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Chicago’s First Lady Cruises
  • Service unavailable Dine-in
  • Service unavailable Takeout
  • Service unavailable Delivery
  • Service available Patio
  • All-Seasons Patio


112 E. Wacker Dr. on Chicago’s Riverwalk, Chicago IL 60601

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Welcome to the Official Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady- Chicago’s #1 tour based on TripAdvisor reviews, and the ultimate way to see Chicago from the water.

The 90-minute CAFC River Cruise is lauded as a “must-do” Chicago activity by guests who leave the cruise inspired by the city’s wide variety of architectural styles—which glide by during travel up and down all three branches of the Chicago River—including art deco, neoclassicism, mid-century modernism, and postmodernism. Guests often praise the CAFC River Cruise as the best way to see Chicago’s skyscrapers unobstructed due to the open-air, 360-degree view from each vessel’s top deck and at different angles that cannot be seen by foot.

Operated in partnership with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), the CAFC River Cruise is the only cruise narrated by CAC certified-volunteer docents. Expertly trained docents share their fascinating stories behind more than 50 buildings and 13 bascule bridges along the Chicago River, including the city’s third tallest structure, St. Regis (Vista) Tower, the refurbished riverfront Old Post Office and more. Volunteer docents undergo nearly 100 hours of rigorous training to become certified, plus an additional 12 weeks of study about Chicago’s “canyon of architecture” along the river. They join a cohort of more than 100 CAC certified-volunteer veteran docents who lend their expertise and unique perspectives to guests on the popular River Cruise.

Ticketing and 2022 Schedule

Individual tickets start at $51.96 for the daytime river cruise. Tickets for the Evening River Cruises start at $52.91. Cruises depart daily April 1- November 20 from Chicago’s Riverwalk.

Tickets can be obtained the following ways:

Bypassing the box office with e-ticket purchases at (highly recommended option due to tour popularity)

In-person at Chicago’s First Lady Cruises’ dockside box office daily, starting at 9 a.m., at 112 E. Wacker Dr., Riverwalk level

In-person at Chicago Architecture Center Box Office, Friday – Monday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 111 East Wacker Dr.

By phone at 1-800-982-2787

Groups of 10 or more may reserve in advance by contacting the Group Sales Department at or by calling 312-322-1130.

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises also offers private charter experiences aboard Lady Grebe, a vintage six-passenger yacht. Lady Grebe offers an intimate atmosphere for families, groups, visiting celebrities and more to explore the Chicago River from the comfort and privacy of their own 1961 vintage yacht. Lady Grebe’s private offerings is available for groups of 2-6 passengers and depart Friday – Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Private cruise fees begin at $595, and beverage service and a private CAC docent may be added with an additional fee.

Boarding Location and Details

The CAFC River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady departs from the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive on Chicago’s Riverwalk just three blocks north of Millennium Park. A blue awning marks the entrance to the stairway leading to the Chicago Riverwalk docking area. Discounted self-park is located at 111 East Wacker Drive. Guests with limited mobility may find an ADA ramp located at Chicago’s Riverwalk at State Street and Wacker Drive, and limited mobility drop-off directions can be found at

Health and Safety

Single Use Menus

CDC Recommended Cleaning Procedures

Hand Wash/Sanitizer Stations

Mobile Payments Accepted

Social Distancing Guidelines Enforced

No Contact Services

Wheelchair Accessible


Student Tours

Technical Tours

Incentive Programs

Step On Guides

Group Charter/Sightseeing

Complimentary PolicyPlease inquire

Motorcoach ParkingOn-site

Group Policy

Average Visit/Tour Lengthvaries

Group Capacity250

Minimum Group Number2

Maximum Group Number250

Group Discounts Available

Minimum Size for Group Admission Rate20

Miles from O'Hare Airport17.0

Miles from Midway Airport12.0

Miles from Navy Pier

Miles from McCormick Place2.0



American Express

Late Night





Student Group Friendly

Special Interest Tours Offered

Reservations Accepted


Concierge Service

ADA Compliant

Food On-siteOTHER

Airport(s) ServedORD & MDW

Open Seasonally


Buy-out Max Capacity250

Preferred Catering Providers

Number of Meeting Rooms5

Largest Room, Theater Capacity250

Largest Room, Reception Capacity (Standing)250

Largest Room, Classroom Capacity250

Largest Room, Banquet Capacity (Seated)125

Largest Room, Max Capacity250

On-Site Catering

On-site Audio/Visual Equipment

In-house/Exclusive Caterer(s)

Complete Buy-out Available

Max Capacity, Theater Style250

Max Capacity, Reception Style (Standing)250

Max Capacity, Classroom Style125

Max Capacity, Banquet Style (Seated)125

Max Venue Capacity850

Private Meeting Space Available

Max Restaurant Capacity250

Private Dining Available

Group Menu

Group Breakfast Available


Box Lunches Available

Green Seal Certified

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