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Chicago Architecture Foundation

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

Boat or Ferry and Tour Provider
The Loop, Chicago
  • Billy T.
    "Excellent 90 minute docent led tour"(6 Tips)
    Theresa R.
    "Loved having such an enthusiastic tour guide!"(4 Tips)
    Jeffrey Z.
    "docent-led 90 minute cruise along the Chicago River."(4 Tips)
    InterContinental Chicago
    "Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour"(3 Tips)
67 Tips and reviews
  • tours
  • architecture
  • docent
  • scenic views
  • minutes
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  • Chicagoist
    ChicagoistAugust 1, 2014
    Highlights along the tour cover more than a century of architectural innovation from classic buildings like the Civic Opera House to mid-century experiment Marina City to modern buildings like Aqua. Read more
  • Sean R.
    Sean ReedAugust 31, 2014
    We had visitors in from out of town and decided to take the river tour. Weather was great for it and so was the experience on the First Lady. Very informative with all the history and facts!
    Upvoted Sep 4
  • Ashleigh G.
    When everyone tells you to take the architecture boat cruise in Chicago, this is the one they mean. other operators use students with a script, this one has knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides.
    Upvoted Sep 4
  • Pablo P.
    Pablo PintoOctober 18, 2016
    You can't miss this tour! Worth every penny. Sit and relax on the ferry and get history and architecture lessons. Highly recommended
  • Jeffrey Z.
    Jeffrey ZeldmanAugust 24, 2012
    Learn about great buildings during wonderful, docent-led 90 minute cruise along the Chicago River.
    Upvoted Sep 4
  • Cameron W.
    Cameron WylieAugust 28
    Our docent was friendly, funny and obviously passionate about Chicago architecture. The buildings we saw from the water were quite impressive. A great way to see and appreciate the wonders of Chicago.
  • Thomas N.
    Thomas NewtonJune 13, 2014
    They use a few different boats so sit were you like. The front on the boat is a fine place to sit. Also the bartenders are not jerks, they are people just like you and I. Be respectful and have fun!
  • Merili B.
    Merili Baralic PadillaNovember 26, 2013
    If in Chicago don't miss out on this tour. Whether you like architecture or not it's a great experience. Try time it with good weather so you don't freeze on the upper deck
  • Nicole R.
    Nicole ReganFebruary 7, 2016
    Always a pleasure. Each tour guide has their own style and stories, going more then once never feels redundant.
  • Laurea d.
    Laurea de OcampoJuly 9, 2015
    Really fun way to see the historical buildings on the Chicago River. Docents are volunteers from the Chicago Architecture foundation.
  • Amanda B.
    Great way to see the city and learn about the architectural and historical highlights. Tour guides are very knowledgeable.
  • Jose A.
    Jose Alfaro, Jr.June 13, 2015
    I'm not an architecture buff; however, I found this 90 min. tour to be very interesting and a great way to learn about the history of Chicago. The docent was a volunteer professor from Northwestern.
  • Jeremy W.
    Jeremy WilcoxSeptember 23, 2013
    There are a ton of river boat tours stretching from Navy Pier down the river, but this is the best. Super enthusiastic (and knowledgeable) guide. 90 minutes. Do this day 1 of your trip!
  • Greg S.
    Greg SmithJuly 8, 2013
    The tour is excellent! Make sure you get there early if you want a good seat on the deck however. Also, bonus points for the on-board bar!
  • Caroline S.
    Caroline SchulweisSeptember 2, 2015
    Love this tour. Learn so much about the city every time. Prefer it during the day, but they also offer one ride at 7:30pm.
  • Gianna N.
    Gianna NebbiaMay 19, 2016
    Great first stop on our trip to Chicago. We learned so much and the ride was beautiful. Definitely some of the best views of the city
  • Mark H.
    If you like architecture, don't skip this tour. Amazing buildings, knowledgeable guide, relaxing boat ride. Well worth the time and money.
  • Linda F.
    Linda FelterAugust 22, 2014
    Best boat tour in the city if you're looking for a knowledgeable guide who really knows architecture!
  • InterContinental Chicago
    InterContinental ChicagoSeptember 8, 2011
    The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat tour might be the best in the city. The docents are all volunteers, but you'll marvel at the depth of their knowledge.
  • E. T.
    E. T.October 10
    The volunteers / docent will provide you will a wonderful of the Chicago architecture, from the classics to the more recent buildings!
  • Dave H.
    Dave HoltzAugust 6, 2016
    Kind of touristy, but a great way to see a lot of Chicago in a short amount of time (and get good historical / architectural context!)
  • Thompson Hotels
    Thompson HotelsJune 20, 2011
    Our concierge Catherine at Sax Chicago says this is one "touristy" attraction that's actually a fascinating experience. The tour starts only 2 blocks from the Sax.
  • Lorraine S.
    Lorraine SSeptember 7, 2011
    Amazing tour of Chicago's unique architecture! Arrive earlier to get a good seat upstairs. Drinks are decent - try the margarita ;)
  • Ashley S.
    Ashley SpearsOctober 20, 2016
    Seriously so fun and glad you can buy cocktails on the boat. Highly recommend this tour!
  • Mariana P.
    Mariana PantalenaAugust 7, 2016
    Great way to learn about the skyline and the amazing architecture of the city. Very pleasant ride.
  • Billy T.
    Billy TerrellSeptember 10, 2013
    Excellent 90 minute docent led tour full of Chicago history and spectacular views. Highly recommended.
  • Paul F.
    Paul FarrellApril 13, 2015
    Great tour. Even the most cynical will be engaged by this. Really knowledgable and entertaining
  • L H.
    L HessAugust 16, 2011
    This was a great tour — totally worth it. Not just for tourists, either; it's genuinely interesting and lovely.
  • Valerie
    ValerieSeptember 16, 2014
    Really great tour. Very informational and a wonderful way to see the city.
  • Travis I.
    Travis InceSeptember 28, 2015
    Buy your tickets at the riverside kiosk, NOT ONLINE. You will pay about $20 extra in fees buying tickets online.
  • Michael P.
    Michael PepplerSeptember 14, 2014
    This is a great way to see Chicago. Better to see building than street level
  • Simon S.
    Simon SmidtJuly 26, 2011
    Very interesting if you like architecture, but listening to 90 minutes of facts might be a bit too much for the average tourist. Despite that, you get a very good view of the city from the river.
    SNOCRUOctober 21, 2012
    Best tour AND most popular in the city so show up early
  • Kelly .
    Kelly 🍰July 14, 2013
    Look for the blue awning. Don't get fooled by the "fake tours" that have a lot of promoters. This is the real deal
  • Maggie H.
    Maggie HartOctober 28, 2012
    Fascinating tour - definitely a must! Make sure you sit on the left ;)
  • Molly S.
    Molly StoddartOctober 18, 2015
    Amazing tour, fun and educational. A great way to see the city.
  • Jennie
    JennieAugust 28, 2013
    Very informative tour, next time I come I will go on the evening tour to see the city lights. :)
  • Theresa R.
    Theresa RoldanAugust 10, 2015
    Loved having such an enthusiastic tour guide! Made the tour that much more exciting.
  • Catriona H.
    Catriona HunterNovember 21, 2013
    Really interesting, although best views are from on the deck, so try to pick a dry day!
  • Brian S.
    Brian SearlOctober 25, 2010
    Don't sit in the front of the boat. Excellent place to learn the unique history behind Chicago and great views.
  • lino b.
    Great tour. Take it on a nice night. Well worth the time
  • Margot B.
    Margot BloomsteinOctober 8, 2012
    Make sure you sit on the open top deck--sacrifice warmth for the view.
  • Eric G.
    Best part of our whole weekend trip! Very informative and every seat is great
  • Charlie T.
    Our guide was tremendous. Relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
  • Anil W.
    Anil WijesooriyaSeptember 14, 2014
    Informative 90min boat cruise that showcases the highlights of Chicago's beautiful architecture
  • Pablo D.
    Pablo DDAugust 18, 2015
    Excellent tour, sit in the front as audio is quite bad
  • Christine C.
    Really interesting and definitely a must do attraction while in Chicago.
  • Juan S.
    Juan Solano RJune 22, 2013
    They have good local beers on board. Try a few!
  • Clark S.
    Clark ScrandisSeptember 20, 2014
    Wonderfully informative! Sit on top and enjoy!
  • Kristin
    KristinAugust 13, 2011
    Book EARLY! Best architecture tour in the city!
  • Kyle P.
    Kyle PetersSeptember 11, 2012
    Cross your fingers that you get Lindy as your tour guide. She is so punny
  • Julie A.
    Julie ArrisonOctober 12, 2012
    To support a great cause and go on a great tour, look no further.
  • Ting T.
    Ting TsaiAugust 4, 2013
    Pretty impressive bar selection for an architecture tour.
  • Lisa
    LisaAugust 7, 2012
    Great way to see Chicago.
  • Adam B.
    Adam BitnerJuly 3, 2010
    Worthwhile for tourists or locals, bring your camera. Booze available on board for average prices. Read more
  • Carlos B.
    Carlos BogardJuly 16, 2016
    A must tour for everyone visiting Chicago!
  • Idara U.
    Idara UdoNovember 3, 2013
    Hot chocolate and Bailey's is awesome for this cold day
  • Mad
    MadOctober 12, 2012
    Front of the boat is just fine. dress warmly!
  • Gustavo H.
    Gustavo HüningSeptember 9, 2015
    When of the best tours I've ever made.
  • Henry G.
    Henry GrayMay 11, 2014
    Don't go on hot days. You'll roast. Come when it's not too hot.
  • S
    SOctober 18, 2010
    Food and drinks sold on board but u're welcome to bring you own (non-alcoholic)
  • Cidomar B.
    Great open space tour!
  • Randy S.
    Randy SmithJuly 17, 2010
    Do NOT sit in the front of the boat. The guide talks after you pass the building. If you figure that out then all the seats are taken upstairs. VERY disappointing. They should not put chairs there.
  • Helena N.
    Helena NacinovicMay 17, 2012
    Unmissable if you are touring Chicago.
  • Daniella R.
    Daniella RSeptember 7, 2010
    This is a must do if you're visiting
  • Lynnster
    LynnsterMay 19, 2013
    Don't miss the boat :(
  • Sarah
    SarahOctober 24, 2013
    Bartender is a total jerk
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