Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour

Badge of ExcellenceChicago, United States
Lake and River Architecture Tour
Likely to Sell Out

From $42.00

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Step aboard a boat for a comprehensive cruise that details the history of Chicago's architecture. Enjoy views of the Chicago skyline accompanied by architecture-focused commentary that points out each of the landmark buildings. As you cruise through Lake Michigan, snap photos of you and your party against the stretch of Chicago's 26-mile shoreline.
  • Comprehensive architectural tour
  • Live commentary on Chicago's architectural gems
  • Travel by boat along the Lake Michigan shoreline
  • Buy tickets in advance for this must-do Chicago activity

What's Included

  • All taxes, fees and handling charges
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 400 N Michigan Ave
    400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

    Arrive at 400 N Michigan Avenue 30 minutes before your departure and you will be directed to your boarding dock. Please allow yourself plenty of time to arrive if driving. We do not have parking. It is recommend that you book parking in advance.

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect


30 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Chicago River

45 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Lake Michigan

45 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Centennial Fountain And Water Arc (Pass By)

Merchandise Mart (Pass By)

Marina City (Pass By)

Michigan Avenue Bridge (Pass By)

Wrigley Building (Pass By)

Chicago Riverwalk (Pass By)

The Lyric Opera House (Pass By)

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower (Pass By)

Additional Info

  • 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
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Outside alcohol is prohibited
  • All bags are subject to search
  • Arrive 30 Minutes prior to your departure time
  • Contact tour operator for wheelchair & ADA access
  • Indoor and outdoor seating is available on a first come, first served basis
  • Special requests entered at checkout cannot be guaranteed
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 300 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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Q:Where do we meet for the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:We are located at 400 N Michigan Avenue at the historic Wrigley Building. Wendella has four dock locations that extend west from the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge to Wabash Avenue.

Apr 2021

Q:Is there parking available for the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:There are two parking garages near the departure point: AMA Plaza parking at 401 N. State Street and InterPark Public Parking at 430 N. Rush St. (Parking fees apply at both locations.)

Apr 2021

Q:Is the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour handicap accessible?

A:We operate 3 boats with wheelchair lifts between decks. All our boats can accommodate wheelchairs & have toilets that are ADA compliant. For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, a written script of the narration is available at the ticket office.

Apr 2021

Q:Can I bring my service animal with me on the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:A service animal is a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Pets and dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not allowed.

Apr 2021

Q:Are there restrooms available on board the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:Yes. Restrooms are located on the lower deck of each vessel; changing tables are also available in each restroom.

Apr 2021

Q:How early should I arrive for the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:Boarding begins 15-30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Apr 2021

Q:Does the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour operate in bad weather?

A:Our cruises depart rain or shine. Our vessels include sheltered areas and climate-controlled lounges. Ponchos are available for purchase onboard. However, in cases of severe weather where the cruise must be canceled, all guests will be refunded.

Apr 2021

Q:Is the boat climate controlled during the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:Most of our vessels feature an enclosed climate-controlled lounge on the lower deck with speakers to hear the tour guide’s narration. If you have a concern about whether your vessel has an interior lounge, please call the phone number on your ticket.

Apr 2021

Q:Is food/drink available during the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:A full-service bar is available onboard. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as an assortment of snacks, are available for purchase. Bar sales are credit cards only. No cash purchases.

Apr 2021

Q:Can I store my luggage during the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour?

A:There is no storage area on our dock, but guests may bring their luggage aboard keeping in mind it is subject to inspection.

Apr 2021

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
We had a great time learning about all the architecture in this beautiful city. Our tour guide was great and very informative. Very cool experience that we would definitely recommend to friends and family.


1,565 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,565 reviews
This was a very beautiful ride full of information, humor, and gorgeous views.
Jill_B, Oct 2023
Historical information and being on the water. Thank you for a wonderful and unique Chicago experience!
Boats & Buildings
cheller77, Oct 2023
We got stuck at the lake lock and our tour lasted way longer than anticipated, but our guide Bob had plenty to share with us! He kept us engaged with the history of the buildings and Chicago as a city. It was a great day. Bring sunscreen!
Great view, worth ur money
Thai_B, Oct 2023
the tour guy is very informative and friendly. He is a vertern and tell a lot of joke about navy pier. I really enjoy the view. they have a bar on lower deck where u back purchase a beer while on board.
Our guide, doing his last...
Rhonda_B, Oct 2023
Our guide, doing his last tour of the season was fantastic! What a great storyteller!! I loved that he shared book recommendations at the end.
Learn about History of...
CAESAR_Y, Oct 2023
Learn about History of Chicago. It's Great Experience. Thank you. We will recommend this experience to our friends and to our families.
Thumbs up!
Samantha_F, Oct 2023
Kenny was great. Trip was informative and fun. It was last minute, I literally bought ticket and walked to pier to queue up.
Wendella Boatride
Rachquel_M, Oct 2023
Kent was a great commentator and he know Chicago history very well! I learned a lot about the historical buildings! Highly recommend and ask for Kent with the Wendella boat ride company.
Nice tour
Scott_M, Oct 2023
Great tour guide. Beautiful boat. Outstanding weather. Awesome staff and service. Would do it again.
J_H, Sep 2023
I love learning about the history of Chicago, the speaker was very knowledgeable and did not mess up even once!
Great experience. It was my second time.
Clarence_S, Sep 2023
One of our friends had never been to Chicago before. It was great enjoying it with her. She was very impressed
Must do in chicago.
Valerie_G, Sep 2023
It was a stormy day. Beautiful views of the city from the lake with clouds etc. All the information about the buildings was so interesting. You should make a book and sell it with all the information. Very relaxing and fun. First time thru a lock.
Just ok
rmcdermont, Sep 2023
The commentary was a waste of time couldn't make out what she was saying most of the time trip on the River very short it took longer to get through the lock than we were on the lake. But for the price not bad
A memorial river tour
MOURAD_B, Sep 2023
Architecture tour Excellent guide Perfect river tour Real good value for money Respected schedule and time
Wonderful time
Rogelio_P, Sep 2023
The narrator for the trip was highly informative and entertaining. The vessel was clean and spacious. Made for a great time. Would do it again.
Wonderful worthwhile Tour
James_S, Sep 2023
We were fortunate to have absolutely gorgeous weather the day of our tour. Our captain was courteous and humorous as he took care of the vessel safety briefing before turning the mic over to our guide. Our guide was very knowledgeable and presented lots of information and answered questions during the tour. The tour itself offered wonderful views of Chicago’s skyline and river front Downtown buildings. Overall, it was a very nice experience and well worth the ticket price.
Nice tour!
Andrea_S, Sep 2023
We had a nice and interesting tour on a beautiful day in Chicago. The tour guide was professional and very knowledgeable.
Great tour
Rebecca_D, Sep 2023
What a great tour! We loved the architecture and being out on the lake looking back at the city - really great pics! It was very relaxing and an interesting view of the city and its history. We got a bit wet on the lower deck but had the best upfront views. Wear shoes that are ok in water.
Great experience
Julian_D, Sep 2023
Scott did an amazing job as the interpreter for over an hour. His passion for the subject shone through his witty and enjoyable talk. Would be good if you encouraged those who want to talk loudly to sit at the stern end. We really struggled to hear Scott from the even 10 rows back.
Go see it for yourself! You won’t be disappointed.
Stephanie_W, Sep 2023
Alex was a phenomenal tour guide! We loved every bit of this boat tour. We were in town for a conference and could not pass up the opportunity for seeing the sights of all of those amazing buildings. Getting to go out onto the lake was an added bonus. Absolutely gorgeous!
Mother daughter trip
Carol_F, Sep 2023
Alex was very knowledgeable and informative. He was also helpful by suggesting great restaurants options for us to eat.

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