Eat, drink and play along Chicago's new Riverwalk. The six-block expansion project should be complete by the end of 2016. Here's what you need to know:
1. It's a grown-up playground.
The pedestrian-friendly stretch is perfect for a mid-day waterside break or a romantic date night stroll.
Hit the Island Party Hut Tiki Bar for live island music, grilled eats and refreshing Riverwalk Ramblers and Margaritas. Book a charter on an Island Party Boat and chill on the upper deck or whoosh down the water slide for a swim in the lake.
Head to the Fishing Pier and cast a line. That's right - downtown fishing (with a proper fishing license) is encouraged!
Bird watcher? The amount of urban feathered flocking that happens here is astounding. Spot mallards, ring-billed and herring gulls, rock pigeons, American robins and European starlings swooping among skyscrapers. The people watching isn't bad either.
Join the Chicago Audubon Society for "Birds of the Chicago Riverwalk" walks August 5, September 2, and October 7.
Have the kids in tow? Splash around in the zero depth fountain and rec area dubbed The Water Plaza. It's opening later this year.
2. It's easy to get out on the water.
The Riverwalk is a hands-on recreational experience. Call on Urban Kayaks for Chicago River kayak tours and rentals.
Float on a Chicago Water Taxi to seven dock locations while you take in the sights. Book an outing with family-owned Wendella Sightseeing for Chicago's Original Architecture Tour®.
Or sign up for a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises and hear the stories behind the city's most significant buildings.
3. It makes for a great lunch or happy hour date.
City Winery Chicago at the Riverwalk is a grand spot with six house-made wines on tap, free live music Thursdays to Sundays, and an outdoor wine garden.
A new barbecue-focused Riverwalk dining spot, Tiny Hatt offers free live music Monday and Wednesday evenings.
Lillie's Park Grill serves grab-and-go eats to be enjoyed along benches in The Cove and River Theatre sections of the Riverwalk.
And Dulce in Horto will sell cupcakes, cookies and brownies as the Chicago Riverwalk's first movable vending cart.
4. It's broken down into six very unique blocks.
And each has its own nickname, landscaping and offerings.
The Marina focuses on restaurants, retail and public seating.
The Cove accommodates kayak rentals and watercraft docking.
The Water Plaza (opening later this year) will offer a cool zero-depth fountain.
The Jetty (opening later this year) will feature floating gardens and piers for fishing.
The River Theater is a passageway from Upper Wacker to the Riverwalk.
The Boardwalk (opening later this year) will be surrounded by floating gardens.
5. It's a lesson in ecology.
Visit the educational Jetty area and learn about how the Chicago River works and the ecology behind it. Don't miss the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum for a lesson in engineering.
Explore more of the Chicago Riverwalk.