Water activity

Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

Activity provider: Wendella Tours & Cruises

Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

Activity provider: Wendella Tours & Cruises
Likely to sell out Booked 13 times yesterday

From US$ 42 per person

Likely to sell out Booked 13 times yesterday

Skip the ticket line for Chicago’s only architecture cruise on both Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. Learn about Chicago's internationally-known architecture from expert local guides as you discover the city from riverfront to shoreline.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Reserve now & pay later
Keep your travel plans flexible—book your spot and pay nothing today.
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Duration 1.5 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Skip the ticket line
Live tour guide


  • Learn from expert tour guides about what makes Chicago's architecture so amazing
  • Choose between outside deck-top or indoor climate-controlled seating on world-class vessels
  • Journey through the legendary Chicago Lock, linking Lake Michigan with the Chicago River
  • Pre-purchase your ticket to skip the ticket line and guarantee your place on this often-sold-out tour
  • Enjoy a full service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn
Full description

Experience an architecture cruise along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, a family tradition since 1935. Admire Chicago’s historic and ever-changing skyline with a local expert guide as you cruise through the city.

Choose between the open-air decks or the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during the cruise. Start the cruise at Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and go up the main branch of the Chicago River to Wolf Point before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan.

Learn about historic skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building, the circular Marina City Towers, the AON Center, and modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the Vista Tower.

After passing through the Chicago Lock and cruising past Navy Pier, admire the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. Here you can also see the twin super-skyscrapers, the famous Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, and the John Hancock Building.

See the majesty of Grant Park with its famous Buckingham Fountain, and iconic Chicago venues such as Soldier’s Field, Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. Enjoy several vantage points for memorable pictures throughout, and finally arrive back at Du Sable Bridge on Michigan Avenue.

  • 1.5-hour cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
  • Local expert tour guide
  • Choice of outdoor deck or interior, climate-controlled seating
  • Beverages and snacks (available for purchase onboard)
  • Gratuities
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned

Select participants and date



Meeting point

Present your timed ticket to a uniformed employee standing at the top of the stairs at the northwest corner of the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge; they will guide you to the correct dock for your cruise time.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Sun hat

Not allowed

  • Pets (assistance dogs allowed)
  • Weapons or sharp objects
  • Alcohol and drugs

Know before you go

  •  Passengers can bring their own non-alcoholic beverages and food
  •  This tour lasts about 90 minutes, but can run slightly longer in high summer when the Chicago lock is busy
  •  Vessels include restrooms with diaper changing tables, a cash bar, and climate control
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.8 /5

based on 579 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money

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It was a little hard to find the gathering place which is right at the bridge. The tour was a lot of fun. The guide was entertaining and informative. The ship was accommodating and had alcoholic beverages available which was nice, plenty of seats but you may want to get in the line early to get one you want. Chicago architecturally is fantastic and going on to the lake was awesome.

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July 24, 2022

Although there was initial confusion about where to catch the boat, we were directed to the correct place. People were friendly and accommodating as we had a big party and not everyone arrived together. I have gone on the architecture tour since my kids were little and they are grown with their own kids, and we still enjoy this excursion together. It was interesting, informative, and fun!

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July 11, 2022

This was a great way to combine both the Chicago River Cruise and a shoreline cruise. The tour guide was excellent! She was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The sound system was a little fuzzy and difficult to understand on the lower level. We spent time in the shade on the lower deck, as well as the upper deck. Be sure and have hats, sunglasses and sunscreen!

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July 6, 2022

Product ID: 293160