Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady

Chicago, United States
Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicagos First Lady

From $57.00

Select Date and Travelers

You will not receive a refund if you cancel.
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Offered in: English


Enjoy a quintessential Chicago experience when you go on an architecture-themed river tour. Pick from multiple convenient start times, and board your vessel—the Lady Liberty—directly from the Chicago Riverwalk. Your trained docent guides will give you a rich introduction to the Windy City’s history, key landmarks, and architectural highlights—and you can spy landmarks like the Marina City towers and Navy Pier from the water’s edge.
  • See a new perspective on the Windy City when you sail the Chicago River
  • Multiple departure times are available to suit your schedule
  • Discover key Chicago landmarks like Navy Pier and Marina City
  • Learn all about the city’s highlights and heritage from your docent guide

What's Included

  • Live commentary on board
  • Local guide (docents)
  • River sightseeing cruise
  • Drinks & light snacks (available to purchase)
  • Storage for luggage

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 112 E Wacker Dr
    112 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

    On Chicago's Riverwalk at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. Please use 112 E. Wacker for GPS navigation. Look for our blue awning at street level on the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive.

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Chicago River

1 hour 30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Chicago Architecture Center (Pass By)

Navy Pier (Pass By)

Marina City (Pass By)

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago (Pass By)

330 N Wabash Ave (Pass By)

150 N Riverside Plaza (Pass By)

100 N Riverside Plaza (Pass By)

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower (Pass By)

Merchandise Mart (Pass By)

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) (Pass By)

Chicago Tribune Freedom Center (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Not recommended for children younger than 12 years
  • Service animals allowed
  • Routes, specific vessels, and schedules are subject to change without notice
  • All seating is General Admission. Boarding is on a first come, first serve basis
  • Near public transportation
  • Most, but not all, departures are wheelchair accessible, please advise at time of booking if wheelchair assistance is required
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
  • Pets are not allowed
  • Most travelers can participate
  • WARNING: Tickets are not refundable or transferrable to other departures.
  • IMPORTANT: For safety reasons, motorized scooters and electric wheelchairs cannot be accommodated. Guests who are able to transfer may use the company's manual wheelchair based on availability.
  • This tour is available in recorded form in 4 languages: Continental French, Latin American Spanish, Japanese and Korean. To access these languages, please download the "Listen Everywhere" app in advance. Once you are on board the boat, the app will connect and allow you to listen in your selected language as the boat makes its way down the river.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 250 travelers

Cancellation Policy

This experience is non-refundable and cannot be changed for any reason. If you cancel or ask for an amendment, the amount you paid will not be refunded.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.

      Filter by:

      Q:Where is the departure point for the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:The cruise departs from the scenic dockside along Chicago’s Riverwalk; 3 blocks north of Millennium Park and steps from The Magnificent Mile. The entrance to the Riverwalk dock is street level on the northeast corner of Michigan Ave. and Wacker Dr.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Is there parking available for the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:The nearest parking facility is LAZ Parkins Garage at 111 E Wacker Dr. This garage is directly across the street from the stairway to the dock and next door to the Chicago Architecture Center. There is a fee for parking.

      Apr 2021

      Q:How early should I arrive for my Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your cruise departure time - allow extra time in summer!

      Apr 2021

      Q:What should I bring with me on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Bring your sunglasses, cap, or visor, as the sun can interfere with your view of the buildings.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Can I purchase food/drinks while onboard the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Yes - there is a full bar available onboard.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Is the seating assigned during the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:No - All seating is general admission. While seat numbers are printed on the tickets, you can ignore these as they are not valid.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Are there restrooms available during the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Yes, all the boats have restrooms onboard. Please note: the restrooms close 15 minutes before the end of the tour for safety reasons.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Can I bring luggage with me on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Due to security reasons, luggage cannot be brought on board. There is not an area to store your luggage dockside either. Please leave your luggage at your hotel.

      Apr 2021

      Q:Can I bring a stroller with me on the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:Yes, you can bring a stroller onboard. Children must be removed from strollers before boarding. Strollers will be folded and stored in the salon during the cruise.

      Apr 2021

      Q:What happens if it rains on the date of my Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady?

      A:All sailings go out rain or shine. All the boats have two levels – the top deck is open-air, and the lower deck is an enclosed, climate-controlled salon. Each salon is surrounded by large windows so you can stay comfortable while taking in the views.

      Apr 2021

      Traveler Photos

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      Featured review
      This tour was recommended by a professor at Notre Dame while we were at a football game. We mentioned that we had a free day to explore the city and she adamantly said that this was a tour we could not miss. She was so right! Thank you to the staff and docent who did a wonderful job.


      1,553 reviews
      Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
      Reviews by Viator travelers.
      Showing 1-10 of 1,553 reviews
      Don't Miss Booking "Chicago Architecture River Cruise" ~ A Perfect Afternoon
      Maureen_D, Sep 2023
      What an amazing afternoon spent w/Docent Mark L (and crew) aboard the First Lady Architecture Cruise (Sept 23, 3PM). It was truly the best tour I have ever taken due to Mark L's knowledge, his engaging personality and enthusiasm for this beautiful City of Chicago! Seven family members were completely engrossed, educated and entertained during his marvelous presentation. The conclusion of the tour with a complete view of the skyline made for some gorgeous photo opportunities. It was obvious that Mark L loves and is passionate about his role. I would definitely do a repeat of this tour on my next trip to Chicago and book thru Viator - so easy to book online and everything went smoothly.
      There are a lot of different tour out there
      jen_t, Sep 2023
      My 4th architecture tour first time with this company. People fell asleep. The leader was a volunteer which os great that she was doing that but there was no entertainment. Did talk about the Chicago fire, the ceres building, or anything else about Chicago. Just focused a lot on dates.
      Cannot say enough pluses, go on this tour!!
      Bill_H, Sep 2023
      Docent was fantastic, believe her name was Lacy. Knew every building architecture, plus builder.. greeted passengers prior to leaving dock and wove their state into narrative, great PR
      Exceptional Experience -Thanks, Bob!
      Michelle_G, Sep 2023
      Bob was exceptional in describing the history, art and science of Chicago's architecture during our tour. He was knowledgeable, engaging and entertaining, and we learned so much! I grew up in the suburbs and have not taken an architectural boat tour since I was in grade school. I I hope to make this an annual tradition. Thanks, CAC, for all you do and thanks, Chicago's First Lady, for an unforgettable experience. I'll be back!
      A must do!!
      Jo_S, Sep 2023
      Fantastic, informative and fun. The tour guide was so knowledgeable and made the trip entertaining and enjoyable.
      Best Architectural Boat Tour in Chicago
      Judith_L, Sep 2023
      The docent was very knowledgeable and had a sense of humor. Boat very clean and captain very friendly. Would highly recommend this trip and I will be doing it again in the future.
      Paulette_T, Sep 2023
      This is not to be missed if you’re coming to Chicago. Excellent tour and narrative. The river cruise was spectacular.
      No skyline like Chicago Class
      Bonnie_C, Sep 2023
      The lecturer was so pleasant and knowledgeable. She spoke nonstop for at least ninety minutes without being annoying.
      Karen_F, Sep 2023
      The tour docent Chris was amazing and provided many interesting and hisorical details. The tour exceeded all expectations.
      Very Informative Tour
      Mary_M, Sep 2023
      The tour guide (Tim) was very informative. He gave an exceptional tour of Chicago's famous riverfront buildings!
      Fabulous guide, weather, boat!
      Iris_M, Sep 2023
      We had a wonderful experience on the 1:30 tour on the First Lady yesterday! The weather was gorgeous and the boat comfortable. Most importantly, our guide, Bob, was amazing! How did he remember all those facts about the history of the buildings? His love for the city was obvious which only added to the narrative! We'll be back again next year!!!
      Great tour!
      Liz_S, Sep 2023
      The tour guide was terrific! The experience along with the information was well put together and interesting.
      A CAC River Tour Is Absolutely Top Notch
      Esteban_S, Sep 2023
      This was our third architectural river tour, but the first with this provider. Absolutely, this tour by CAC is the most informative and most comfortable tour of any other provider we have used. The process of converting vouchers into tickets was easy, as was the boarding process. In addition to water level and upper open seating, the "Queen" ships offer seating directly at the front of the ship for a truly magnificent view. The loudspeakers are spaced perfectly and the docent providing narrative was well-spoken, clear, and easy to addition to being most informative. The boat was clean and the bathrooms spotless. A most enjoyable adventure.
      Very good way to learn...
      Sharon_C, Sep 2023
      Very good way to learn about the different buildings. On a sunny day it was a lovely way to see Chicago.
      Well Worth the Cost
      Carmen_L, Sep 2023
      Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and made the tour very interesting. Without her expertise, my husband and I would have missed much of the remarkable architecture in Chicago!
      Fun way to spend an hour or so
      Brook_T, Sep 2023
      Fun and educational. Great narration and friendly crew. The buildings were very interesting and took you through different architectural periods.
      Allie_W, Sep 2023
      Mary Jo is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It’s great learning about the history and architecture of the city, best way to see it!
      Learning so much was never so fun!
      Lisa_H, Sep 2023
      An information packed tour given by a knowledgeable, well-spoken guide as we floated up and down the Chicago river, enjoying the sights, taking photos and experiencing the best of Chicago has to offer.
      Steve was great!!!
      Steve_S, Sep 2023
      Volunteer Tour guide was excellent!!! His name was Steve and a retired orthopedic surgeon. If you can get him then it will be an excellent tour!!!
      First time visiting...
      AnnaMarie_M, Sep 2023
      First time visiting Chicago, and this event was recommended highly. It did not disappoint. Our host / commentator Mary was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Loved it!

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