Explore the Chicago Riverwalk

Captain a kayak, kick back on an architecture cruise or listen to live music in a wine garden along the scenic Chicago River.

Head to the Chicago Riverwalk and join in the season opening celebration, held May 18-20, featuring entertainment and family-friendly activities. Located on the south bank of the Chicago River, the pedestrian-friendly Chicago Riverwalk stretches from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street. Along the way you’ll uncover riverside surprises, from breezy cafes to kayak tours and sightseeing cruises.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum ©Ranvestel Photographic

Get a different perspective on Chicago history at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Enter the historic bridgehouse at river level and marvel at the massive gears that power Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue Bridge. Then make your way five stories up as you learn about the city’s movable bridges and the storied Chicago River. Your reward for making it to the top is an amazing 360-degree panorama of the city and river.


Chicago Riverwalk ©Ranvestel Photographic

For an astounding view from the water, hop on the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. Voted one of the top 10 tours in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, this popular 90-minute cruise is narrated by CAF-certified docents who point out more than 50 architectural gems along the Chicago River. As you pass by you’ll hear about the design giants who shaped the city’s world-famous skyline. 

Dine aboard the Odyssey Chicago River. Set to open in summer 2018, this single-level, glass-enclosed boat will ply the waters of the Chicago River and serve three-course brunch, lunch and dinner menus. Sip a craft cocktail and soak in the amazing city view.

Shoreline Brew Cruise

Kick back and watch the awesome scenery of the city unfold before your eyes on a themed sightseeing cruise that begins on the Chicago River and makes its way out onto the cool blue waters of Lake Michigan.Join the two-hour Wendella Sightseeing’s Wine & Cheese Cruise and sample a variety of sweet and savory wine and artisan cheese pairings from Pastoral. Or book a 90-minute Shoreline Brew Cruise, where you can sample craft beers and creative appetizers while listening to a live DJ. Take your pup along on summer weekends during Mercury’s Canine Cruise. Leashed pooches are welcome to sit with their owners and listen to a lively narration of Chicago’s history with dog-friendly highlights. Water bowls are included!

Get out onto the Chicago River with Urban Kayaks. Families and first-timers will want to take the Intro Paddle at Riverwalk, a one-hour lesson that’s a great option for paddlers new to the Chicago River. For more advanced kayakers, the 1.5-hour Historic Chicago Tour is a guided excursion along the Chicago River’s main branch. Either way, you can’t beat the rush of kayaking right in the middle of downtown Chicago.


City Winery at Chicago Riverwalk

For the quintessential Chicago Riverwalk dining experience, grab a seat in the wine garden of City Winery Chicago Riverwalk and try a glass of the house Riverwalk White or Rosé. Watch the boats glide by and do some serious people watching as you listen to live music and snack on Mediterranean bites like the dolmades stuffed with rice, mint and spices. 

Get into the tropical vibe of Island Party Hut Tiki Bar and Grill. Listen to live island music as you sample slow-smoked pulled pork and quench your thirst with a refreshing fruity cocktail. Or grab a seat under one of the bright yellow umbrella-topped tables and munch on a cheeseburger sided with a vodka lemonade at O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café. At Tiny Tapp Riverwalk, pair a gourmet slider with a craft cocktail.

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