What to expect
- Kayak across the city on the Chicago River during this energizing twilight adventure tour
- Learn about the history and architecture of Chicago as you paddle by several famous sites
- Let a certified instructor show you the ropes during a safe row
- Feel the adrenaline of adventure consume your senses and fuel your sense of wonder
About this Activity
|Price||$69.00 per guest|
|Duration / Session||3 hours|
|Rating||31 positive reviews|
Kevin H.Architectural Tour August 10, 2020
It was a warm, sunny day, perfect to be on the water. And most of Chicago seemed to agree with me. As a result, Kayak Chicago was very busy, though organized. The river was crowded, and when our group stopped at key points in the tour we were too close and could not social distance easily (kayaks moving together from waves and wind). The guide, Matt, was funny and kept the group light and relaxed--which was good considering how many boats and other kayak groups we had to navigate through. Would strongly recommend Kayak Chicago, but on a less busy river day.
Pete B.Architectural Tour August 7, 2018
Great time! It’s a unique experience to be right on the river level looking up at the buildings and sights. The guide was great - fun day!
Melina C.Sunset Paddle August 9, 2017
This tour was epic and definitely a highlight of our trip!!! I sucked at it to be honest I was really scared I was going to flip over but the guides are super nice and friendly and they start you off in a really safe area where you can mess up and not hurt yourself. By the time we got into the city I felt like a Pro!
We did the sunset tour and I highly recommend it. It's magical!!!
Beware I think we were in the water for like three hours and by the end I was ready for it to be over. But bring your camera you get epic shots of the city at night!
I wore a bathing suit with shorts and a shirt and it wasn't cold it was August. I kept my sneakers and They didn't get wet.
BRING QUARTERS!!! The lockers are $1
Dayna J.Sunset Paddle July 14, 2017
Such a fun night and beautiful experience! Do not underestimate how hard it is to kayak...we were nearly crying by the end but the views and overall experience made it SO worth it. We went for the Fireworks Paddle, which I highly recommend. Also, we chose to do a tandem kayak but found out at the end that the individual kayaks are much lighter and easier to control. Although it was difficult, it was a 5 star night that we will never forget!
Molly M.Sunset Paddle July 11, 2017
The staff is a very chill group and very informative. I loved the guy with the accent cracking jokes all the time, unfortunately I didn't get his name.
I bought 2 two hour kayaking sessions for my boyfriend and I last Sunday and it was a lot of fun!
This location is quite far from the loop, but that's also why it's not as expensive as kayaking places that are located in the loop. It took us about an hour to get to the randolph street bridge. From there we just floated around and enjoyed the scenery and didn't go much further.
However, on the way back was the most difficult. Our arms were tired, abs and thighs sore from all the movement. It seemed like the wind was going against both ways and it didn't make it any easier with all the waves from the big boats. Kayaking really is a hard sport!
The Chicago river was dirty and smelly. I wish I could get a group of people to help clean it up.
Overall, awesome experience and would love to do it again!
Philip H.Sunset Paddle July 9, 2017
Dave was an awesome instructor but I wish we got a better view of the sunset
Claire S.Sunset Paddle July 5, 2017
Had a delightful day kayaking with friends and family on Lake Michigan off North Ave. Beach in Chicago today. Andrew, the guide ,was friendly and informative in how to paddle around the area. Definitely recommend this company for enjoying the outdoors and for views of the city skyline.
Bryan M.Sunset Paddle June 25, 2017
Over all great experience
Melissa D.Sunset Paddle May 7, 2017
We did the architectural tour with Matt and had a great time. We had never kayaked before and he gave awesome instructions and had us in the water in minutes. He was very professional, courteous and easy going. Was a great 3 hour experience and I'd definitely do it again.
Kim H.Sunset Paddle September 26, 2016
The views we had were incredible, but I would have to say the staff is what made the environment of the trip enjoyable. They had great stories and inspired us to kayak in our spare time.
Anne N.Sunset Paddle September 6, 2016
Went to the downtown location. Site has free parking on the street. You don't need to make a reservation so I just showed up. The first thing you do is sign a waiver and get checked in.
I showed up with my 45lb dog and they were very welcoming. My dog was allowed to be off-leash on the property while we did our safety orientation. They gave us a single with a large opening so we both fit.
From the launch site to the end of the river in downtown Chicago and back is about 6 miles, prepare for a 3 hour kayak trip. I should also mention that you should be pretty fit to do this as it is a lot of paddling. By the time you reach downtown you could be tired, and that's where most of the traffic is.
Kayaking downtown towards navy pier youre right next to the river walk. People LOVED seeing my dog sitting in the kayak. I had a couple of nice conversations with people walking next to me.
You pay at the end of your rental.
Erica B.Learn to Kayak September 1, 2016
An amazing tour with our guide Brian. Very informative and fun! Beautiful day, great way to see the sights from a different perspective. Highly recommend!!!
Chris B.Architectural Tour August 22, 2016
I have been to Chicago more times than I can count, but taking this tour I saw a completely different view of Chicago with the Architectural Tour. Saw great views plus learned a lot along the way! This tour was great, our guide was great, the group was about 30 kayaks, they had enough staff to make sure everyone stayed with group. We would paddle, then stop and listen to different stories on the history of the buildings, the area, etc. It was a great experience, you do run into river traffic as you get closer to the lake, but it's not bad. The staff is very professional and helpful, highly recommend taking the tour!
Linda K.Architectural Tour August 20, 2016
As soon as we approached the check-in area we were warmly greeted, directed to sign waivers, shown the lockers, and offered water and snacks while we waited for our entire group to arrive. When our group (everyone who signed up for the 3 pm tour) was all checked-in we were given a presentation while sitting in the kayaks on dry ground as to how to use the oars and your body weight to steer the kayaks. It was enough information to make you feel confident that you'd be able to handle the waters. After that, we pulled our kayaks into the river one-by-one and gathered for our first lesson. We started out on the quiet end of the river where we got accustomed to stroking the oars and traveled along the river getting entertaining and informative stories about what we were seeing along the way. As we headed toward the bustling downtown area there was lots of river traffic, so our guides rerouted for safety. Mike and Matt would gather us along the walls and out of river traffic when they wanted to tell us something or beguile with tales of old Chicago. Both the guides were entertaining and informative; and even surprised us with a comic routine at one point. They stressed safety and did what they could to shield us from danger. The tour lasted 3 hours, which is quite a workout. The guys brought water and Clif bars for anyone who needed an energy boost. I grew up in Chicago, but I learned some things I didn't know about the city's history and got a gorgeous point of view from the river. It's definitely worth doing!
Carl H.Learn to Kayak August 18, 2016
Great time, great people.
They know what they're doing and make sure you have fun.
Amy L.Architectural Tour July 31, 2016
My friend and I did the evening architecture tour and it was wonderful! Brian, Matt and Mike did a great job wrangling the selfie taking you get kayakers and kept everyone safe. The information given was interesting and very factual. Their personalities shown through and added to the experience. Great tour for the value!!
Michael G.Architectural Tour July 1, 2016
They guys at Kayak Chicago are great - I really enjoyed the enthusiasm team social factor they embodied. The equipment was first rate and they were very well organised especially as the weather was turning bad and they cut the trip short. They were safety focused and very knowledgeable about the architecture for this tour.
Leigh F.Sunset Paddle March 29, 2016
Dor S.City Lights Paddle September 20, 2015
My girlfriend and I have the same birthday (today actually :)) and I thought it would be a fun activity.
We really liked the 'night' aspect of the tour, as most tours are during the daytime and the kayaking/sporting aspect of it. It's nice and chill, beautiful city lights etc. I would def. recommend it as a cool/different activity. A tad pricy though, but not toooo bad.
Brandon D.Architectural Tour September 7, 2015
Great experience and super helpful staff. Doing it once was enough for me, but more given the deplorable condition of our river, nothing to do with the staff at all. It was nice to see all aspects of the Chicago river, not just the tourist spots. If you want more of an architectural tour, maybe this isn't your best bet.
The after-party celebration was appreciated with good food and beer selection.
Bongi S.Architectural Tour August 15, 2015
I enjoyed this experience so much. I bought the tickets as a gift for my son's 23 birthday. I was so eager myself for the experience. I was not disappointed.The guides Matt and Mike were great. I did tandem with my son who did most of the rowing while I took pictures. Tons of awesome pictures. I loved that this was 3 hours cause we got a nice mix of the river, some quiet, tranquil areas where I could enjoy just the sounds of the birds, bugs, leaves blowing and water. Very serene. And other parts which were very busy, like in the downtown area. Loved both. I could not stop saying "wow, this is so cool" throughout the tour. I'm a tour guide for Big Bus and I see the Kayakers all the time in the river when we cross the bridge and I thought I've got to try that one day. So glad I did. Thanks everyone at Kayak Chicago for an AWESOME experience.
Cassie S.Architectural Tour August 12, 2015
We did the kayak architecture tour through Kayak Chicago last Saturday afternoon and had a FANTASTIC experience!! So much fun!! I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a unique, active experience in Chicago!
Our tour guides were fantastic - knowledgeable about kayaking and about architecture. No previous kayaking experience is necessary - they'll cover everything you need to know before launch. We did individual kayaks, but tandems are available as well. It was long and we were exhausted by the end, but totally worth it.
Cindy B.Architectural Tour August 1, 2015
I got to scratch something off my bucket list, and had a great experience doing it! My daughter and I kayaked the Architectural Tour on a picture perfect day in Chicago! It was great to see our awesome city from a different perspective.
Our tour guides David and Matt were the perfect combination of fun and professional. I am a non-swimmer, so the thought of being so up close and personal to the Chicago River was a little intimidating to me. From our pre-cruise briefing, to the time we arrived back at our dock, I had the confidence that they had my back!
We had a LOT of fun, and learned a few things along the way! I would definitely recommend this company. In fact, in the past 2 days, I have!
Bre L.Learn to Kayak July 13, 2015
Did this for the first time this weekend and I will definitely be back. Beautiful views of the city and the tour guides were great. Super friendly and helpful.
Ah-Lawn-Ugh M.Learn to Kayak June 19, 2015
So much fun North Carolina Sam and Alabama Dave were our guides. Beyond helpful, professional, and straight awesome.
Some tips (note: this is my 2nd time kayaking ever)
- Have pre-workout food
- wear clothes / shies that can get wet and dirty
- bring a wind breaker or parka
- wear gloves it have athletic wrap for your thumb
- don't be scared it's super easy to navigate and the guides are amazing
- Bring sunglasses
- wear sunblock
- if you need to use the portapotty check for teepee before hand lol
They provide zip lock bags (sandwich size) for things you want to carry or you can rent a locker for $1.
HAVE A BLAST
Stacy C.Architectural Tour May 3, 2015
Went on the 10am Sunday architecture tour on opening weekend. It was INCREDIBLE!! I can't believe we have been living here and haven't done it sooner. Obviously the views were breathtaking, this is Chicago after all. So I will review the tour and crew rather than the sensational ducks-eye view we had during the tour.
1. David, Sam and Matt were our guides (if I am remembering correctly). David led the tour- he was funny without being cheesy and was thorough and knowledgable when it came to explaining the history of buildings. The other two gentlemen made sure we stragglers were safe and watched for water traffic while providing informative and fun conversation throughout. Delightful- A+ crew. *BRING SOME CASH TO TIP! We didn't even think about it but luckily had some on hand to be able to say thanks!
2. The tour was long enough to get to see everything and take it all in, but not so long that we couldn't paddle our way back. It was DEFINITELY a workout, do not book this thinking it will be like sitting on a Wendella boat taking a nap. That being said, I am by no means a super fit human with insane upper body strength and I survived. You feel a sense of accomplishment after kayaking 5 miles through Chicago!
3. Don't do a tandem kayak. I went with my boyfriend and we each had our own kayaks. We were able to explore how we wanted and at our own pace while still being together when we wanted. The tandem people seemed like they had a harder time navigating and they ran into me a few (dozen) times. Haha It's so serene and amazing being in your own little boat on the river, why ruin it fighting with your babe about whether or not you're paddling in sync?
If you live in Chicago and haven't done this you're missing out. Not the typical tourist attraction. If you're a tourist in Chicago, do this instead of the big boat tourist attractions. Thanks again Kayak Chicago!
Grace H.Sunset Paddle May 24, 2021
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Heather O.Architectural Tour August 10, 2020
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Elizabeth A.Sunset Paddle September 6, 2017
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Laura A.Sunset Paddle August 15, 2016
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Nicholas N.City Lights Paddle September 5, 2015
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