This was my 5th or 6th time on your tour. I take students every June during my NEOCON visit. As usual, it was great, informative, educational, fun .... most of all, our guide was fantastic. He was the best one yet. Not only was it clear he knew his facts and information, but he was PASSIONATE in his presentation. Delightful!
5.0 / 5
Great service; wonderful experience
5.0 / 5
I reserved tickets for a boat tour through the city. It was great!
5.0 / 5
Booked this cruise last minute and there were no hiccups. Went straight to the boothe and they printed out out tickets immediately. I did screenshot my receipt just in case, but it was not needed.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 17 Next

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