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Chicago River Cruise Architecture Tour

Crane Your Neck For The Willis And Marvel At Riverside And River Point

Architecture River Cruise in Chicago, USA

Impossible to miss is Willis Tower , the tallest building in Chicago and the second tallest in the country.

At a height of 1,451 feet, this icon was once the tallest building in the world. Its bundled-tube construction was considered groundbreaking in 1974 when it was first introduced by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The firm also designed Trump International Hotel and Tower, currently the second-tallest building in the city.

Newer construction projects such as 150 N. Riverside and River Point are also attracting much attention. The former seems to defy the laws of physics. Designed by Goettsch Partners, it features a 54-story tower lodged into a narrow site that is constrained by the river on one side and rail tracks on the other. This feat of engineering is twenty times taller than its base is wide.

River Point is located where the main stem of the river meets its two branches. The ultramodern structure sits behind rail tracks hidden in a tunnel on top of which is a public park. The arched cutouts of the building reflect its shape and the curves of the banks around it.

Youll Hear Lots Of Names Of Famous People And Businesses

Donald Trump, Groupon, Apple, William Wrigley Jr., Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Oprah Winfrey, IBM, and Betrand Goldberg are just a few of the recognizable names youll hear during the tour.

For more ideas on things to do in downtown Chicago, check out my SheBuysTravel stories on whats new at Navy Pier, and my favorite kid-friendly restaurants.

See Chicago’s Famous Architecture On This Iconic River Cruise

This Chicago riverboat tour takes visitors through the city’s history, gliding by mesmerizing landmarks and famous skyscrapers from an epic angle.

Chicago on Lake Michigan in Illinois is one of the largest cities in the US and is, in fact, the third-most populated in the country, just after New York City and Los Angeles. Characterized by its bold architecture, the Chicago skyline is awash with imposing skyscrapers, with iconic buildings like the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower , and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower dominating the metropolitan horizon – the latter of which boasts an exterior collection of stones from other globally famed edifices from around the world, like Notre Dame, the Parthenon, St. Peter’s Basilica, the White House, and, most recently, the Berlin Wall. Yet, aside from its striking building rising high from the sidewalks, what is Chicago known for?

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The nefarious mobster history of Chicago also beckons the curious home of notorious mafia magnate Al Capone, Chicago’s prolific illicit shenanigans of the past make the city one of the most fascinating urban sprawls for tales of historic organized crime. Since the 1920s, gangsters are now a thing of days gone by and remain mere tales Chicago has become renowned for less eyebrow-raising pursuits, although its status as a jazz music haven still remains intact .

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Viator Vip: Willis Tower Skydeck Early Access Trolley City Tour And Chicago Boat Tour

A fully-fledged day out in the Windy City awaits on this VIP combo tour. Things begin early, as you arrive at the soaring Willis Tower.

It was once the tallest structure on the planet, but now hosts brave view seekers on its 103rd-floor Skydeck see if youve got the nerve to stand on the glass-bottomed floor there!

After that, things roll on to a trolley route around The Loop, to spy out majestic skyscrapers next to heritage architecture like the Rookery Building.

Finally, its onto the water down by Navy Pier. A 75-minute cruise ensues, with a dedicated guide spinning tales of great structures and their unique designs.

Chicago Urban Adventure River And Lake Boat Tour

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise  Tour Review

Youll see both of the very different aquatic sides of the Windy City in a single day when riding this Urban Adventure cruise.

First up: The Chicago River. That weaves through a pack of cloud-splintering skyscrapers. One moment the Willis Tower looms above you.

The next, its the bustling Chicago French Market. All the while, you get to enjoy commentary filled with factoids about the history of construction in the USA.

For the grand finale, you burst out onto the waters of Lake Michigan. Looking westwards from there, its possible to see the whole metropolis, sometimes even silhouetted in the water like a mirage.

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Get Your Dose Of Modernism Chicago Style

Lake Point Tower, with its distinctive wavy curves and dark-tinted glass, is quintessential Chicago Modernism. Designed by Schipporeit and Heinrich, the building is bold and masculine, yet exudes a sense of grace.

Modernism was also the purvey of esteemed architect Mies van der Rohe, whose AMA Plaza exemplifies minimalism and austerity. Occupying a prominent place on the river, this steel and glass structure stands as a powerful sentinel of the city.

Learn About Our Group Discounts And More

Located Downtown for Your Convenience

Looking for a fun way to go sightseeing with your group? We offer discounts on groups of six or more adults , as well as 40% plus discounts for students, seniors, first responders, military & military families, veterans, COVID-19 heroes, and school groups. Did we mention kids aged 3 and under are also free? Our marina is located in the south loop and is right off the expressway with easy parking options making it easy for you to bring your out-of-town visitors out on the water. Additionally, we are the closest dock to McCormick Place, the main convention center in Chicago, making it easy for business travelers to experience Chicagos famous architecture boat cruise. With the best prices in town and one of the longest architecture tours around, you cant go wrong with Tours & Boats!

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Explore The Chicago River With Urban Kayaks

If youre ready to ditch the captain and explore the water on your own, then its time to grab a paddle at Urban Kayaks. Youll go through a brief training session before you hit the water, but youre free to paddle the river or lake at your own pace. Or join in a guided tour to catch the sunset, fireworks, or historic highlights. Rentals are available at the Chicago Riverwalk or Monroe Harbor.

The Best 5 Chicago Architecture Boat Tours

Chicago Architecture River Cruise | A Complete guided tour by Shoreline Sightseeing | English

From the Two-Flats and Graystones of the suburbs to the skyscrapers and sacred buildings of The Loop, Chicagos hotch-potch of architectural styles can be enjoyed on a number of city boat tours.

The vast organism of rivers and canals that run through Chicago serve as a striking vantage point from which to marvel at the citys land-based attractions. By joining a themed boat tour, visitors have the chance to learn all about the citys rich architectural history as you cruise past some of its most notable buildings and structures. Here are 5 of the best Chicago architecture boat tours currently available.

1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Navigate all three branches of the Chicago River on this engaging tour through the heart of the city. During the trip, youll have the choice of sitting on the outside deck-top or indoors as your expert guide regales you with stories and information about Chicagos long architectural heritage and how it has evolved down the years. Among the prestigious buildings youll pass will be the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the art deco Merchandise Mart, and mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building. Pick up refreshments and snacks on-board at the full-service cash bar. From $40 per person.

2-Hour Premier Chicago River Architectural Lunch Cruise

45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture Cruise

75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

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Our Commitment To Your Touring Experience

We believe that tours should be entertaining, enlightening, informational, and perfectly organized, every single time. A tour shouldnt feel laborious in any way you should feel an effortless inclination to learn more about what we present at your fingertips. With our Chicago architectural tours, thats exactly what we strive to provide, basing each tour from the perspective of an expert with the real-life example in the background.

If youre thinking about booking a tour with us, know that our commitment to flexibility and accessible makes our Chicago Architecture Tours easy and convenient:

  • Tours run daily:
  • Chicago River Boat Architecture Tour:
  • 3 pm *Not Available Friday thru Sunday Summer Months*

Seadog Cruises Architecture River And Lake Tour

On the Seadog Chicago Architecture Boat Tour, passengers will board a sleek open-air speedboat and spend 75 minutes cruising around the Chicago Locks and then right up the Chicago River for sweeping views of the citys impressive skyline. On the Chicago River boat tour, youll also cruise past iconic locations like Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain. Theres live, guided narration with bits and bobs about Chicagos history and stories about notable architecture, like the Willis Tower and Lyric Opera, so guests are sure to come away with plenty of historical and architectural information about the storied Windy City. And for some extra fun: this cruise is BYOB!

To book: $45

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Discover The Windy Citys Colorful History

As a steady parade of architectural hits passes by, youll hear how Chicago grew from a small settlement into one of the worlds largest cities in less than 100 years. It all began in the late 1700s with Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable. He was a fur trader and the first non-native settler in the area.

More settlers arrived, and later Fort Dearborn was built at the mouth of the Chicago River to protect the westernmost front of the country at that time.

The US city was eventually incorporated in 1837 with 4,000 residents. Soon, a canal was constructed to connect the Chicago River to the Illinois River, which flowed into the Mississippi, thus enabling shipping to the Gulf of Mexico. The railroad was also a transportation boon to the area.

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What You Will See

p> Niagara Falls is world-famous for its awe-inspiring size and magnificent beauty. This spectacular natural wonder attracts all kinds of travelers, young and old, from honeymooners to young couples, groups of friends to families. There is a wide choice of hotels at Niagara Falls, including affordable ones for those on a budget. Newlyweds can splurge and stay in one of the many Niagara Falls luxury hotels. And as far as things to do at Niagara Falls, there are activities for the whole family to enjoy.

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River & Lake Architectural Cruise

Put yourself in the hands of a bona fide Chicagoan who knows the ins and outs of this awesome metropolis, all by opting for a whirlwind tour of Windy City construction.

There is oodles to get through in just 75 minutes. Tales of post-war building booms, Art Deco influences, the erstwhile military locks, and the iconic metalwork of the DuSable Bridge from 1920 all begin to flow.

Meanwhile, camera lenses will point to the skies, as symbolic structures like the Willis Tower drift on by.

Theres also instant ticket delivery, and you can show your admission on a smartphone.

Chicago River Boat Architectural Tour

Forming a length of 156 miles when combined, the Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals the characterize the infamous skyline of Chicago today. The river, running through the city, including the city center Chicago Loop, is evident of man made design and infrastructure when completed craftily. In 1887, the river was reversed through civil engineering by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi Watershed. Memorialized today, its a national landmark you have to add to your travel list.

Throughout our signature cruise one of our award-winning Docents will present more than 50 skyscrapers, bascule bridges, and historic sites.

In a world of iconic architecture, only a few images are so instantly recognized they need no subtitle.

Think of the Venetian canals, a Shinto temple, the medieval Cathedral at Chartres, or the unmistakable skyline of Chicago. Each year thousands of architecture lovers travel to the City of Chicago, the birthplace of the skyscraper and thousands book passage aboard our enthralling river tour, widely considered the best 90-minutes spent in Chicago.

Join us for a 90-minute Architectural Tour aboard Chicago Line Cruises. On Saturdays, at 8:30 p.m. we offer a 2 hour Architectural / Fireworks Cruise.

A jaw-dropping excursion through a city that defied all expectations even the laws of gravity.

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Lake Michigan Sightseeing Boat Tour

At just 40 minutes long and with prices starting at $26, this Lake Michigan sightseeing jaunt is a simple and affordable way to see another side of the Windy City.

Itll take you out onto the waters of the Great Lakes, so you can survey the town from a distance.

There, the silhouettes of mighty skyscrapers serrate the skyline, while the twirling carousels of Navy Pier combine with Grant Parks prestigious monuments.

There really is loads to take in, so be sure to bring along your own lunch and grab a tipple at the on-board bar.

Best Land And Water: Chicago City Tour With Optional River Cruise

Chicago Architectural Boat Tour River Cruise (HD)

If you prefer a smaller group size, the Chicago City Tour combines sightseeing in an air-conditioned bus that holds 12 people or less with a peaceful boat ride . The tour begins with a narrated, two-hour ride around the city with a chance to get out and explore a few stops, including the 1888 skyscraper called The Rookery, which is known for its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed lobby. Next up is a 75-minute cruise on an open-top boat to delve even deeper into the citys famous architecture and to learn about the role the river has played in the citys development. Transportation from most area hotels is provided but is not round-trip.

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The Main Benefits Of This Chicago River Boat Tour

  • Discover all three branches of the Chicago River with a guide well-versed in the city’s legendary architecture
  • Enjoy admiring the city’s majestic city skyline and architecture from a unique angle – on the water.
  • See more than 40 iconic Chicago buildings and skyscrapers
  • Discover the major historical events that shape the architectural history of Chicago
  • This ultra-flexible cruise runs over 20 times daily from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue

Chicago Architecture Boat Tours

How long are the architectural boat tours in Chicago?

Architectural boat tours are 75-minutes of narration about the unique architecture and famous landmarks in Chicago.

Can you drink on the Chicago architecture tour?

Yes, you can drink on the Chicago architecture tour. Youre able to bring your own beverages on board . Drinks and snacks are also available online or in-person from our concessions partner, Harry Carays. You can also add drinks or food enhancements during the online checkout process or ask the ticket booth agent for assistance on the day of your cruise.

Why is Chicago so famous for architecture?

Chicago is famous for its architecture because it reflects the citys history and multicultural heritage, featuring prominent buildings in a variety of styles. Chicago is home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of skyscrapers in the world. For example, Willis Tower and Merchandise Mart.

What is the best Chicago architecture cruise to take?

The Chicago Seadog River & Lake Architectural Tour is the best Chicago architecture cruise. It offers fun for the whole family with live narrations along the citys shore. After the architecture cruise, you can enjoy the speed of Seadog during a short speedboat ride on the lake!

What to wear on a Chicago architecture boat tour?

We suggest you wear casual attire on our Chicago architecture boat tour.

When is the best time to do an architecture cruise in Chicago?

What to bring on an architecture boat ride in Chicago?

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Women Make Their Mark On The Scene

Women architects figure prominently in Chicagos cutting-edge architectural scene. Among them is Jeanne Gangs firm, Studio Gang, which designed Aqua, an award-winning hotel and residential tower.

The buildings unique rippling balconies and colored glass give it a sculptural quality and create the impression of water flowing down its sides. Its also planet-friendly with a host of energy-efficient features.

After your boat tour, make sure to take time to stroll along the scenic Chicago Riverwalk, a continuous pathway connecting the lakefront with the heart of downtown.

Youll have the opportunity to get a different perspective of the cityscape, plus there are plenty of cafes and watering holes to stop at when the mood strikes. And the people watching is a recreational pursuit in itself.

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Best Extended Tour: Chicago River Architectural Tour

Chicago River Architecture Tour

For an extended version of an architecture cruise at a reasonable price, the Chicago River Architectural Tour runs a full 90 minutes and has a bar on board to boot. Entertaining and educational guides narrate the journey as the boat passes more than 50 landmarks and architectural gems, keeping an eye out for gargoyles and icons from the Neoclassical period to the Art Deco era. The tour runs seasonally to avoid the cold winter and departs from the Lofts at River East . Non-alcoholic refreshments and cookies are served, but beer and wine are additional. Viator members recommend arriving early to grab a seat on the upper deck because the trip is very popular and the boat can fill up.

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