What to expect
- Take in the breathtaking views of Chicago's skyline from the calm tides of Lake Michigan
- Photograph the towering buildings like the John Hancock, Trump Tower, and Willis Tower
- Travel down Lake Michigan, along the city front, and see bustling downtown areas like Gold Coast and Buckingham Fountain
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Book nowSelect a time slot to book (212) 858 9559
About this Activity
|Price||$18.00 per guest|
|Duration / Session||40 min|
|Rating||35 positive reviews|
Michelle M.Lunch Cruise February 13, 2017
This is a MUST DO while you're in Chicago!! Very worth it!! I think everyone I spoke to about Chicago, even locals, said that you should do the Architectural Tour, and they were all so right!!
Book a tour in advance...most of the time you can just book it a couple days in advance and be fine. That's what we did and we were able to do a morning tour, around 10am, which was perfect since we could get lunch right after. I'm not sure how much one tour is, since we got the Chicago Pass, but it'd be worth to do regardless of the price of a ticket.
The tour is about 90 minutes long and you get amazing views of all the buildings along the river. Our tour guide was great and gave a lot of knowledge and history of the city of Chicago and the buildings along the river. The boat offers upper and lower deck seating and if weather permits, I'd suggest sitting on the top deck for optimal views and for pictures!! Chicago has such a neat history and the buildings are amazing too.
This tour was in my top three favorite things we did while in Chicago and I'd recommend it for anyone who is visiting the city or live in the Chicago metro area. Must do!!
Ken E.Lunch Cruise October 31, 2016
Visiting Chicago, a riverboat tour is a must do. There are several options. We decided to go with Shoreline. Not being familiar with the area and process, we were greeted by Tom. He was great. He hooked us up with tickets and sent us on our way.
The tour was great. It was chilly so I recommend warm clothing should you take the tour in coulder weather. Ben, our tour guide, was awesome. He is very knowledgeable with a great sense of humor.
I highly recommend Shoreline especially with Ben as your guide.
Nancy J.Sunset Dinner Cruise October 8, 2016
This is our first trip to Chicago, and we decided to make Navy Pier our first stop. We stumbled upon the Shoreline Architecture cruise last minute, and decided to go for it, and I'm so glad we did! We took the 5:45 pm cruise which takes you down the Chicago River through the city, and gives you the best view possible of the beautiful buildings and canal ways. I'm so glad we went at this time of day, as the lighting was gorgeous during the sunset. Definitely take a jacket, but don't miss out on this beautiful tour. My 12 and 14 year old loved it as much as we did, and kept thanking us for taking them. Jim our tour guide had a wealth of knowledge about the buildings and history of Chicago, it was so interesting to hear all he had to say. Though we didn't eat, the cruise offers food and drink. Anyway we felt this was well worth the money, and a great introduction to this beautiful city, thanks again Jim!
Carolyn W.Lunch Cruise September 9, 2016
This was a great tour of the Chicago / Navy Pier. It was about 1/2 hour long which is just long enough when the wind is blowing. The tour was full of history and info about the skyline. Very informative.
The staff was helpful. The Adult price was $18 for Adults. My son and son-in-law who where in their Navy Uniforms rode FREE! Pictures are taken as you board the ship and you have the option to buy an 8x10 and 4 wallets for $20. The photographer was gracious enough to retake ours and we made special arrangements to meet to pick them up after we had our lunch.
We enjoyed ourselves. This was probably the most inexpensive excursion from the dock but it was definitely not cheaply done.
Amy B.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) August 23, 2016
Joselyn C.Classic Lake Tours August 7, 2016
I LOVED IT! It was absolutely amazing. That was my first time ever on a boat. Staff was great and very friendly.
Honestly I love your site! I planned to book all future events with you guys! Thank you so much.
Susan G.Lunch Cruise July 15, 2016
We had a wonderful experience with Shoreline! Very informative, fun and relaxing! Jim is an amazing guide!
Shivani P.Lunch Cruise July 11, 2016
Whenever I have friends visiting Chicago, I always recommend taking one of the architecture river cruises. It's a fun, non-tiring way to soak in as much of the city as you can (especially if you're only here for a weekend) and to get a primer on the renowned Chicagoan architecture while throwing back a watered down cocktail or two.
I have been on both of the two most popular architecture cruises - Shoreline and the one by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and while the premise of both is the same, there are a few notable differences. For one, the CAF tour guides/docents are CAF volunteers and architecture enthusiasts - so the experience is more educational than entertaining, and you'll come away with a richer knowledge of the cityscape. The CAF cruise is 15 minutes long than the 75 minute long Shoreline cruise, but also costs slightly more.
What I really liked about the Shoreline cruises is that they are at frequent intervals (one every 30 or 45 minutes) from both the Navy Pier and the Riverwalk. This means that you're very likely to get a booking at short notice, even on a weekend (when the less frequent CAF cruises might be sold out). Our guide, Javier was entertaining, and even though we did get a little bit of history about the buildings, it was nowhere as educational as the CAF tour. Nonetheless, he was entertaining, engaging and energetic; throwing in a few impressions and pop culture trivia for good measure. (For instance, pointing out the building where Ferris Bueller's dad was supposed to work at). He also paused his commentary strategically to allow us to take pictures twice. The only hiccup we experienced was a rowdy group of passengers who were obviously inebriated and kept shouting over his voice at regular intervals, and neither Javier nor any other crew members attempted to get them to settle down.
It's worth noting that my friends from out of town, who were in it more for the cruise part rather than the architecture part, raved enthusiastically about their experience. This is tour is a pretty great way to unwind after lunch, and I'd personally recommend taking one in the early evening (3 30 - 5) like we did!
Aram Y.Sunset Dinner Cruise June 6, 2016
I and my friend participated in the shoreline architecture tour and it was good. Our tour guide, Ben was very experienced and knowledable tellIng us the history of the Chicago city. We enjoyed the story.
The down side was that the weather was too hot-!! Beginning at 11:45 am on June 25th, the tours ended up with exhausted.. close to the heat stroke. There was no shade on the boat, so we were grilled on the bare boat. I recommend to take a tour at sunset or less hotter season like May or September.
Irene D.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) June 3, 2016
He talked too fast
Katherine M.Lunch Cruise October 11, 2015
My daughter and I really enjoyed the Shoreline Architecture Tour. Nick was an interesting, informative and entertaining tour guide. I highly recommend this tour.
Annamarie H.Sunset Dinner Cruise September 14, 2015
We organized a Shoreline trip for the day after our wedding. About 75% of our guests were in from out of town and we wanted to organize something for them to do where they could really see and enjoy the city. I called in to their groups department multiple times to ask questions and they were always very helpful. We ended up with about 90 people in our group, quite the feat. One thing that would have been helpful to know ahead of time was that I was given ONE ticket for every adult in our group. I went into it thinking I was going to get 84 adult tickets, 6 kid tickets, and 1 baby ticket, but they gave me 1 adult tic for 84 people, 1 kid ticket for 6 people, and 1 baby ticket. This made it a little difficult because I had to keep all 91 people together while we waited for the inevitable stragglers, and then we all had to board the boat together. It worked out fine in the end, but it was a little stressful at first.
Also FYI, we had one person in a wheelchair in our group. If you need a handicap accessible boat, you have to board at Navy Pier versus Michigan Ave. They typically use the single level boats out of Navy Pier, and the two-level boats out of Michigan Ave. And the stairs down to the docks off Michigan Ave aren't accessible, obviously.
We took the 7:30pm architectural river cruise, right at sunset, and it was gorgeous! Everyone raved about it. Our tour guide was super informative and really entertaining. I meant to chat and spend time with our guests on the boat, but honestly I was so into the info that he was presenting that I sort of didn't want to get up and stop listening. The cash bar was great too, I believe drinks were $5, though $4 if you pre-purchase drink tickets.
I highly recommend this tour for anyone! I'm from the Chicago suburbs and have lived in the city for the past 5 years and I was fascinated. It's that much more exciting and interesting for out of towners.
Rachel S.Sunset Dinner Cruise September 9, 2015
The architectural tour is fantastic. James was a great tour guide, and the views on the 6:30 p.m. trip (late summer) with the sunset were stunning. Bring a camera!
Carol F.Architecture Fireworks Tours (Navy Pier) August 27, 2015
We had a good time.
Stephanie M.Sunset Dinner Cruise August 16, 2015
Architecture tour was amazing! Great way to see the city & to the history! Staff were great! The sunset your is great to see the city lit up at night!
Charlene K.Sunset Dinner Cruise July 14, 2015
We have a wonderful evening on 4th July. Fabulous way to see the fireworks. Cruise was great way to view skyline at sunset.
Kent R.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) July 6, 2015
I absolutely loved it!
Jake B.Lunch Cruise March 21, 2015
Great stories. Fun tour guide. A little cold in March, but I don't think we can blame that on Shoreline!
Eric L.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) October 23, 2013
Located all over the Navy Pier, this architecture tour was very delightful as it was very informative and friendly. Just going through the tour and seeing one of the best skylines in the United States alone is worth it even if there was no tour guide explaining the history of everything.
Also, the boat I was on had a bar so you can buy drinks while going on the tour as well.
Vidala .Classic Lake Tours October 19, 2013
We have made a dozen trips to Chicago and this was the first time we have ever taken an organized tour. We should have done this years ago as it opened our eyes to all the magnificent buildings that create the city's skyline. It was informative, relaxing and plain out fun. The fact that it was a perfect day to be on the river (warm but not hot) made it even better.
Henrieta77 .Classic Lake Tours September 7, 2013
We loved that a lot... Georgeous skyline. We enjoyed taking pictures of that. We also visited Field Museum nearby...lovely Navy Pier and big aquarium too. It was great time in Chicago. Worth to see it.
Karen M.Classic Lake Tours July 29, 2013
Fantastic tour and fantastic guide (Javier.) We learned so much from this tour and saw the city from an entirely different perspective. It was great to hear the history behind the skyline and Javier was extremely knowledgeable in the history. We used the Chicago Go Card which made this an even better value. Highly recommend!
FormerTravelAgent36 .Classic Lake Tours July 22, 2013
The lake tour is reasonably priced and probably the best lake tour for small kids. It only lasts about 30 minutes and you don't go very far, one big circle.
msmaddog .Classic Lake Tours July 14, 2013
Good time with good information. The recorded tour gave dome insight of Chicago's skyline. This tour only lasted 30 minutes which seemed short. The boat never left the breaker area. At times, if you sit on the wrong side of the boat, you miss what was being pointed out. Even had some kids move from one side to the other side so they saw what was being talked about. The best seats are up front so you can see both sides clearly.
mtab .Classic Lake Tours June 26, 2013
We did the Skyline Lake Tour; this is a quick ride but very nice. Just beware, it can get very cold out there. We went on a sunny day which was fine for walking the Navy Pier but it was nasty cold on the top deck. Also, if you're on the top deck, you don't want to sit along side the refreshment stand - you won't see much from there.
We would definitely do this again.
shabuck .Classic Lake Tours June 21, 2013
We took the half hour lake tour of the shoreline and was not disappointed. Even enjoyed a cold beer while hanging out on the deck. To get the skyline tour and give your feet a break...take this tour.
Megan L.Brunch Cruise October 31, 2016
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Amy B.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) August 21, 2016
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Gabriella R.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) July 17, 2016
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Yanina W.Chicago River Architecture Tour (Navy Pier) May 29, 2016
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Kelley W.Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride May 10, 2016
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Travis B.Brunch Cruise May 2, 2016
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Yabing Y.Architecture Fireworks Tours (Navy Pier) September 8, 2015
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Brian S.Architecture Fireworks Tours (Navy Pier) July 2, 2015
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Maticka M.Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride August 31, 2014
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