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Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Cruise

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Book Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours And See The Top Attractions Architecture And Landmarks In The Windy City

Architecture River Cruise in Chicago, USA

Highlights include: Scenic & Historic Architecture Beautiful Parks Skyscrapers Chicagos Lakefront Museum Campus: Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium & Adler Planetarium Sports Stadiums: Guaranteed Rate Field, Soldier Field & Wrigley Field Neighborhoods: Chinatown, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Hyde Park, Woodlawn & River North Plus many more historical sites! A 90-minute Architecture River Cruise aboard Chicago Line Cruises.

Chicago Tours

See the Chicagos top attractions and landmarks.

Due to COVID-19, this tour is not operating at the moment.

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!

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

  • Learn more
  • Instant confirmation
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Choose from multiple departure times to fit your busy schedule
  • Learn about the city’s architectural history through an expert’s live narration
  • Prebook this must-do Chicago activity, which frequently sells out

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Discover The Windy City From The Water

Set Sail on a Premier Charter Cruise

Architecture boat tours are one of the best ways to delve into Chicagos history. Youll see the different art styles on the buildings that line the Chicago Rivers shores while expert guides explain how the city was rebuilt after the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. We offer 90-minute architecture tours that cover all three branches of the Chicago River, or you can book a private boat tour for your event that covers Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Check out our cruises below to learn more.

Chicagos Best 90-Minute Architecture Boat Tour

Kirsten GChicago River Boat Architecture TourWe had a great time on the boat, despite some foggy weather and a few raindrops. Our tour guide, Al, was incredibly informative and a great storyteller. Ive been to Chicago before and done lots of walks around, but this is an absolute must. There are so many incredible buildings, and so many interesting stories behind them. I would do this tour again!

Things To Know & Shoreline Sightseeing Insider Tips

Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour
  • Shoreline Sightseeing allows allchildren under the age of 2 years old to accompany any of their tours for free they do not need a ticket.
  • The price of your ShorelineSightseeing tour ticket does not include any sort of gratuity for your guide.If you have a pleasant experience on your tour, it is considered polite to tipyour guide approximately 20%.
  • While reservations are notrequired for any one particular Shoreline Sightseeing tour, its never a badidea to make them anyway. Many toursespecially during summerfill up fast, sohaving your tickets in advance is the best way to guarantee you can take a tourat the specific time that suits your schedule.
  • Keep in mind that seating on allShoreline Sightseeing tours is first-come, first-servedso the early you arrivethe more likely you are to find that perfect seat!
  • Shoreline Sightseeings popularArchitecture River Tour is also available in Spanish. Make certain to look forthat option when making your tour reservations or buying your tickets.

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More Information On Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

Chicagos decorated past lives on through captivating stories told by the knowledgeable guides at Tours and Boats. These Windy City experts usher groups of travelers to myriad landmarks while sharing anecdotes that paint a vibrant picture of the citys history. During the companys sightseeing river cruises, their boats float by well-known structures such as the Merchandise Mart, Navy Pier and Willis Tower while passengers learn about the citys famed architecture.

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The Best Chicago Architecture Boat Tours

Chicago has one of Americas most celebrated skylines. Particularly the landmark-packed neighbourhood called The Loop, where youll find skyscrapers like the 19th century Monadnock Building or the 110-story Willis Tower sharing the view with cultural landmarks such as The Art Institute of Chicago. Like many major cities in the United States, open water is not far away The Loop borders the waters of mighty Lake Michigan, making a boat trip one of the best ways to simultaneously enjoy the lake and experience the citys peaks and troughs from an appreciative distance. Meanwhile trips along the Chicago River get you up close and personal with the citys architectural gems of the last century and a half.

Special architecture boat tours in Chicago are designed to offer both access and information to guests. Many of the best options cover both the river and Lake Michigan in one itinerary so that you can enjoy both sides of Chicago. Many of the best boat tours also include a guide who can provide insight and information about the buildings helping you differentiate your Daniel Burnham from your Louis Sullivan buildings. These five Chicago architecture boat tours we have selected below were chosen based on many factors, including price, duration and the reviews of previous guests.

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Shoreline Architecture River Tours

Take Shorelines award-winning 75-minute Architecture River Tour to discover Chicagos renowned landmarks as presented by our expert and entertaining guides.

Youll learn how Chicago rose from the ashes of the Great Fire of 1871 to become the birthplace of the skyscraper and a major influence on the school of modern American architecture.

Shorelines Architecture River Tour features commentary on more than 40 of the citys most famous buildings as well as close-up views and excellent photo opportunities.

Shoreline also offers Spanish Language Architecture River Tours see website for times and locations.

Tours depart day and evening from both the southwest corner of Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier and the northeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at the Apple store.

Discover why Shorelines Architecture River Tour was the TripAdvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice #1 of the Top Ten Experiences in Best of the Best Award Winner!

How to find Shoreline Architecture River Tours

Closed opens 9:30 AM, 22 Jul

  • Mon 09:30AM 08:00PM

Cruise Along The Coastline

Shoreline Sightseeing, Chicago: Guided Boat Tour around the City

Take in the stunning sights of Chicagos skyline from Lake Michiganits a view of the city like youve never seen it before! Our Skyline Lake Tours depart daily from Navy Pier, spring through autumn.

This pre-recorded, 40-minute tour provides striking views from Lake Michigan and is a perfect trip for Chicago locals and visitors alike.

All aboard

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Chicago River Boat Architecture Tour

  • Learn more
  • Instant confirmation
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Spot landmarks such as the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower
  • Multiple cruise departure times throughout the day
  • Live on-board commentary ensures you dont miss anything
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Spot landmarks such as the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower
  • Multiple cruise departure times throughout the day
  • Live on-board commentary ensures you dont miss anything
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • 465 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If its cancelled due to poor weather, youll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 175 travellers
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • 465 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
  • Returns to original departure point
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If its cancelled due to poor weather, youll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 175 travellers

We Turn Tours Into Lasting Memories

Took a 10:30am architectural tour on a Sunday. Becky was our docent and OUTSTANDING!! Knowledgeable and entertaining. Also used their water taxi to get from Shedd Aquarium to Michigan with a stop at Navy Pier. Perfect way to rest after walking miles.

The architecture tour did not disappoint. Ive been to Chicago a few times, but this tour offered a new perspective. A great way to kick off a trip to Chicago and Antonio was amazing!

Jasmine J

Great tour full of great information on architecture and the history of Chicago. Clean boat and restrooms. Entertaining guide and nice bartender! Highly recommend!

Kristen T

Jim and the whole crew were absolutely amazing! The tour was informational and entertaining. Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and tour up and down the river proves that. We love Shoreline and hope to take many more tours with them.

Teresa M

My girlfriend and I were in town from Houston, Texas for Lollapalooza, but had been told by some locals that this was the tour to see. We picked the nighttime/firework tour, and we were not disappointed. BECKY was an amazing guide. Not only did she give us the historical details of the buildings, but she was amazing at keeping the tour lively and fun. Stoked about this and would highly recommend to anyone visiting Chicago!

Brent T

Now in its 83rd season, Shoreline Sightseeing operates Chicago’s largest and most diverse fleet of cruise boats and water taxis with 11 major tour vessels and 7 water taxis.

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Shoreline Sightseeing: Architecture River Tour

January 3, 2020 By gochicago

Shoreline Sightseeing has been leading guided tours on Lake Michigan and along the Chicago River for approximately 80 years. For the past 20 years, theyve been running their very popular Architecture River tour for local Chicago residents and visitors from all over the world alike. Throughout this well-regarded excursion youll have terrific views of a number of Chicagos most significant buildings and architectural treasures, all while enjoying a pleasant boat ride that takes you down all three branches of the Chicago River.

Money Saving Tip! This tour is included in the Go Chicago Card as well as the Chicago Explorer Pass. Both Chicago Tourist Passes can save you a lot of money if you are going to multiple Chicago attractions.

The 7 Best Chicago Architecture Boat Tours Of 2022

Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises
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Spectacular Sights And Stories

From shoreline to skyline, theres no better way to see Chicagos world-famous architecture than from a Shoreline Sightseeing boat. Our fleet of 11 touring vessels and 6 water taxis is the largest in the city, and our many tours offer amazing views of the citys famous landmarks with incredible stories told by our guides to match. Choose the tour that suits your schedule, then sit back, relax, and enjoy Chicago!

Tour guides

Architecture River Tour Details

One immediate perk of the Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River tour is that it offers you with the flexibility of two different boarding options. You can join the Architecture River tour from Shoreline Sightseeings docks at either Navy Pier or near Michigan Avenueits your choice of whatevers more convenient for you. From there, youll be hosted by your professionally trained guide, wholl provide you an informative and entertaining narration highlighting some 40 different Chicago landmarks. In all, the Architecture River tour lasts approximately 75 minutes. From their Michigan Avenue location, tours typically depart every 45 to 60 minutes between the hours of 10:00am and 5:00pmthough availability does vary depending on time of the year and day of the week. Tours depart less frequently from Navy Pier, but there are still routinely multiple outings dailyjust make sure to check their website in advance of your visit for more details. Tickets usually run in the neighborhood of $40 for adults and $20 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Kids 2 and under can join the tour for free. Shoreline Sightseeing also operates a Spanish-language version of the Architecture River tour daily from their Michigan Avenue location.

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Architecture River Tour With Shoreline Sightseeing

Shoreline Sightseeing is a unique and memorable way to discover the beauty and history of Chicagos famous architecture.

Discover why Shoreline Sightseeing’s Architecture River Tour, which was rated the #1 Tour in America by TripAdvisor, is a must-do adventure for both locals and visitors from around the world! Led by Shorelines experienced, educated, and entertaining docents, this 75-minute tour includes details, facts, and the history of more than 40 buildings that line the Chicago River. Find out how Chicago rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire to become the birthplace of the skyscraper and how Chicago has ties to architecture marvels like the Burj Khalifa.

Enjoy breathtaking views and outstanding photo opportunities as you cruise down all three branches of the Chicago River. Shoreline Sightseeing has two docks, both conveniently located at popular Chicago attractions. Depart on your open-air boat from the NW corner of the Michigan Ave Bridge or from Polk Bros Park at the southwest corner of Navy Pier.

Shoreline Sightseeings Architecture River Tour departs daily and frequently March November. Advanced tickets are recommended to secure a spot on this one-of-a-kind tour. Shorelines tour schedule is posted daily at


Shoreline Sightseeing is a unique and memorable way to discover the beauty and history of Chicagos famous architecture.

Contact Details

  • Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.ChicagoIL60611

How Youll See It: Finding The Best Boats To See The Stupendous Structures

Chicago Architecture Tour Guide, Sam, talks Bubbly and Chicago Prohibition era buildings!

When it comes to seeing The Second Citys structures, there are almost as many companies offering architectural river cruises as there are buildings scoring the Chicago skyline. Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but it is not that far off. The boom in cruises has not only improved tourism, it has also caused a raft of somewhat sketchy operators to appear.

How can you make sure you get to enjoy the best Chicago architecture boat tour? Well, one way is to limit yourself to the operators connected with, the citys official tourism arm. These include

Wendella Tours & Cruises

Wendella Tours & Cruises 337-1446), the oldest company that cruises the Chicago River. Having existed since 1935, it bills itself as Chicagos Original Architecture Tour. Most of the vessels contain a climate-controlled lounge, so you wont have to worry about sweating your way through a 75-minute cruise during the sweltering summer months.

Bartenders also serve up drinks and snacks, and youll even find bathrooms on board. The Chicago River Experience cruise offers an abbreviated version of the architectural tour that families with young children might find more enjoyable.

Additional cruises include a lake and river tour , a sunset cruise , and a fireworks cruise .

Shoreline Sightseeing

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Is The Architecture River Tour For You

ShorelineSightseeings Architecture River tour is consistently one of the most highlyrated water-based guided tours offered anywhere in Chicago. Most ArchitectureRiver tour participants report back that they greatly enjoyed their experiencewith Shoreline Sightseeing, and that they particularly liked their personableand knowledgeable tour guide. The Architecture River tour isnt cheap by anymeans, but its priced pretty similarly to other similar excursionsso ifyoure in the market for a guided tour of Chicagos many architectural wondersthat cruises along the scenic Chicago River, this is likely a really goodoption for you and your group/family.

Live It Up On An Island Party Boat

Looking for a party? These tiki-themed boats are always a good time, offering drink packages, stellar views, and fun vibes. You can hop on an Island Party Boat at Monroe Harbor or the Chicago Riverwalk, which is also where youll find their beach-inspired bar Island Party Hut. Choose from a river cruise, lake cruise, tacky tour guide cruise, or even a dueling pianos cruise.

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More Information On Shoreline Architecture River Cruise

Along the way, youll learn all about the history of Chicago, from the Great Fire of 1871 to the thriving metropolis it is today. Marvel at the architectural works of Bertrand Goldberg, Jeanne Gang, and Mies van der Rohe, and make the most of the photo opportunities at Wolf Point.


  • Main Branch enjoy views of spectacular structures by Bertrand Goldberg and Jeanne Gang.
  • North Branch see how architecture on the river has changed over time and snap plenty of photos at Wolf Point.
  • South Branch learn the dramatic story of how Chicago rose from the ashes of the Great Fire of 1871, and see the citys iconic Willis Tower.

Need to Know

All cruises are weather permitting and availability is based on Coast Guard capacity. Tour lasts 75 minutes. Does not include Fireworks Cruises. On-Peak Days, we recommend departing from the Michigan Avenue location for shorter wait times and greater availability. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, capacity is limited.

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