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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Chicago River And Lake Tour

Entertain The Family With Wendella Boats

Wendella’s Boats: Chicago River and Lake tour

For three generations, Wendella has been cruising the Chicago water waters. With its variety of tour options, cruise times and lengths, and a heated, enclosed cabin, Wendella is a great choice for families looking for flexibility. They offer a variety of cruise options, including lake & river architecture, sunset cruises, and more.

You Can See The Great Chicago Fire As It Happened

The centers model of the City of Chicago is located in an atmospheric, low-lit gallery the perfect spot for all the drama youll see unfold here. The model includes more than 4,200 individual buildings, reproduced with startling accuracy, while dynamic video, interactive touch screens, and light projections bring to life everything from the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed most of the city, to the triumphant rebuilding of the city and a new era of architectural wonder.

Dont miss out on the other exhibits in the space, too, including At Home in Chicago, where you can peek inside the citys most iconic styles of residential architecture.

Speed Boat Tour Discounts

Anyone looking for fun and excitement on the Chicago River will want to consider a Speed Boat cruise. These trips are more like a roller coaster ride than they are a boat tour.

As you ride through Chi-town at top speeds, youll see some of the most important landmarks in the city. Guides will usually point out significant sights as you enjoy a thrilling experience.

There are only 3 ways to save money on these Chicago boat tours as of right now:

  • Group Rates
  • Kids are Free
  • Dog Discount

While the last option is definitely the strangest discount of them all, group rates are probably the best way to save money on these speed boat tours.

NOTE: You’ll find the most popular speedboat companies below, there might be some we are missing which are sold at a discount through websites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

We recommend checking these discount sites if you can’t find a service that fits your needs and expectations.


If youre looking to have some moderate thrills as you do your sightseeing, and you dont mind the wind in your hair, we recommend Seadog.

Race through the water as you hear about the Windy Citys most famous landmarks along the shoreline.

Light and humorous, reviewers have a hard time knowing if they like the speed or the speeches more!

Beware: We see a pattern in the reviews of guests who are unhappy with the will call ticket option due to long lines.

Duration: 30 Minutes




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Its Skyscraper Gallery Is Amazing

Chicago is the birthplace of the modern skyscraper, which is only one of the reasons to visit the Skyscraper Gallery. Another is Building Tall, a display of towering scale models of the worlds tallest buildings. From the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Chrysler Building in New York, to Chicagos own 875 N. Michigan Ave. and Willis Tower , each ethereal model is replicated down to the last detail.

About Our Boat Partner

Chicago Boat Tours: Find the Best Lake and River Cruises ...

Were proud to partner with Chicagos First Lady Cruises, operator of Chicagos finest fleet of cruising vessels. Its boats hold up to 250 passengers and feature open-air upper decks, full-service bars, climate-controlled lower cabins and upscale marble and granite restrooms. Being onboard is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.

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Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise Aboard Chicago’s First Lady

Tickets start at $48.18 for daytime river cruiseTickets start at $52.91 for evening cruiseVISIT THE CAC FOR JUST $5 EXTRA!
Northeast corner of Michigan Ave. and E. Wacker Dr. Look for the blue awning marking the stairway entrance, 112 E. Wacker Dr.

Chicagos First Lady is committed to taking the proper precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its river cruise guests and team, including ensuring that boats are cleaned and sanitized throughout the day and their service. Chicagos First Lady offers restrooms on board each vessel with running water and plenty of soap. Chicagos First Lady continues to follow the recommendations of public health officials and is monitoring the evolving situation. Learn more about the CAC’s Covid-19 safety policies.

#1 boat tour in North America according to USA Today Readers’ Choice 2021 Awards! Looking for the ultimate Chicago architecture experience? Buy a combo ticket for the river cruise AND visit the Chicago Architecture Centeryou’ll save $10!

For more than 25 years, the CAC’s expertly trained docent volunteers have led the river cruise, sharing fascinating stories behind more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River. Hear how Chicago grew from a small settlement into one of the world’s largest cities in less than 100 years. In just 90 minutes, you’ll get the best overview of Chicagos architecture and its history.

Learn what’s new on the River Cruise.

Chicago Lake And River Architecture Tour Provided By Wendella

  • Instant confirmation
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Get a new viewpoint of the Chicago skyline from the waters of Lake Michigan
  • Learn about the Windy Citys landmark buildings and architecture with onboard commentary
  • Glide by historic structures and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere
  • Enjoy the views from inside a climate-controlled lounge with cash bar or from an outdoor viewing deck
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Get a new viewpoint of the Chicago skyline from the waters of Lake Michigan
  • Learn about the Windy Citys landmark buildings and architecture with onboard commentary
  • Glide by historic structures and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere
  • Enjoy the views from inside a climate-controlled lounge with cash bar or from an outdoor viewing deck
  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Entry/Admission – Wendella
  • Drinks and snacks available for purchase on board.
  • 400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USAThe vessel departs and returns to Wendella’s Michigan Avenue Docks located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, at the base of the Wrigley Building. Look for the blue “Wendella” awning over the dock staircase. Descend the stairs to the river-level dock.
  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Entry/Admission – Wendella
  • Drinks and snacks available for purchase on board.
  • Returns to original departure point

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The Chicago Water Taxi

For a fast and cheap cruise on the River, hopping on a water taxi can be a convenient way to travel for local commuters and travelers.

Many of Chicagos popular attractions can be seen along these routes, and each of the station stops offer fantastic things to do, see, and eat.

NOTE: Due to the pandemic, Chicago Water Taxi is currently only available on Saturdays and Sundays. Cash is no longer accepted and you must purchase tickets with a debit or credit card.

While there are no guides on these boats, the sights are comparable to the ones on any of the sightseeing cruises listed above, and at a huge discount!

Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

Price Options:

  • Chicago Avenue


There are a few deals available for senior citizens and members of the military. If this describes you, chances are you’ll be able to save a lot of money on tickets.

  • 50% off one-way tickets for Seniors & people w/ Disabilities.
  • Active Duty military w/ ID ride for free.


Another affordable taxiing service is Shoreline, which offers a route on the lake as well as the river.

We like this service for their unique lake route, which is the cheapest way to view the skyline while on Lake Michigan notably the Museum campuses.

Duration: 15-40 minutes, depending on the chosen route.


  • Taxis operate 10 am-6 pm, at least every 20 minutes

Price Options and Packages:

There are no reservations for Shoreline taxis, as they are a commuter service. Tickets can be bought on site.

Shoreline Sightseeing Classic Lake Tour

Chicago Lake and River Tour – Wendell Tours – August 5, 2016 – Part 1

Shoreline has been offering tours since 1939, and their experience shows. We highly recommend this guided, historic sightseeing tour on Lake Michigan.

You can bet that your guide will have more than a few jokes as they describe Chicago history through the current landmarks along the waterfront.

Duration: 40 minutes


Classic Lake Michigan Tours depart from West Dock Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, across from McDonalds .


  • Free with the purchase of the Chicago Go Card.
  • Special group rates available for 20 or more visitors.
  • Save 10% – 20% or more with Groupon/LivingSocial.
  • Children 2 and under are free.
  • 2021 Coupon: Save $2 off Adult tickets and $1 off Child tickets with code WEB2021.


Take a guided tour of Lake Michigan while paddling your own single or tandem kayak!

Perfect for beginners, this leisurely sightseeing experience offers top-quality tours that Yelp users applaud for customer service and easily accommodating last-minute walk-ups.

They even allow dogs! This tour includes an orientation to paddling.

Duration: 2.5 hours


This company doesn’t offer a lot of discounts, but they do have coupon codes every now and then, so we recommend checking their site to see whether or not there are even more deals available.

  • Active for 2021: Get 10% off using the code Openair20.
  • Check Groupon/LivingSocial for potential additional discounts.

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Cruising To The Sights Of The City

Posted inCruises,Attractions,Architecture TaggedFun things to do Posted5 years agobyMeghan Holy

Get ready, Chicago! Cruise season is upon us.

Take in the breathtaking city skyline, learn about the history of The Windy Citys architectural past or get soaked on a thrilling speedboat. With countless ways to experience Chicago, here are our top recommendations for catching it from the water.

Its In An Iconic Chicago Building

The Chicago Architecture Center is located in the perfect spot at One Illinois Center , a building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a pioneer of modern architecture. Mies van der Rohe was the director of the Illinois Institute of Technologys College of Architecture for 20 years, and is recognized today as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. Completed in 1967, he designed One Illinois Center in the International Style, which an emphasis on volume, the use of planes of glass to enclose spaces, and a reliance on the elegance of materials and technical perfection over applied decoration. Another great thing about the building: sweeping views of the Chicago skyline, which brings us to the second reason to visit.

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Explore The Chicago River With Urban Kayaks

If youre ready to ditch the captain and explore the water on your own, then its time to grab a paddle at Urban Kayaks. Youll go through a brief training session before you hit the water, but youre free to paddle the river or lake at your own pace. Or join in a guided tour to catch the sunset, fireworks, or historic highlights. Rentals are available at the Chicago Riverwalk or Monroe Harbor.

Dine On The Water With Odyssey Cruises

Kayak Chicago

Odyssey dining cruises are the perfect way to create a memorable moment in Chicago. Choose from a river or lake dining cruise, complete with delicious cuisine, cocktails, and entertainment.

Their glass-enclosed river vessel is particularly stunning. It offers passengers panoramic views of the citys most iconic buildings as you glide along the Chicago River. They also offer a lakefront dinner cruise option that departs from Navy Pier.

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Your Guide To Chicago Lake And River Cruises

One of the best ways to see Chicago is from the water. The city is home to two stunning waterfronts the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and each offers plenty of cruise options. Admire the skyline on a lakefront cruise, learn about the citys iconic architecture on a Chicago River cruise, enjoy dinner and dancing aboard an all-glass vessel, sip cocktails on a tiki-themed boat, paddle your own kayak the options are truly endless. Heres your guide to Chicago lake and river cruises, boat tours, dinner cruises, and beyond.

Why Tour Chicagos Architecture With Us

We are born-and-raised Chicagoans ourselves, passionate about the community that we know and love. That passion and desire spills into all of our tours, drawing on personal experiences for curating a tour that just cant be duplicated by a book or a movie. We want you to experience everything firsthand. Why tour with us?

  • Expertise: All of our tour guides are either architects, architecture students, or architecture historians, making for an in-depth and personally rooted kind of touring experience that covers all of the discreet details.
  • Variety: We offer a variety of uniquely different tours that cover everyones individual taste. We offer the Chicago River Boat Architecture Tour that takes you down the famous Chicago River there are several different options such as Architecture, History, Jazz/ Cocktail Cruises and Firework Viewing Tours
  • Flexibility: We want you to enjoy your Chicago River Boat touring experience, which is why were happy to talk with you and learn more about how our tours can accommodate you, your party, or your corporate outing. Our tours run daily, with availability always posted on our website here.

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Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours

Welcome to Chicago River Boat Architecture Tours! Were proud to present you with an in-depth, expert architectural-based river boat tour that delves into one of the most remarkable American cities today. Known for unique, daring, and historical architectural pursuits, its hard to cover all of the design and building treasures that make up the Windy City today. If youre ready to learning more about the designs, people, and innovations behind these creations, throw on your captains hat and get ready to cruise along the Chicago River and see what architects from around the world travel to see in Chicago.

Chicagos First Lady Cruises

chicago river and lake boat tour

Architecture ToursNamed one of the Top 10 Tours in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises partners with Chicago Architecture Foundation to provide a one-of-a-kind experience.

Relax with a 90-minute Chicago river tour featuring indoor and outdoor seating and a full service bar. Listen to CAF-certified volunteers speak to the history of more than 50 buildings along the cruise route. And dont forget your camera! This tour along the Chicago River offers unmatched photo opportunities. Be sure to consider Chicago’s First Lady for your private events as well!

112 E. Wacker Drive 358-1330

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