Chicago boat tours

Chicago Architecture Boat Tours: 10 Boat Tours in Chicago to Take This Summer

Walks along Chicago's lakefront are memorable, and rooftop bars provide plenty of picturesque views — but one of the best ways in the summer to see the city is from the deck of a boat.

Views of the city's world-famous architecture and the Chicago skyline are captured when cruising either the Chicago River or Lake Michigan, with many tours providing unique insights into the city's culture and history.

Here's a roundup of different Chicago boat tours to take this summer, a favorite thing to do in the city among tourists and locals alike.

Skyline Lake Tour

A 40-minute tour on Lake Michigan featuring views from landmarks such as the Willis Tower, 875 N. Michigan (the former John Hancock Building), Aqua Tower, the St. Regis Chicago and more.

Tickets range from $26 to $29 for adults, $10 to $12 for children, and free for children 2 and under.

For more information click here.

Chicago Architecture Center - Chicago's First Lady 

The 90-minute tour on the Chicago River includes indoor and outdoor seating, a full-service bar and snack bar, and detailed storytelling of Chicago's many architectural styles and stories.

Tickets range from $51, for a daytime river cruise to $55 for an evening cruise.

For more information click here.

Chicago Skyline Sail

A scenic 75-minute cruise around Lake Michigan on a traditional tall ship. Choose between the Pirates and Maritime Stories Tour at 1 p.m., the Architectural and Skyline Tour at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and the Sunset and Skyline Tour at 7 p.m.

Tickets start at $39 for those 13 and older, $17 for ages 2-12 and $1 for infants.

For more information click here.

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

A 90-minute history tour on the Chicago River from the comfort of an open-deck boat with views of the Civic Opera House, Wrigley Building, Willis Tower and more.

Adult tickets start at $49. Tickets for students under 18, Seniors, Military, Veterans, COVID-19 Healthcare Workers, and First Responders are $25.

For more information click here.

Lake Michigan Fireworks Cruise

Every Wednesday and Saturday night, get up close and personal with the fireworks over Lake Michigan. 

The cruise lasts two hours and tickets start at $50 for adults, $20.00 for children (4-12), and free for children 4 and under.

For more information click here.

Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride

A 30-minute speed boat tour of Chicago along Lake Michigan, including views of the city skyline and several landmarks along the way.

Tickets start at $36 for adults and $25 for children (ages 3-12 years). Infants under 3 are free.

For more information click here.

Chicago Urban Adventure River and Lake Cruise

A scenic 90-minute cruise along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan shoreline with views of Chicago landmarks like the Marina City, the Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower and Navy Pier.

Prices start at $42 for adults, $18 for children aged 5 to 15, and free for children under 5.

For more information click here.

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

On this 75-minute tour, you'll see the 360 Chicago Observation Deck, Willis (Sears) Tower, Wrigley Building, and Lyric Opera House, as well as buildings created by famed architects Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill.

Adult tickets are $43-$47, children 3-12 are $24-$28, and children 2 and under are free.

For more information click here.

Chicago 3D Fireworks Cruise

A two-hour 3D Fireworks Cruise sailing every week from the Chicago Riverwalk on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer months. Enjoy a musical soundtrack and a firework display while wearing complimentary "3D" glasses.

Prices start at $45 for adults, $20 for children ages 5-5, and free for children under 5.

For more information click here.

45-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour from Magnificent Mile

A 45-minute architectural family-friendly tour that features live commentary about Chicago's history and architectural legacy, as well as landmarks such as the Chicago Riverwalk, Michigan Avenue Bridge, Wrigley Building, and Willis Tower.

Adult tickets start at $25.00, children (4-12) are $10.00, and children under 4 are free (ticket required).

For more information click here.

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