Chicago River
Chicago River
4.5
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1-2 hours
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Tours & experiences
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Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Top ways to experience Chicago River
The area
Neighbourhood: Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.
How to get there
  • Clark/Lake • 3 min walk
  • Clark/Lake • 3 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
2,009 reviews
Excellent
1,495
Very good
450
Average
56
Poor
6
Terrible
3

christopherbO9687MP
Acton, MA511 contributions
The Chicago River is a great downtown highlight that accents the city. Most cities have a waterfront that forms the boundary of the city; Chicago has this River that splits the downtown with a relatively narrow divider. With the Riverwalk and all the downtown tour boats, there's always something to see traveling along the river.
Written 28 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Skyy
5 contributions
Couples
I would the riverfront a 5. We usually would stay away from downtown, but really enjoyed this experience. Everything was within walking distance.
Written 26 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bowmanator22
Charlotte, NC5,010 contributions
Solo
Beautiful view, wonderful place to walk. So many bridges to cross and take in that blue-green water! Simply no other rivers like it, and so much to do around it.
Written 22 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Janet M
5 contributions
We launched at the put in right behind REI on Kingsbury and paddled all the way to navy pier then back around south to see Chicago architecture from a different viewpoint. It was the air and water show but the weather was not great this year, so we did not see as much as in years past.

Make sure you know how to handle your kayak because some of the large sightseeing vessels make large wakes, and you definitely don't want to capsize. The river is cleaner than it used to be but still definitely not clean enough for a dip unless you want to get sick 😲

We own our own kayaks but if you don't own your one you can rent from REI or book one of their experiences with their guides. If you are a coop member you get a rental/trip discount!
Written 18 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mara E
1 contribution
Friends
Hillary (middle child) was amazing and so entertaining! 10/10 recommend. She provided more than pointing out buildings.
Written 9 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Razorfish
Little Rock, AR3,420 contributions
Business
My wife and I stayed in the Westin on the River, which is a very convenient location for many of the attractions of downtown Chicago. We thoroughly enjoyed the architectural boat tour learning about the history of the many buildings along the River. We also enjoyed the Riverwalk.
Written 1 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dolores S
3 contributions
Couples
Didn't bother going through the hassle and risk of not finding the dock area. We drove around the address given and could not find Wendella Tours the day before we thought of riding. I later called them asking for better directions and if they had any openings for the sunset tour for 2. They did but had to order $42 tickets each online or by phone in advance before attempting to park and show proof of purchase at the gate to pay a $12 fee. Then take a risk of not finding and losing our money by walking .2 miles to the boat dock via instructions and not getting there on time. Too much for seniors like us visiting for the first time. So complicated, why does it have to be?
Written 21 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

gp
Klamath Falls, OR8 contributions
Nice tour of the architecture of Chicago from the river !
The guide was full of info!
We enjoyed the descriptions of the view from the waterfront but did not receive clear instructions on how to return to our buses as we exited the boat...we were lucky and discovered the path under the pier.
Written 1 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

allison
2 contributions
the green water is pretty. worry about the aqua life. In early morning (7am) the area is quite peaceful.
Written 15 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TERRAvelista
London, UK16,832 contributions
Chicago river would not be recognisable to the 2 Frenchmen who came down the river asking the tribe people for directions: it is a beautiful river, very well maintained being much smaller than the Thames or Seine for example.

Lots of great buildings on the both sides of the river and lots of amazing places to walk to. We will be back to visit more.
Written 7 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Chicago River - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Chicago River

We recommend booking Chicago River tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 27 Chicago River tours on Tripadvisor

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