Looking for best Chicago BOAT CRUISE TOUR and what to know facts and things to do in BOAT CRUISE, read below this article to know it.

One of the most popular attractions in the summer is Chicago’s boat tours and for good reason. The tours are an excellent way to learn about the city’s history and architecture. Moreover, the views of buildings are just amazing from the water. But there are several tour companies offering boat tours, so what is right for you? Let our guide assist you!

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Architecture boat tour in City of Chicago
Architecture boat tour in City of Chicago

Chicago Architecture Foundation Center – FIRST LADY CRUISES

The Chicago Architecture Foundation operates First Lady. They have an unbelievable level of certified volunteers. For architectural enthusiasts, this tour is best because it goes deeper into architecture as you gradually cross the buildings along the River Chicago. The cruise takes 90 minutes and only cruises up and down the river (not on the lake).

Bonus / offers: most boats have bars so you can participate in libations while cruising.

FIRST LADY CRUISES Chicago Architecture boat tour
FIRST LADY CRUISES Chicago Architecture boat tour

For both outside city and Chicagoans, the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise is a must. Over 50 buildings along the river Chicago have been interpreted by CAC-certified voluntary tour guides. You can discover how Chicago has grown in less than 100 years from a small town into one of the largest in the world. Get the real history and architecture of Chicago in about 90 minutes.

For adults, $ 43.53 and for children under 3, $ 23.66 is included.

Boat Starting point: The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue Bridge in the Southwest corner( at Wacker).

Official website – Chicago Architecture Foundation architecture.org

CHICAGO LINE CRUISES (Best for History buffs )

Chicago Line Cruises Chicago Architecture Boat Tour
Chicago Line Cruises Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

Chicago Line Cruises partners with the Chicago History Museum. Their tours still focus on architecture, but they teach more history and stories. If you really want to go in depth, you have even a Chicago history cruise. Cruises of the Chicago Line are only on river for 90 minutes. Their evening cocktails and architecture cruise are an excellent way of seeing the city transition from light to darkness, and they have an open bar package for an extra $21.

Bonus: all of their cruises include free coffee from Starbucks, twin tea, soft drinks from Coca- Cola, lemonade, and cookies.

Ticket price: Tickets are 43 dollars for adults and 40 dollars for seniors, 22 dollars for youth 7- 12, and free for children under 6 years of age.

Boat Starting point: The tour takes you from McClurg Court’s River East Arts Centre.

Official website – Chicago Line Cruises chicagoline.com

Wendella  (Best for families)

Wendellas Signature Lake River tour chicago
Wendellas Signature Lake River tour chicago

The Signature Lake and River tour of Wendella takes 75 minutes. It is ideal for families looking for a panorama of the history and architecture of Chicago. The price is affordable and the cruise is slightly shorter at 75 minutes, which makes it a bit more suitable for small children. You can also go out to the lake, which gives the kids a little relief and a chance to get out of their seats to stretch their legs. Since 1935, this tour has started working.

Offers / Bonus: 

  • 50% off for active-duty U.S. Military personnel and their spouses with a valid ID.
  • 50% off on Tuesdays for College Students with a valid Student ID.
  • 50% off for City of Chicago First Responders.
  • And $10 off for Veterans and Reservists with a valid ID. (Tickets must be purchased at the ticket office to receive the discount. Not valid on holidays.)

Ticket price: Tickets are $39 for adults, Child (4-12): $18,  $32 for seniors over 65, $16.50 for kids 3–11 and under 4 is free.

Boat Starting point: The tour picks up from the Northwest corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Wendella official website: wendellaboats.com


A 30-minute boat cruise on the lake takes you to The Ultimate Thrill. The boat is powered by 2 – 1400 HP motors with a maximum velocity of 45 MPH. This exciting ride starts and springs to a point with 360 degrees spinning in the meantime.

Seadog Cruises boat ride chicago usa
Seadog Cruises boat ride chicago usa

You will enjoy twists, turns, music and an amusing narrative with Chicago highlights during the cruise. The commercial passenger ship Seadog Extreme is the most powerful of its kind that is currently cruising the Great Lakes.

Enjoy Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Campus Museum and more! Seadog has something for all, whether you’re a buff of history, you love architecture or you’re just looking for fun!

IMP Notations: To ride the Seadog Extreme, you must be 48 inch tall. Children under 12 must be followed by adults.

Ticket price:

There’s $ 36 for adults. Children between 3 and 12 are 21.95 dollars.

River & Lake Architectural Tour – 75 min

  • Adults from $36.95*
  • Children from $21.95*

Extreme Thrill Ride – 30 min

  • Adults from $28.95*
  • Children from $20.95*

Lakefront Speedboat Tour – 30 min

  • Adults from $22.95*
  • Children from $16.95*

Boat Starting point: The cruise is leaving from Navy Pier.

Seadog Cruises official website: seadogcruises.com/chicago


Enjoy a stunning getaway right in the city with our Chicago fireworks cruises, departing Wednesdays and Saturdays every week during the summer months.

Mercury cruise boat tour 3D Fireworks chicago USA
Mercury cruise boat tour 3D Fireworks chicago USA

Put on your complimentary “3D” glasses and enjoy a musical soundtrack as you take in an unbeatable view of a spectacular fireworks display. The view of Navy Pier’s fireworks from the water is breathtaking. The cruise starts with a pre-fireworks lakefront tour and ends with a view of the fireworks display complete with 3D glasses.

Ticket price: Adults are $40. Kids 5–15 are $16. Children under 5 ride free. For groups of 20 more, call us at 312-332-1368.

Boat Starting point: The tour departs from the Southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Mercury Cruises official website: mercurycruises.com

3D Fireworks Cruise 2019 time date

2 Hours • Lakefront Cruise

Departing Wednesdays, May 29 – August 28, 2019

Departing Saturdays, May 25 – August 31, 2019


Shoreline Sightseeing is one of the most popular tours in Chicago, with its large fleet of 11 touring boats and 6 water taxis and dozens of architectural Guides. Purchase your tickets today, from scenic river tours on the Michigan Lake to your own wonderful adventure.


Don’t want to leave Fido at home? Leashed pups are welcome on the Shoreline Cruises! There are two convenient locations for Shoreline Cruises, one on the Michigan Avenue Bridge and the other on Navy Pier ‘ s Pole Bros Park.

Shoreline offers all kinds of cruises that you could consider: River Tours Architecture, Classic Lake Tours Fireworks plus Water Taxis. They even have special subject cruises, such as Wine Tasting and Brew Cruises. Shoreline, currently led by brothers Chip and Matt Collopy, was a family-owned and managed over three generations.

Special: Architecture Tours in Spanish are available at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

Ticket price: Adult tickets range from $37 to $44 depending on the cruise. Children 3-12 range from $19to $24. Children under 3 ride free. Pups ride free as well.

Boat Starting point: Cruises leave docks in Historic Michigan Ave. ( Dusable) Bridge on the Chicago River at the NE corner. Situated next to the Pioneer Court of Chicago at 401 N. Michigan Ave. Note that neither dock is accessible by wheelchairs.

Shoreline Sightseeing official website:  http://shorelinesightseeing.com/

Important Tips: Make your booking beforehand! Boat tours are very popular, especially on summer weekends. Book tickets at least a couple of days ahead. You can also ask your concierge/ hotel staff/ travel agent to help you with the reservation of additional benefits. Most boat seating is general admission, so make sure you get to the seats 20 minutes ahead. And remember, only in the warm months (generally April / May / October/ November depending on the weather) do boat tours operate.


  • Each person must have a ticket, including infants and children.
  • All tours depart rain or sun shine.
  • Arrive 30 minutes before departure time of your cruise. In summer, allow additional time to park and traffic..
  • Cruise guests board 15 minutes before departure time.
  • A full-service bar and snack bar are available onboard.
  • Tickets may not be refunded or exchanged if you miss your boat. Allow extra time.


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