Travel Rankings & Advice

Chicago Architecture Cruise

224 South Michigan Avenue | Chicago, IL 60604 | Official website
Chicago Architecture Cruise Photo info
Adam Alexander Photography/Choose Chicago
  • Type: Sightseeing, Tours
  • Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
Overall Rating: 4.5 U.S. News Travel (4.4)
Value: 3.5 (3.5)
Facilities: 4.5 (4.5)
Atmosphere: 5.0 (5.0)
About these ratings

A visit to 360 CHICAGO or the Willis Tower Skydeck will give you a good overview of the city's layout. But if you want to learn more about Chicago's sky-high buildings, tag along on an architecture tour. For the skinny on Chicago's skyline, look no further than the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The foundation operates numerous tours — walking, Segway boat, bus and even "L" train tours — that educate participants on more than 60 architectural sites in and around Chicago. Of the CAF's many options, travelers most recommend the Architecture River Cruise, which meanders along both the north and south branches of the Chicago River. From the boat, you'll be able to see the buildings from a unique perspective, and you'll have the opportunity to get a closer look at the bridges.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers tours throughout the year, although they are not as frequent during the winter. Architecture cruises — which last roughly 90 minutes — cost around $38 per person. Prices for other tour types vary. You can purchase tickets online, at the CAF Tour Center near the Art Institute of Chicago, or at the boat dock at the corner of Michigan Avenue and East Upper Wacker Drive on the northern edge of the Loop. For more information, check out the foundation's website.

A variety of other companies also offer architecture cruises, including Wendella Boat Tours, Chicago Line Cruises and Shoreline Sightseeing. These providors also offer differently themed tours, including guided excursions on Lake Michigan and to parts of town of historic significance. Prices and schedules vary from company to company.

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