Chicago River by Private Boat Tour

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  • 2.5 Hours
  • Walking Tour
  • Group price up to 12Groups of 13+ call to book
  • Private Tour
  • Mon - Fri
  • Board your own private boat for an exclusive tour on the Chicago River!
  • See top Chicago attractions like Willis Tower and Union Station
  • Hear the history of the Chicago River and how it has shaped the city’s identity
  • Explore the Chicago Loop by foot and pass by its architectural marvels
  • Get to know the history of Chicago’s growth from pre-settlement to current day

To understand the city of Chicago, you need to know its river. Hop aboard a private boat with a Windy City local to hear how the Chicago River has shaped the city’s skyline and its very identity, taking in its beautiful architecture from a truly unique perspective!

We’ll start with a short walk in the Chicago Loop, where the suits-and-ties speed along on their weekday work commutes.

During our own leisurely stroll through the bustling financial and federal district, you’ll learn about several sites of interest, including a turn-of-the-century landmark once the largest store in the world; a neoclassical beauty containing one of the world’s largest Tiffany glass domes; and an iconic venue and its dazzling marquee that has announced top-tier shows since 1921!

Once we arrive at the dock after our brief walking tour, you’ll board your very own private boat for a scenic cruise along the Chicago River. Along the way, your tour guide will share stories of the waterway and its historical significance to the city and its people.

You’ll pass by the confluence of the north, south, and main branches of the Chicago River, a historic site formerly occupied by Native Americans and later by many of Chicago’s first commercial buildings.
As you relax and take in the sights, you’ll spot one of our most innovative skyscrapers, Willis Tower, which held the title of the world’s tallest building for 25 years! Other notable buildings include a vital transit hub featured in many films including The Untouchables and Public Enemies as well as an Art Deco masterpiece so large it once had its own zip code!

Once back at the marina, you’ll walk off your boat with plenty of places to explore on foot, with more recommendations from your local guide!

Community Impact

Chicago has made great efforts to preserve its historic architecture and this brings millions of visitors each year to celebrate the city and our skyscraper heritage.

The Chicago River is critical in creating the foundation of the city’s economy, being the main artery of shipping and receiving in the past. Increased tourism and the creation of jobs on the river is now a thriving industry, helping thousands of people grow in Chicago and bringing more diversity and talent to the neighborhoods.

Our walking and boating experience takes us to different areas of town, encouraging our guests to visit and support these often-overlooked neighborhoods.

By using electric boats, we are making sure that our tours are not contributing to negative environmental impacts, and our guides make it a point to highlight vital restoration programs like Wild Mile Chicago.

Highlights

The Chicago Theatre

This is where your tour begins – underneath the iconic neon sign made famous in both movies and musicals! Here, you’ll meet your tour guide and then set off through bustling downtown Chicago.

Chicago Riverwalk

We’ll cruise alongside this urban green space thronged with visitors and locals alike enjoying its 1.25-mile long path filled with public art. Your Chicago tour guide will point out sites of interests including Marina Towers, the Britannica Building, and the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower).

Wrigley Building

You can’t think of Chicago without thinking of the Wrigley Company. This skyscraper with its central clock tower, first built in the early 1900s, no longer houses the Wrigley Company, but is home to several other significant businesses and consulates.

The Loop (Chicago)

Your brief walking tour prior to boarding your private Chicago River boat takes place in this lively neighborhood of shopping, nightlife, performing arts, and, of course, restaurants with the best food Chicago has to offer!

Union Station (Chicago)

During your Chicago River boat tour, you’ll spot this iconic transit hub built in 1925 and designed by Daniel H Burnham, the city’s architect. This landmark has had cameos in many famous films, from The Untouchables to Public Enemies.

Sears Tower – Willis Tower

The Willis Tower is a 110-story, 1,451-foot skyscraper in the Loop community area of Chicago. Designed by architect Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it opened in 1973 as the world’s tallest building, a title that it held for nearly 25 years.

Merchandise Mart

During your Chicago boat cruise, your tour guide will be sure to point out this 1930s architectural wonder, built in Art Deco style and which once held the title of the largest building in the world!

Marina City

Before you board your private boat for a tour along the Chicago River, gaze up at the two towers that make up the main complex of Marina City. Your tour guide will share stories of its development and the complex’s current uses besides an apartment community.

Price Includes

Price Excludes

  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Private boat
  • Food and drink
  • Souvenirs
  • Tips and gratuities for the guide

Pickup Information

Start times: 10am, 11am, 12pm

Meeting Location: The Chicago Theatre (underneath the marquee), 175 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60601

 

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