Lake Michigan

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Lake Michigan: Our most recommended tours and activities

Chicago: Navy Pier Centennial Wheel Regular & Express Ticket

1. Chicago: Navy Pier Centennial Wheel Regular & Express Ticket

Located on the Historic Navy Pier, see the Centennial Wheel suspended over Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River. Enjoy views of the iconic Chicago skyline, the many attractions on Navy Pier, and the famous parks and world-class attractions located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Choose between two options: With the Regular Barcoded ticket, skip the ticket line and enter the line to board the wheel. The Fastpass Express ticket allows you to skip both lines, and gives you VIP access. Both tickets allow you to visit within 7 days of your scheduled ticket date. Enjoy the Centennial Wheel, which was built in 2016 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Navy Pier opening. Featuring 42 gondolas, each holding 8 people, it operates year-round. They also feature LED lighting, padded seats, TV screens, and speakers, as well as panoramic windows on all 4 sides. A ride on the wheel gives you plenty of time to enjoy these panoramic views of Chicago as they unfold around you, and allows you to visit the top three times. Relax and take in the view, or get your camera out to snap pictures of the ever-changing Chicago landscape.

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Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

2. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the 875 N Michigan, the Willis Tower and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's impressive landmarks as your tour guide provides entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city with the freedom to hop-on and hop-off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. You’ll travel down the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. There are 13 stops, where you can hop-off to visit attractions and explore places of interest. The stops are conveniently located to make navigating your way around the city easy, and with a choice of Classic, Premium or Deluxe tickets, you can take your time discovering Chicago. Be sure to take advantage of admission to the Chicago Architecture Center, included with the Premium and Deluxe tickets, to dive deeper into the city that invented the skyscraper. So don't wait, just hop-on an exciting journey through Chicago.

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Chicago: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ Attractions

3. Chicago: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ Attractions

The Chicago All-Inclusive Pass by Go City provides free admission to the city’s top activities, attractions, and tours, offering the ultimate in convenience, savings, and flexibility. Choose durations of 1, 2, 3 or 5 days at a low, pre-paid price. Save up to 45 percent compared to buying individual attraction tickets. The more you see, the more you save! Take a trip up to SkyDeck Chicago, visit the Field Museum, have fun at Navy Pier, and enjoy a cruise. All these and more are included in the cost of your Chicago All-Inclusive Pass. See the complete list below. The Chicago All-Inclusive Pass comes with a digital guide including useful attraction information. Use it to help you decide what to do, where to go and how to get there. Activities, attractions, and tours included with the Chicago All-Inclusive Pass: • Shedd Aquarium • SkyDeck Chicago • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Chicago: 1-Day Classic Tour • 360 CHICAGO • Adler Planetarium • Museum of Science and Industry • Field Museum • Navy Pier Centennial Wheel and Rides • Shoreline Architecture River Cruise • Shoreline Classic Lake Tour • Chicago Children's Museum • LEGOLAND Discovery Center • Bike Chicago: 4 Hour Bike Rental • Tall Ship WINDY • Chicago History Museum • Lincoln Park Zoo Rides • Museum of Contemporary Art • The Escape Game Chicago • Robie House • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour • Panoramic and Scenic North Side Tour • Historic Chicago South Shore Tour • Grand Tour • Chicago Theatre Tour • Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home • 10pin Bowling Lounge • American Writers Museum

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Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

4. Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

Start your sunset cruise on the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue. Make your way along the main branch of the river towards Lake Michigan before entering the Chicago Locks, a modern engineering marvel, that will transfer the vessel onto the great Lake Michigan. The vessel will cruise along Lake Michigan as the sun sets behind the wonderful skyline offering several amazing views. Your local tour guide will give a very brief commentary along the Chicago River and entrance to Lake Michigan, but most of the 1.5-hour cruise is spent without narration, leaving you to watch the sun put on a beautiful display with the City skyline. Admire the many angles of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. Capture magical views of Chicago's twin super-skyscrapers, the famous Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the John Hancock Building. You'll also get to admire 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. During your cruise, treat yourself at the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products. Try local beer and spirits and Garrett’s Popcorn. Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

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Chicago: Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise

5. Chicago: Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise

Cruise for 2 or 3 hours on Lake Michigan and see the sights of Chicago from a luxury boat, The Odyssey. Board the boat at Navy Pier and enjoy a personal greeting. Smile for the ship's photographer to capture the memory, then embark on an elegant dining cruise along the Chicago shoreline. After being seated at your private table, tuck into your gourmet brunch buffet or 3-course lunch or dinner consisting of creative meals prepared fresh daily by the on-board executive chef. After your meal, dance to the live music or relax on any of the 3 climate-controlled decks as you watch the skyscrapers of Chicago's distinctive skyline glide by. SAMPLE LUNCH AND DINNER MENU Starters (choice of one): Caesar Salad Lobster Bisque (dinner only) Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (dinner only, available for additional price) Seafood Tower (dinner only, available for additional price) 2.5oz 1/2 Lobster Tail (dinner only, available for additional price) Main Course (choice of one): Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli Oven-Baked Atlantic Salmon Filet Oven Roasted Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary and Thyme Braised Beef Short Rib Pan-Seared Fresh Pacific Cod (dinner only) 8 oz USDA Choice Filet Mignon (dinner only, available for additional price) 18 oz USDA Prime Striploin (dinner only, available for additional price) Two 5 oz Broiled Maine Lobster Tails (dinner only, available for additional price) Choice of Dessert:(choice of one): Eli's New York Style Cheesecake Duo of Sorbet Freshly Cut Fruit and Fresh Strawberries Triple Chocolate Mud Pie (dinner only) Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake (dinner only) French Macarons (dinner only, available for additional price) Champagne Chocolate Truffles (dinner only, available for additional price) SAMPLE BRUNCH BUFFET MENU Early Risers: Seasonal Fruit Breakfast Pastries Scottish Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Meats Breakfast Potatoes Build Your Own Belgian Waffle Station Late Risers: Caesar Salad Shrimp and Farfalle Pasta Salad Potato Salad Roasted Cedar Plank Oregano Salmon Maple & Mustard Glazed Chicken Hand Carved Strip Loin, USDA Choice Desserts: Odyssey Signature Dessert Station Chocolate Fondue Menu items are subject to change.

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Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

6. Chicago: 1.5-Hour Lake and River Architecture Cruise

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.

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Chicago: Lake Michigan Buffet Brunch, Lunch or Dinner Cruise

7. Chicago: Lake Michigan Buffet Brunch, Lunch or Dinner Cruise

See the sights of Chicago from onboard the Spirit of Chicago with a 2-hour (brunch and lunch) or 3-hour (dinner) cruise on Lake Michigan. Enjoy a buffet dining experience as you sail through the Windy City, and delight in panoramic views of the city's famous skyline. Board your vessel at Navy Pier and receive a personal greeting. Have your photo taken by the ship's photographer to capture the memory before being seated at your private table. Once there, gorge on your brunch, lunch, or dinner buffet consisting of creative prepared fresh daily, and listen to the onboard DJ's tunes. After your meal, play games like giant Jenga and shuffleboard, or bust out some moves on the dance floor. Don't forget to visit any of the 3 climate-controlled decks to watch the skyscrapers of Chicago's distinctive skyline glide by. SAMPLE BRUNCH BUFFET MENU Early Risers Seasonal Fruit Breakfast Pastries Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Meats Breakfast Potatoes Late Risers Organic Mixed Field Greens Green Bean Salad Red Beetroot Salad Roasted Broccoli Florets Baked Ziti Pasta Mashed Potatoes Oven-Baked Atlantic Atlantic Flounder Filet Honey and Sesame Chicken Hand-Carved, Slow-Roasted Strip Loin Dessert Raspberry Mousse Lemon Pound Cake and Fresh Strawberries Coconut Vanilla Cake Red Velvet and Chocolate Chip Brownie SAMPLE LUNCH AND DINNER BUFFET MENU Salads Organic Mixed Field Greens Organic Spinach and Kale Salad Green Bean Salad Kidney Bean, Black Bean, and Chickpea Salad Red Beetroot Salad Bow Tie Pasta Salad Vegetables, Potatoes, and Pasta Roasted Broccoli Florets Creamed Corn and Cheddar Cheese Casserole Baked Ziti Pasta Mashed Potatoes Entrées Oven-Baked Atlantic Flounder Filet Honey and Sesame Chicken Italian Beef Meatballs Braised Beef Short Ribs (dinner only) Dessert Seasonal Fruit Raspberry Mousse Lemon Pound Cake and Fresh Strawberries Coconut Vanilla Cake Carrot Cake Red Velvet and Chocolate Chip Brownie (dinner only) The menu is subject to change. Please inform your server if anyone in your party has a food allergy.

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Chicago: Fireworks Premiere Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

8. Chicago: Fireworks Premiere Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

Dine aboard our unique boat, the Odyssey, which is designed to provide the ultimate viewing of Chicago's sights. Dine on a gourmet three course meal served at your private table, then dance the night away to the live band and watch the beautiful fireworks display with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. Experience an elegant dining cruise along the Chicago shoreline aboard the luxury cruising vessel, Odyssey. Your evening starts as you are greeted aboard by the Captain and crew and our ship's photographer will take a picture to capture your memory. After being seated at your private table, enjoy your gourmet three-course meal consisting of creative appetizers and entrees prepared fresh onboard daily by our Executive Chef. The wait staff will time your meal according to your preferences so you can savor every moment of your three hour dinner cruise. After dinner dance to the live music or relax on one of three climate controlled decks as you watch the lights of Chicago twinkling in the night. Don't forget to visit the Captains bridge, which is open during most of your cruise. Menu:  Tasting Trio Shrimp & Watermelon  English Cucumbers | Pickled Shallots | Extra Virgin Olive Oil Roasted Summer Vegetable SaladV  Yellow Corn | Zucchini | Caramelized Onions | Heirloom Tomato | Arugula | Herb Vinaigrette Whipped Goat Cheese  Candied Pecan Herb Crust | Balsamic Strawberries | Crostini Entrées Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes  Sweet Corn, Red Pepper & Thyme Succotash | Cajun Cream Sauce Oven Baked Atlantic Salmon Filet  Lemon Orzo with Red Onions & Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Citrus Dill Sauce Maple & Mustard Glazed Chicken Breast  Fingerling Potatoes & Chives | Haricot Verts | Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce Braised Beef Short Rib  Idaho Potato & Horseradish Mash | Baby Carrots | Pearl Onions | English Peas | Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce Greek Zucchini FrittersV  Lemon Orzo with Red Onions & Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Spring Onion & Cucumber Tzatziki Desserts Duo of Sorbet  Seasonal Sorbet | Fresh Fruit Granny Smith Apple Parfait  Cinnamon Spiced Apples | Almond & Oat Crumble | Candied Chili Bacon Salted Caramel Cake  Dark Chocolate Ganache | Raspberry Sauce Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake  Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | Blackberry Sauce Menu subject to change without notice.

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Chicago: Fireworks Buffet Dinner Cruise

9. Chicago: Fireworks Buffet Dinner Cruise

Quite simply, a Spirit dinner cruise is the perfect night out. A magical setting enhanced by dazzling city sights and Lakefront lights. An evening filled to the brim with wonderful cuisine, live music, dancing under a canopy of stars and a spectacular fireworks display over the Chicago skyline. This three-hour dinner cruise this is the ultimate Chicago experience. Menu:  Salads: Organic Mixed Field Greens  Grape Tomatoes | English Cucumbers | Carrots | Corn | Kidney Beans | American Cheddar Cheese | Herb Croutons | House-Made Ranch Dressing | Balsamic Vinaigrette | Low-Fat Italian Dressing Organic Spinach & Kale Salad  Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese | Red Bell Peppers | Red Onions | Lemon & Oregano Dressing Roasted Red Beet Salad  Pickled Shallots | Fresh Mint | Italian Parsley Mediterranean Couscous & Chickpea Salad  Scallions | Plum Tomatoes | Cumin & Paprika Vinaigrette Orzo & Bay Shrimp Salad  Scallions | English Cucumbers | Cherry Tomatoes | Dill & Mustard Vinaigrette Vegetables, Potatoes & Pasta: Roasted Broccoli Florets  Toasted Garlic | Chili Flakes Creamed Corn & Cheddar Cheese Casserole  Green Chilies | Scallions | Cilantro Baked Ziti Pasta  Aged Reggiano Parmesan Cheese | Mozzarella Cheese | Spinach & Garlic Sauce Mashed Potatoes  Idaho Potatoes & Roasted Garlic Entrees: Oven Baked North Atlantic Sole Filet  Tomato, Shallot & Caper Sauce Honey & Sesame Chicken  Scallions | Fresno Chilies Whole-Roasted Pork Loin  Dijon Mustard Cream Sauce Braised Beef Short Ribs  Baby Carrots | Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce Desserts: Seasonal Cut Fruit  Cannolis  Chocolate Drizzle Rice Krispy Treats  Cheesecake  Chocolate Cake  Strawberries & Vanilla Custard  Apple Cobbler Please note that menu items are subject to change without notice.

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Chicago Seadog Speedboat Fireworks Cruise on Lake Michigan

10. Chicago Seadog Speedboat Fireworks Cruise on Lake Michigan

Enjoy a summer or autumn evening on this Chicago Seadog Speedboat Fireworks Cruise on Lake Michigan. This popular 60-minute narrated tour ensures you have the best views of this magnificent fireworks display. Every seat on the Seadog Speedboat Fireworks Cruise has amazing panoramic views of Chicago's historical skyline. Whether you are looking for a romantic evening, a night out with friends, or simply appreciate the art of pyrotechnics, this tour will have everyone of all ages leaving with a smile. Come and visit all of the possibilities that Chicago has to offer by enjoying a magical Fireworks Cruise on Lake Michigan. These memories are made to last a lifetime!

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Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Michigan

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What people are saying about Lake Michigan

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,030 reviews

We ended up going at dusk and enjoyed amazing views as the lighting changed the three times the wheel spun before we exited. My family had a gondola too ourselves so we were more comfortable with covid.

Awesome we bought tickets online so we skipped the ticket both. We went right before dark & got beautiful pictures. The car is heated & you get beautiful pictures out it.

A great way to figure out where you want to spend additional time. Canopy on the roof keeps you warm, even when chilly.

Views is amazing it’s worth to see anytime of the year

Very short ride for the amount of money. Nice view.