Tours and Tickets

Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour provided by Wendella

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Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour

Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
4.5
Book in advance
from
£34.39
per adult
Reserve now & pay later: Save your spot free of charge with flexible booking.
91% of travellers recommend this experience
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
Free cancellation
Not sure? You can cancel this booking up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
Tour snapshot
Get a new viewpoint of the Chicago skyline from the waters of Lake Michigan
Duration:
1h 30m
Taking Covid-19 safety measures
Group size:
300
Stroller accessible
Ticket type:
Mobile
Free cancellation
  • Duration:
    1h 30m
  • Taking Covid-19 safety measures
  • Group size:
    300
  • Stroller accessible
  • Ticket type:
    Mobile
  • Free cancellation
About
To truly appreciate Chicago's famous skyline, admire it from the water on this top-rated Lake Michigan architecture cruise. While most sightseeing boats remain on the Chicago River, this one gives you a panoramic perspective on history-making skyscrapers including Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building, and the Wrigley Building, plus modern lakeshore attractions like Millennium Park and the Riverwalk.
Know before you go
  • Duration: 1h 30m
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Available languages
Chinese, English, Chinese
Highlights
  • Learn about the Windy City’s landmark buildings and architecture with onboard commentary
  • Glide by historic structures and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere
  • Enjoy the views from inside a climate-controlled lounge with cash bar or from an outdoor viewing deck
What to expect
Know before you go
  • Duration: 1h 30m
  • Mobile tickets accepted
  • Instant confirmation
Available languages
Chinese, English, Chinese
Cancellation policy
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Highlights
  • Learn about the Windy City’s landmark buildings and architecture with onboard commentary
  • Glide by historic structures and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere
  • Enjoy the views from inside a climate-controlled lounge with cash bar or from an outdoor viewing deck
What to expect
Need help booking?
Call the number below and use the product code: 76126P2
Important information
Inclusions
  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Entry/Admission - Wendella
Exclusions
  • Drinks and snacks available for purchase on board.
Duration
1h 30m
Departure details
  • 400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA The vessel departs and returns to Wendella's Michigan Avenue Docks located in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, at the base of the Wrigley Building. Look for the blue "Wendella" awning over the dock staircase. Descend the stairs to the river-level dock.
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Weapons prohibited by US Coast Guard
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Outside alcohol is prohibited
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Increased sanitation and hand sanitizer stations
  • Arrive 15-30 Minutes prior to your departure time
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Contact tour operator for wheelchair & ADA access
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 300 travellers
Inclusions
  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Entry/Admission - Wendella
Exclusions
  • Drinks and snacks available for purchase on board.
Departure details
  • 400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA The vessel departs and returns to Wendella's Michigan Avenue Docks located in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, at the base of the Wrigley Building. Look for the blue "Wendella" awning over the dock staircase. Descend the stairs to the river-level dock.
Duration
1h 30m
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point
Additional information
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Weapons prohibited by US Coast Guard
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Outside alcohol is prohibited
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Increased sanitation and hand sanitizer stations
  • Arrive 15-30 Minutes prior to your departure time
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Contact tour operator for wheelchair & ADA access
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 300 travellers
Travel safe during COVID-19
Last updated: 20 Jan 2022
A note from Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
All Wendella staff is vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
  • Contactless payment for gratuities and add-ons
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • Gear/equipment sanitised between use
  • Face masks required for travellers in public areas
Itinerary
  • You'll start at
    400 N Michigan Ave
    400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
    The vessel departs and returns to Wendella's Michigan Avenue Docks located in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, at the base of the Wrigley Building. Look for the blue "Wendella" awning over the dock staircase. Descend the stairs to the river-level dock.
    See address & details
  • 1
    Wendella
    Stop: 30 minutes - Admission included
    See details
  • 2
    Chicago River
    Stop: 45 minutes
    See details
  • 3
    Lake Michigan
    Stop: 45 minutes
    See details
    Pass by
    Centennial Fountain and Water Arc
    Merchandise Mart
    Marina City
    Michigan Avenue Bridge
    Wrigley Building
    Chicago Riverwalk
    The Lyric Opera House
    Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower
  • You'll return to the starting point
+
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
196 reviews
Excellent
159
Very good
20
Average
4
Poor
6
Terrible
7

Megan K
Chicago, IL11 contributions
May 2021
I have lived in Chicago for 12 years, and while I love visitors, I usually loathe what they want to drag me to do downtown. I'd much rather show them a new neighborhood, which is nearly always more interesting and less expensive than anything downtown.

The architectural boat tour is the exception. It sounds boring, and I often have to say something like, "I know it sounds nerdy, and I need you to trust me on this."

The lake & river tour usually starts by going south on the river, with gorgeous views and fun explanations of the wild architectural innovations that occurred in Chicago's history, resulting in a gorgeous downtown full of unique structures. It's so relaxing.

Plus, there's a bar.

Then, out on the lake, the wind whips (usually pleasantly), and you get the full view of the skyline, a view you can't get from anywhere but well out in the lake. There are a few tidbits the guide shares out there, but it's mostly just a comfortable cruise with incredible views.

I highly recommend checking the weather and avoiding the tour just before sunset, as from the lake, the buildings will mostly be in silhouette, dimming the many colors of the skyline.

For locals and tourists, I highly recommend spending an hour and a half loving on the city with one of these tours!
Written 9 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Micki B
Grass Lake, MI86 contributions
May 2022
Our tour announcer was WONDERFUL! She has been doing this for years and it was obvious she knows and loves Chicago as her passion was delightful. Although I had been to Chicago before, I learned so much more about the city in a wonderful way. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who would like to know about the architecture of Chicago.
Written 8 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tallulah's Mom
2 contributions
Aug 2021
August 28, 2021

My children and I took this beautiful tour for my birthday. Jack, our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the architecture and the city of Chicago. The tour ran an hour longer which we actually loved. The Chicago Harbor Lock was busy because it was a beautiful day to be out on Lake Michigan. We were allowed to bring water bottles aboard the boat, however we did purchase a couple of large Sprites which were $4.00 each and a beer that was $10.00. I would highly recommend this tour. Also, remember to tip your guide!
Written 30 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

gil123
Philadelphia243 contributions
Started out well. Cruising up and down the main branch of the river was pleasant but things went downhill from there. There were extensive delays and waiting at the locks to get from the river to the lake in both directions to the point that it was not even fun anymore. The guide said it's a common problem and that it's virtually impossible to do this tour in 90 minutes but the company keeps listing it as a 90-minute tour. One passenger, probably a little bit intoxicated, started getting rowdy and demanding to get off or a refund. Uncalled for but I understood how he felt. There was insufficient enforcement of mask wearing and several groups of young people pretty much left theirs off for the majority of the cruise. There was a speech at the beginning about masks but then no enforcement. Our tour ran nearly three hours, double the time it was billed at. Luckily we had had dinner beforehand, but anyone on the boat with plans for the evening missed them. Couldn't wait to get off the boat and would not recommend this tour due to high possibility of delays.
Written 25 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We apologize for your recent experience. Unfortunately, there are certain parts of the tour outside of our control and the Lock is one of them. While most of our tours are 90 minutes as advertising, we find we have been recently operating 5-10 minutes late. A tour being as late as you described is extremely rare and often a result of an unusual occurrence such as an emergency vessel requiring or requesting a solo lockage. Again, I apologize for the delay.
Written 27 July 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

suzieh368
6 contributions
Jul 2021 • Friends
I have done Wendella boat tours for many many years when I have friends come visit me in Chicago from out of town. I have always done the 90 minute Chicago River tour and thought it would be unique to do the Lake and River tour. First of all, we arrived 30 minutes early as the email suggested, and we got there and there was a line all the way down Michigan Avenue. By the time we got on the boat there were no seats upstairs or downstairs and my friend and I had to stand up the entire time. No biggie I thought, it’s just 90 minutes. However by the time we did board and depart, it was 30 minutes after the scheduled 3:45 departure time. The tour ended up taking over two hours and we were late for our dinner reservations. The locks took incredibly long, which I know is out of Wendella’s control, but market the tour as 2 hours, not 90 minutes.

I also was very underwhelmed by our tour guide. She didn’t give much background on the history of Chicago and architecture details like I was used to on the River tour. Also she only talked like 30% of the 2 hour tour. I was overall was very disappointed I brought my visitor on this tour during her limited time in Chicago. 2 hours of standing was truly exhausting. I’d suggest sticking to the Chicago River tour. No need to waste time on the Lake and River tour.
Written 3 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kittygal 🇺🇦 🌻
Los Angeles, CA7,167 contributions
May 2021 • Solo
I was in Chicago visiting family and decided to do this trip, as my parents had grown up in greater Chicago and talked about the fun of the excursion they enjoyed many decades ago.

The crew made sure safety and health protocols were followed in this new Covid era. Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining as we journeyed from the river to Lake Michigan and back again.

A lock system, just like in Panama or Ballard, allowes water craft to enter and exit the lake's large harbor area. We sailed along the shore as all the interesting sights (buildings, museums, water filtration plants and more) were pointed out. Then it was back up the river towards the Civic Opera House before we returned to dock by the Wrigley Building. The different architectural features of all the buildings we passed was described in fascinating detail.

The cruise is fun and informative. Theresa something refreshing about being on the water, no matter what the season. As Chicago continues to return post-Covid, this will no doubt continue to be a very popular activity.
Written 5 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Karyn K
3 contributions
Apr 2022
Learned so much about the city of Chicago! It was pretty windy and chilly on the day my mother and I went on this cruise, but our guide was entertaining and very informative. They had a bar area below deck to purchase warm drinks, which was great. Unfortunately, due to the wind, we weren't able to go out on the lake, but I preferred that rather than having an extremely bumpy ride. All in all, I'd highly recommend this tour!
Written 16 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Orion R
1 contribution
Group of friend in our 30’s and we all loved it.
The tour was awesome, amazing views. We got on the 7:00 boat. Because of traffic to get on the lake and fireworks set up, we ended up having to turn back from getting onto the lake and doing the River part first. Our tour ended up lasting 3 hours because of the delay, but we got to see the fireworks on the lake because of it.
Full bar downstairs and some snacks (chips/candy).
It did get cold and breezy especially out on the lake, glad I brought my sweater.
Written 19 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

belinda m
Portsmouth, UK497 contributions
Family with teens all had a fantastic trip out onto the lake and down the rivers on this architecture tour. The tour guide was very informative and had loads of quirky interesting facts to share. Experienced the lock before and after going onto the lake. Just the right amount of time 1.5 hours. Drinks available on board and all the staff were friendly and helpful and really safety conscious. You get to see everything so well. Love the Chicago skyline
Written 12 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chad F
Oskaloosa, IA9 contributions
I found the excursion to be lacking. We have done a river architectural tour in Chicago before and loved it. If you are interested in that kind of ride choose one that focuses only on the river cruise. Then when we hit Lake Michigan we got some nice views of the city but didn't travel very far north or south. In combining the river and lake in 90 minutes you get short changed with both.
Written 12 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 185
*Likely to sell out: Based on Viator’s booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, it seems likely this experience will sell out through Viator, a Tripadvisor company.
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: Wendella
900stewa
900stewa
00
Great perspective
This is a very informative and relaxing way to see the city from a different angle. Highly recommend!
JimCav17111
JimCav17111
00
Lots to see, good luck hearing
We liked the views but missed much of the narrative because so many passengers came to drink and talk and hear loud
Q1602LGthomasm
Q1602LGthomasm
00
Whole family loved this tour an learned alot about Chicago
Outstanding river tour that details many historical and modern aspects of Chicago. This is a definite must-do for v
Daydream41132777480
Daydream41132777480
00
Excellent tour.
Excellent tour. Our tour guide Kenneth was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. Great photo opportunities alon
rossreuvers
rossreuvers
00
A must do tour in Chicago
Really excellent Chicago tour! Incedible architecture and John had such interesting stories about the city. A must
627tessm
627tessm
00
Perfect night!
I organized a team event and it was the perfect gathering! We had superb weather and turnout 🙌🏻 Everyone provided
davidcP5766JE
davidcP5766JE
00
Highlight of our Chicago visit
This was probably the highlight of my family's recent visit to Chicago. Sitting atop the boat looking up at the bu
Rich H
Rich H
00
A must do….
Well done! Very efficient checkin, but get there about 20-30 minutes before start time. The cocktails were good
P9967ISjustins
P9967ISjustins
00
Chicago sunset
Host was great. Cruise was very educational and sunset was beautiful. Would definitely recommend to any first timer
Kathy P
Kathy P
00
Birthday trip
Was a fabulous and informative boat ride. Views was amazing! A must if you are ever in Chicago! I would definitely
Janice T
Janice T
00
Raz’s words
This tour is excellent! Tour guide could be heard clearly. Knowledgeable about all of the buildings we saw. Cold
David B
David B
00
Nice tour
The guide was knowledgeable, and the 1.5 hour tour was about the same cost as a competitor’s 45 minute tour. It we
rosieb265w
rosieb265w
00
A Must Chicago Tour
Great choice of trips as our guide Bobby did an amazing job. He explained about the designs of so many buildings in
ellief401
ellief401
00
Highly recommend
Joe was an amazing tour guide!! I was never bored and learned so much about the city. I would highly recommend this
Q8326YRstephenh
Q8326YRstephenh
00
Chicago tour
Although it was a little cold and windier than expected, we had a great time learning about the different buildings
Frequently Asked Questions about Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour


Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour price starts from £34.11. Discover and book Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour on Tripadvisor

Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour on Tripadvisor

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