We had a great time on this tour. The captain had a great sense of humor and the tour guide was very knowledgeable. She not only talked about the architecture of the building style but had some great history and facts about them as well. We were even able to enjoy this with our toddler along for the ride! Would highly recommend for adults and families of all ages!
Chicago’s Best 90-Minute Architecture Boat Tour
Upper and Lower Decks with 360° Views
Guided Tour With Expert Commentary
Discover the History Behind the Architecture
Behold the architecture that makes the city of Chicago famous! On our 90-minute boat charter, your tour guide will teach you about the monuments that have survived the years. Get to know the Windy City from the water and admire the extraordinary vistas as we cruise gently along.
Discover the unique story of Chicago by learning about the architectural marvels that line its shores.
Listen to in-depth commentary from your tour guide about the different artistic styles used throughout the decades.
Get a first-hand glimpse at the buildings mentioned from the ship’s open-air upper deck or its enclosed, air-conditioned main deck.
Admire incredible city panoramas from all sides with the ship’s 360° viewing capabilities.
The only tour that goes all the way to the locks on the main branch, Chinatown on the south branch, & Goose Island on the north branch. You’ll see the most on this tour.
Capture amazing skyline photos from your unique onboard position.
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Price per person
Seniors (ages 55+), Military, Veterans, COVID-19 Healthcare Workers, and First Responders: $25.00 + tax
Students (ages 4 to 17):$23.00 + tax
Children (ages 3 and under): Free, but needs a registered ticket
Groups of 10 or more adults: Please see our group cruises and tours page to learn more about discounts.
Exact departure times can be found on our ticket page. Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time.
Ticketed passengers must be boarded 10 minutes before departure time, as standby boarding starts 10 minutes before scheduled departure. Ticketed passengers who arrive late will be placed at the end of the standby line. There are no refunds for those who arrive late.
We typically operate from May to October. However, please check our calendar for exact availability.
Discover Chicago’s Architecture From A New Angle
Chicago River Tour
Our 90-minute boat tour on the Chicago River is our most popular choice! This tour goes in depth into the history of the Windy City’s architecture. We’ll pass by well-known structures like the Wrigley Building—a terra-cotta building inspired by the Seville Cathedral’s bell tower—as well as modern additions like Trump Tower. Even if you’re not an architecture buff, you’ll enjoy learning about how Chicago’s construction goes hand in hand with its history. Enjoy commentary by our expert guides and discover the buildings that make up the famous skyline. We’re excited to take you on a journey through Chicago’s past.
Enjoy our 90-minute architecture boat ride that will start at our docking location and take you to all 3 parts of the river. We begin at the “Summer of George” docks, travel the main branch up to the river locks, via the north branch to Goose Island, and down the south branch to Chinatown before returning to the starting point.
Other Important Information
- All guests including children and babies need a ticket to board.
- All tickets are non-refundable and cannot be rescheduled.
- All event tickets are general admission, and there is no assigned seating.
- Please arrive early if you’d like to be seated with your group.
- Our tours operate rain or shine so please do not contact us to inquire if the tour will be canceled. Unless you receive a cancellation email from us, please assume the tour will go on as scheduled. In the event of rain, you may bring a poncho or an umbrella. There is also an interior deck on the boat.
- Due to unforeseen circumstances, a tour may get canceled. In the event of a cancellation, we will provide you with a credit for a future tour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our dock is located at the River City Marina at 900 S Wells St, Chicago, IL 60607. To get here, guests need to head south on Wells Street and enter through the parking lot behind the River City condominium building. The parking lot is located across from the soccer field on 9th Street and Wells. Please note that you do NOT need to go into the building to find us. Once you arrive, we will complete your registration in the parking lot before embarking. Please note that the cruise starts and finishes at this location.
One of the perks of booking an architecture boat cruise with Tours & Boats is that parking is relatively easy to find! There is a parking lot located at the marina, and it costs around $10. For more information, please see our detailed guide here. However, please note that it is possible for the parking lot to fill up early, and we are not responsible in the event that you are unable to find a spot. For this reason, we recommend arriving early so that you can find alternate parking, should the need arise.
If the date you want is not listed on the calendar, this means our boat is reserved for a private event. However, we do sometimes add new cruise dates or times if an opening becomes available, so please check back often.
Yes. Even though children age 3 and under are free, you need to register them for a ticket. This is because the Coast Guard counts all human passengers on the boat.
Please see our other FAQs for more information.
See what our guests are saying
We had a great informational time on the tour. So many buildings, so little time! Even at 90 minutes the tour seemed to fly by. Our guide, Sean, did a great job keeping the same pace as the boat describing each building in great detail, builders, architects, year, styles, and revisions.
If you only have time for 1 thing to do while you are in Chicago, the architectural boat tour is it! So educational, pleasant and interesting. I really enjoyed it. The guide was incredible with the amount of knowledge he had of the buildings and the city and he weaved it into really engaging stories.