You know you need to go on a Chicago cruise, but which one is best for you? Use this guide to some of our most popular boat tours to pick your experience. 

Admire the architecture with Chicago's First Lady

Chicago's First Lady Custom Content Hero Image

Around the world, Chicago is known for its outstanding architecture, and it's easiest to admire the city's legacy from the water. By partnering with the Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago's First Lady offers the most comprehensive tour of the skyline — docents must train 100 hours before they can lead tours. In 2018, MONEY Magazine named the tour the most popular attraction in Illinois. 

Learn the city's history with Chicago Line Cruises

Since Chicago was established by Jean DuSable, the Chicago River has played an important role in the city's development as a whole. On this tour, see exclusive photos from the Chicago History Museum archives, review the history of the Great Chicago Fire, and listen to stories about how the city we know today came into being. Complimentary coffee, tea and cookies are provided. 

Chicago Line Cruises also offers Chicago Architecture, Cocktail, and Architecture and Firework Cruises. 

Entertain the family with Wendella Boats

Wendella Cruises Chicago boat tour

For three generations, Wendella has been cruising the Chicago water waters. With its variety of tour options, cruise times and lengths, and a heated, enclosed cabin, Wendella is a great choice for families looking for flexibility. 

Wendella also offers a variety of cruise options, including wine and cheese, beer and BBQ, and holiday specialty cruises. See all options here

Watch the fireworks aboard Mercury Cruises

Mercury Firework Cruise@Adam Alexander

While Chicago's summer fireworks are already fun to watch, it's an entirely new experience when you're on a 3D tour. Before the show, you'll cruise around the lake and see some of Chicago's famous landmarks. 

Mercury Cruises also offer Urban Adventure, Canine and Chicago by Night tours. 

Check out Chinatown via Chicago Water Taxi

water taxi@ Adam Alexander Photography

Hop on! The Chicago Water Taxi will pick you up at one of its stops in the Loop, turn down the Chicago River's south branch, and drop you off at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. Features of the park include Chinese landscaping; a playground; a field house with swimming pool, fitness center, and patio with skyline views; walking paths by the river; and a boat house offering kayak rentals.

Speed across Lake Michigan on SeaDog Extreme Thrill Rides

Seadog Lakefront Speedboat Rides Return! - Image

Are you up for a thrill? Race across Lake Michigan on SeaDog Cruises at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, taking complete 360-degree turns. You'll go through slalom runs, sharp turns and feel the power of two 1400 HP engines on the water. 

SeaDog also offers lakefront speedboat tours, and a river and lake architecture tour. 

See it all with Shoreline Cruises

Shoreline Sightseeing

One of Chicago's classic cruise options, Shoreline Sightseeing covers all the bases. They offer classic lake, architecture and fireworks options, plus specialty cruises and holiday events.

Dine on the water with Odyssey Cruises

Odyssey River Cruise

Odyssey dining cruises have always been a stunning way to treat yourself or create a memorable moment in Chicago, but their brand new boat brings the fine dining experience to the Chicago River. The glass-enclosed vessel offers passengers panoramic views of some of the city's most iconic buildings.

Live in luxury aboard Free Spirit Yacht Cruises

Free Spirit Yachts

Looking to splurge a little? These private yacht charters are the way to go. The spacious yachts comfortably fit up to 49 or 120 people, making them the perfect option for a large celebration or an intimate gathering. Premium bar and catering packages round out the experience.

Explore the Chicago River with Urban Kayaks 

River Walk - Kayaks@ Ranvestel Photography

If you're ready to ditch the captain and pioneer the Chicago River on your own, then it's time to grab a paddle at Urban Kayaks. You'll go through a brief training session before you hit the water, but you're free to travel at your own pace. 

Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 642-4600

Mystic Blue Cruises
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 957-2634

Seadog Cruises
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 345-3880

Chicago Line Cruises
Ogden Slip
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-2002

Wendella Sightseeing Boats
400 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-1446

Chicago Architecture Center
224 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 922-3432

Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline
112 E. Wacker Dr. on Chicago's Riverwalk
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 332-1353

Odyssey Lake Michigan
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 957-2634

Spirit of Chicago
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 957-2634

Shoreline Sightseeing Company
Navy Pier
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 222-9328

Chicago's First Lady Cruises
112 E. Wacker Dr. on Chicago's Riverwalk
Chicago, IL 60601
(847) 358-1330

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