Tours and Tickets
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
4.5

Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour

By Wendella
Recommended by 91% of travellers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
To truly appreciate Chicago's famous skyline, admire it from the water on this top-rated Lake Michigan architecture cruise. While most sightseeing boats remain on the Chicago River, this one gives you a panoramic perspective on history-making skyscrapers including Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building, and the Wrigley Building, plus modern lakeshore attractions like Millennium Park and the Riverwalk.
from
€39.72
per adult
from
€39.72
per adult

Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 300 per group
Duration: 1h 30m
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Chinese, English

Highlights
  • Get a new viewpoint of the Chicago skyline from the waters of Lake Michigan
  • Learn about the Windy City’s 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
What's not included
  • Drinks and snacks available for purchase on board.


Departure details
  • 400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA NW corner of the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge. Descend stairs next to the Wendella Logo awning to the river level. Dock is located at the bottom of the stairs. Parking is located at 430 N Rush St. Validate your parking at the Wendella ticket office which gives you 12 hours of parking for $12.
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point

  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 76126P2

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Weapons prohibited by US Coast Guard
  • Outside alcohol is prohibited
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Arrive 30 Minutes prior to your departure time
  • Contact tour operator for wheelchair & ADA access
  • Indoor and outdoor seating is available on a first come, first served basis
  • Most travellers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 300 travellers

  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Contactless payment for gratuities and add-ons
  • Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.

Which attractions will I visit with Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?
How much is Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour price starts from €38.60. Discover and book Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour on Tripadvisor
What is the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour cancellation policy?
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour on Tripadvisor
Which company provides Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour is hosted by Wendella. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Wendella on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour on Tripadvisor

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 76126P2

Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    400 N Michigan Ave
    400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
    NW corner of the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge. Descend stairs next to the Wendella Logo awning to the river level. Dock is located at the bottom of the stairs. Parking is located at 430 N Rush St. Validate your parking at the Wendella ticket office which gives you 12 hours of parking for $12.
    See address & details
  • 1
    Wendella
    Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included
    See details
  • 2
    Chicago River
    Stop: 45 minutes
    See details
  • 3
    Lake Michigan
    Stop: 45 minutes
    See details
    Pass by
    Centennial Fountain And Water Arc
    Merchandise Mart
    Marina City
    Michigan Avenue Bridge
    Wrigley Building
    Chicago Riverwalk
    The Lyric Opera House
    Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower
  • You'll return to the starting point
+
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

V9139HXlindat
V9139HXlindat
00
Great boat tour
Amazing boat tour experience. Honestly, I booked this boat tour just to sight see but the tour guide talking about
ldhp
ldhp
00
Great tour!
Weather was perfect and the sunshine made the glass buildings glow. Took my 8 year old grandson along and he enjoy
WMT1997
WMT1997
00
Great Family Trip
Great ride with family for our first trip to Chicago! This is a must do tour if this is your first time experienc
stephaniez102
stephaniez102
00
Fabulous tour!
We loved this tour. It was so informative and a great way to see different parts of the city. The tour personnel
lanicceh
lanicceh
00
Great fun
Saw great architecture all while comfortably seated. Great tour great price and something really fun and inexpensiv
Lemon_burst
Lemon_burst
00
Will go again
Will likely go again the next time I'm in Chicago! Just very warmly in winter. It's a waste to go to Chicago and no
KenF1619
KenF1619
00
Fabulous informative trip!
Loved this tour. Perfect way to see the city. Everyone was helpful and knowledgeable. Lots of seating and drinks a
Ruth M
Ruth M
00
Must-do tour
Excellent way as time poor visitors to get a grounding & feeling for Chicago. Informative guides, interesting facts
Extraordinary746061
Extraordinary746061
00
Not a tour for winter
We did the winter because it had a heated cabin. You can’t see a thing from there so if you are not willing to put
SabiaC
SabiaC
00
Lovely experience
If not by the low temperature and the wind, this tour would be perfect. Lovely buildings, well explained by the gui
Discover719885
Discover719885
00
Nice experience, great history and architecture
The host was knowledgable and the cruise was nice, definitely worth it. It was a cloudy night when I did it, but th
Luis R
Luis R
00
A must do!
Great experience! Highly recommend! The tour is great and very informative, specially for history buffs
F7111FGjonathana
F7111FGjonathana
00
Nice January Cruise
Very interesting and informative tour of the city with lots of photo opportunities. Tour guide had great stories an
311camiloj
311camiloj
00
Good!
Nice experience, i recomend not to do it in winter season, for all the rest is such a good experience.
Susan C
Susan C
00
Beautiful and interesting tour
This was one of the highlights of our trip. Sure, it was cold, but the guide was very knowledgeable, easy to under
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
304 reviews
Excellent
247
Very good
30
Average
9
Poor
8
Terrible
10

Donna K
Toronto, Canada553 contributions
Aug 2022
A difficult choice to make on choosing which Architecture Boat Tour to book. We made the right choice. First time to Chicago and on our first full day of sightseeing decided to see two sides of the Chicago landscape from the Lake and River with Wendella Cruises. It is a 90 minute boat tour but lasts longer as there is usually a wait at the locks to open with all the boat traffic. They recommend coming to the loading dock 15 minutes to 1/2 hour earlier than your boarding time. We came 1 hour earlier and were first in line but just a few minutes later people started to line up. So if you want a seat on the outside upper deck and the preferred seating on the right side of the boat then line up early. Most of what is explained is the buildings on the right side preferably in the middle rows. I found the back rows are to close to the noisy motor. The sound system can be muffled and people at the back could not hear the guide Phyllis until she higher the volume. Phyllis told us she has been doing this tour for 37 years. She gave very interesting commentary throughout the boat ride with a break in between to get alcoholic drinks, soda, or snacks. Soda from the fountain is reasonable at $2.00. They do check everyone's bags and purses before entering the boat. I did have a water bottle with me and they did not say anything.
Written 22 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Megan K
Chicago, IL11 contributions
May 2021
I have lived in Chicago for 12 years, and while I love visitors, I usually loathe what they want to drag me to do downtown. I'd much rather show them a new neighborhood, which is nearly always more interesting and less expensive than anything downtown.

The architectural boat tour is the exception. It sounds boring, and I often have to say something like, "I know it sounds nerdy, and I need you to trust me on this."

The lake & river tour usually starts by going south on the river, with gorgeous views and fun explanations of the wild architectural innovations that occurred in Chicago's history, resulting in a gorgeous downtown full of unique structures. It's so relaxing.

Plus, there's a bar.

Then, out on the lake, the wind whips (usually pleasantly), and you get the full view of the skyline, a view you can't get from anywhere but well out in the lake. There are a few tidbits the guide shares out there, but it's mostly just a comfortable cruise with incredible views.

I highly recommend checking the weather and avoiding the tour just before sunset, as from the lake, the buildings will mostly be in silhouette, dimming the many colors of the skyline.

For locals and tourists, I highly recommend spending an hour and a half loving on the city with one of these tours!
Written 9 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris F
Blacklick, OH2 contributions
Architure tour on the river cruise and trip through the lock onto Lake Michigan was fun and informative. Tour guide kept the crowd engaged even though with river traffic and short delays at the lock made us about a half hour late. Since it was July 4th weekend, they expected delays and they conscientiously warned us before we left giving people an opportunity to leave if they needed to.
Great information about the City and the buildings and now I want to learn more about the architecture and I'm considering a land-based architecture tour the next time I'm in Chicago.
Written 3 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Patti E
Bethlehem, PA10 contributions
Aug 2022
We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and Joe our guide rocked it! He was a book of knowledge about the architecture and the city in general and made it fun to listen to him educate us. I would highly recommend the river/lake tour, which gave us a different perspective of the skyline seeing from the lake. You wont be disappointed!!
Written 28 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tisha399
Tampa, FL380 contributions
The boat seemed way overbooked. So many people having loud conversations the narration was very hard to hear. Waited in line for 45 minutes for water and sodas. One poor guy was doing all the work alone. I missed being outside due to line. The female narrating was enthused and I’m sure did a great job but the crowd ruined it.
Written 3 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

tjibbs
Olmsted Falls, OH118 contributions
We had Jack as our tour guide. Normally on these cruises, I tune the narrator out and just take in the scenery and socialize, but he was a fountain of knowledge and information, told with touches of humor and wit. Seriously, I learned a ton on this 90-minute ride. Glad we chose the lake version over the 90-minute River-only option, as Jack could elaborate on much of the shoreline architecture. Well worth the money we spent for this cruise.
Written 12 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jacqui
Janesville, WI1 contribution
This was a great tour. Very nice boat with upper deck seating and lower enclosed deck with air conditioning, restrooms, and a bar. The tour guide did a great job talking about Chicago and its architectural features.

It was a little tricky to find. You can access directly from lower Michigan. If you’re on upper Michigan, look for a cart with the Wendella logo. It’s right at the top of stairs that leads to lower Michigan, right where the boat is docked. We took an elevator down, but it went to the wrong area, to different boats.

Be aware that our tour ran longer than the stated 90 minutes. It started at 1:00 and should have finished at 2:30. We didn’t return to dock until almost 3:00. I reserved my parking spot until 3:00 which should have been plenty of time, given it was a five minute walk to the boat. We rushed getting off the boat once it docked but we were one minute late, causing an extra charge that almost doubled our parking cost.
Written 8 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Micki B
Grass Lake, MI91 contributions
May 2022
Our tour announcer was WONDERFUL! She has been doing this for years and it was obvious she knows and loves Chicago as her passion was delightful. Although I had been to Chicago before, I learned so much more about the city in a wonderful way. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who would like to know about the architecture of Chicago.
Written 8 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tallulah's Mom
2 contributions
Aug 2021
August 28, 2021

My children and I took this beautiful tour for my birthday. Jack, our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the architecture and the city of Chicago. The tour ran an hour longer which we actually loved. The Chicago Harbor Lock was busy because it was a beautiful day to be out on Lake Michigan. We were allowed to bring water bottles aboard the boat, however we did purchase a couple of large Sprites which were $4.00 each and a beer that was $10.00. I would highly recommend this tour. Also, remember to tip your guide!
Written 30 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LPVacation2014
Minneapolis, MN38 contributions
We’ve been on other Chicago Lake & River Architecture tours and this was by far the worst. The tour guide gave zero info on the actual architecture. It was one big advertisement for hotel after hotel, the zoo, the planetarium, Navy Pier, etc. All great things but I didn’t pay $ for a brochure of what to do. I’ve done enough in Chicago and been on enough boat tours to know how cool this city is and how rich the history is and how that led to a variety of architecture and fascinating history. Do not advertise this as a architecture tour! This is just a boat ride with drinks and a guid obnoxiously talking about absolutely nothing the whole time.

*Mic drop
Written 10 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hello. I'd love to get more information about this experience. Our Tour Guides are trained to teach about the architecture, history and Chicago itself. Not sure how we ignore Navy Pier, or the planetarium or even the zoo in the process? While I appreciate that you are well versed in Chicago's architecture due to the amount of boat rides you've taken, I'm afraid I have to take issue with you assessment of our guides and tours.
Written 13 September 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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2023 Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour provided by Wendella