Architecture River Tour: Award Winning Tour in Chicago

The Chicago River flows through the heart of the Windy City. This shows a unique point of view to experience its beautiful architecture. For those looking to explore Chicago’s skyline in an unforgettable way, choose Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour. Recently rated #1 boat tour in the USA by USA Today in 2024, this tour is worth the money.

The Shoreline Sightseeing Experience

Shoreline Sightseeing has been a staple of Chicago tourism since 1939. The variety of boat tours that showcase the city’s landmarks and history is different than any other city. The Architecture River Tour is a 75-minute guided experience. Departing from either Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier docks, the tour navigates all three branches of the Chicago River. Along the way, you will be presented over 40 significant buildings.

Expert guides, who are trained in the city’s architectural history and engineering feats, lead the tour. They narrate the stories behind iconic structures like the Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building, and Marina City. Be on the look out to hear about how the Great Fire of 1871 happened and what came of it. Hint: It’s where the “second city” got it’s name!

tallest building built by Jeanne Gang on the architecture river tour
tallest building in Chicago built by a woman, Jeanne Gang

What Makes It #1?

Shoreline Sightseeing’s commitment to quality and excellence is why it earned the top spot in USA Today’s rankings. Several factors contribute to this #1 rating:

  1. Engaging and Knowledgeable Guides: The tour guides are not only experts in Chicago’s architecture but also skilled storytellers making the history come alive. Their training ensures they provide accurate, detailed, and captivating commentary. They also give you time to ask questions and take pictures.
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: The tour covers a significant portion of the city’s architectural highlights. It also offers insights into both historic and modern structures. This approach allows visitors to appreciate the evolution of Chicago’s skyline over the years.
  3. Spectacular Views: Views from the water provides a unique perspective, which allows guests to see the city’s buildings from a different angle. The river setting also offers stunning photo opportunities of the skyline throughout.
  4. Accessibility and Variety: Shoreline Sightseeing offers multiple tour options, including the popular Skyline Lake Tour and Fireworks Tour. They also provide tours in Spanish, ensuring a wider audience can enjoy the experience​!
  5. Longevity and Reputation: With over 80 years in operation, Shoreline Sightseeing has built a reputation for excellence and reliability. Their large fleet and frequent departures make it convenient for tourists to find a time that fits their schedule.
Michigan Ave dock for architecture river tour
Michigan Ave dock

Booking Your Tour

For those planning a visit, booking the Shoreline Sightseeing architecture river tour is straightforward. You can purchase tickets online through the official website, and choose which dock location to get on at and tour type. Prices are reasonable, starting at around $49.95 for adults, $26.95 for kids 3-12 and infants under 3 are free.


This Architecture River Tour is more than just a boat ride. It is an immersive educational experience that highlights the beauty of Chicago’s architectural landscape. Its recognition as the #1 boat tour in USA by USA Today reveals the quality and enjoyment it offers to tourists and locals. Whether you’re into history, architecture, or looking for a unique way to see the city, the river tour is a must-try.

For more information and to book your tour, visit Shoreline Sightseeing.

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