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Time75 minutes (Approx.)
TicketMobile ticket
Offered in: English


Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this 75-minute tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like the Aon Center, the Wrigley Building and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
  • Architecture cruise down the historic Chicago River
  • Discover all three branches of the Chicago River with your guide, an expert in architecture
  • Enjoy the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline and admire world-famous architecture
  • See more than 40 buildings including the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building and the Aon Center
  • Discover the major events that helped shape the architectural history of Chicago

Why Travellers Choose This Tour

The water is the best vantage point for appreciating Chicago's eclectic architecture, but don't forget a jacket for time on the open water of Lake Michigan. If you want to avoid a flat-rate parking fee or busy lots in the summer, consider grabbing a cab or ride share to the pier.


Make your way to either Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue for your cruise departure. Board your river boat and find a comfortable seat; a restroom and sometimes a full bar are available on the boat. Listen as your guide, an architecture expert, gives you an introduction to the city's landmarks. 

Along the scenic 75-minute route, see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. A boat on the river is the best vantage point to admire the distinct city skyline.

Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings, including the the Aon Center, the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) the Wrigley Building and the IBM Building. Listen as your guide recounts the two major events that helped shape the architectural history of the city. Learn about how the invention of balloon-frame construction revolutionized how homes were built, and hear the dramatic story of Chicago's rise from the Great Fire of 1871. Both of these milestones led Chicago to become one of the cradles of modern American architecture.

Your cruise ends at its starting point.

Please see the Itinerary section below for a full list of buildings on the tour.


On the Chicago architecture cruise, you will see and learn about the following landmarks:
  • Navy Pier
  • Lake Point Tower
  • Aon Center
  • John Hancock Center
  • Cityfront Center
  • Illinois Center
  • NBC Tower
  • Chicago Tribune Tower
  • London Guarantee Building333 North Michigan Building
  • 401 North Michigan
  • Wrigley Building
  • 35 East Wacker
  • Leo Burnett Building
  • IBM Building
  • Marina City
  • RR 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&T Corporate Center
  • USG Building
  • Riverside Plaza
  • Citicorp Center
  • Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
  • Chicago Board of Trade
  • Central US Post Office
  • US Post Office Central Processing and Distribution Center
  • 311 South Wacker
  • River City


Viator Traveller's Reviews

2,450 reviews
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, Sep 2018

There is not a single building on this river tour that is not an amazing work of art. Our tour guide, Jalen(?) Was extremely knowledgeable and fun to learn from. Go. Now.

, Sep 2018

This was so much fun and very informative. A wonderful history lesson, with spectacular views of the city. This would be great for someone interested in studying architecture. To get a chance to see so many spectacular buildings on one tour is phenomenal. It also helped that the weather was beautiful.

, Sep 2018

William was awesome -- knowledgeable and personable. I would recommend this tour to anyone going to Chicago whether you're an architecture buff or not.

, Sep 2018

My husband and I took this river cruise and absolutely loved it. The cruise was very informative and our guide was awesome. He explained about the buildings with knowledge and humor. Highly recommend this river cruise.

, Sep 2018

Great time and great way to see the city. Took lots of pictures and learned a lot about an old city.

, Sep 2018

This was the perfect river tour....educational, had drinks and snacks available, great guide and just the right length of time

, Sep 2018

Thoroughly enjoyable. Javier was knowledgeable and entertaining! Would do again and recommend this line.

, Sep 2018

I encouraged my 5 friends to join me on the river cruise as we had never been to Chicago and I had friends that strongly suggested it to me. It exceeded our expectations with history, beautiful architecture and being able to get a great perspective of the city by water. The best part of the tour was our funny and knowledgable cruise director James. He made our day special we give him10 stars if we could.

, Sep 2018

Buildings always tell you how was and how is the people that live there.Beautiful City.The tour is so good.

, Aug 2018

Leisurely pace on the river buildings were fantastic guide was awesome all around great trip to the windy city

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Product code: 5580ARC

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