Chicago River
Chicago River
4.5
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Duration: 1-2 hours
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Top ways to experience Chicago River
The area
Neighborhood: Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.
How to get there
  • Clark/Lake • 3 min walk
  • Clark/Lake • 3 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • Irina
    United States11,136 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Always Beautiful
    Chicago River makes its way through the downtown area of the city. Historically, as a result of two major engineering projects (1889 -- 1910), the flow of the river was redirected, turning it away from Lake Michigan, so since then Chicago River flows into Des Plaines River, which is over 150 miles away from Chicago. Chicago River is a part of a large system, that includes the North Branch, the South Branch, and Main Stem of Chicago River, as well as 52 miles of constructed waterways. Flowing through the central part of the city, Chicago River makes the whole area look even more colorful and beautiful. You can walk or drive on the bridges from the Loop to the Near North Side, take the River cruises, architectural boat tours, or just enjoy the Chicago Riverwalk, that in any time of the year shows the beauty of Chicago River and the stunning architecture of the city. I always enjoy Chicago River and the views, when I am in the downtown area of this great city.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 10, 2023
  • Nightly Trader
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the visit
    Absolute must-see! It's like the city's glittering, liquid jewel, especially when it's all lit up at night. The riverwalk is a cool place to stroll, grab a bite, and enjoy the city vibes. And if you get the chance, take a boat tour – you'll get the lowdown on Chicago's fascinating history and some killer skyline views. Trust me, it's one of those iconic things you gotta check off your Chicago bucket list!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 27, 2023
  • Bill B
    Bel Air, Maryland8,208 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Watching the smooth waters makes for a restful experience
    The Chicago River is placid and stately as it moves along and reflects both modern and historic architecture in the Loop area of the city. Tour boats ply its waters up to Lake Michigan near Navy Pier. The waters, alternatively blue and green, are clear and clean looking. The numerous bridges that cross the river are often double decked and are themselves part of the river's history. Watching the smooth waters makes for a restful experience.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written October 21, 2023
  • TravelingSoccerLoon
    Saint Paul, Minnesota3,583 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great To Walk Along or Ride on the River to Appreciate the Architecture of the City
    The Chicago River cuts through downtown Chicago and offers a great way to experience the city's incredible architecture. There are architecture boat tours that can be experienced and are very relaxing and worthwhile during the pleasant weather times of the year. Or you can stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk on the south bank of the river and experience many incredible views. Some of the best views are near the Michigan Avenue Bridge where the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower can be seen.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written March 10, 2024
  • Sercan Kamil Nergizci
    Istanbul, Türkiye13 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful River
    The first of my travel is St. Patrick’s Day and the coast of river is so crowded. The people was fun and dancing. Besides, the most beautiful thing is that the river was colored brilliant green by natural feed. The tours on the river can be taken and see more details about these lovely river.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled on business
    Written March 21, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

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Sercan Kamil Nergizci
Istanbul, Türkiye13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Business
The first of my travel is St. Patrick’s Day and the coast of river is so crowded. The people was fun and dancing. Besides, the most beautiful thing is that the river was colored brilliant green by natural feed. The tours on the river can be taken and see more details about these lovely river.
Written March 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingSoccerLoon
Saint Paul, MN3,583 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Friends
The Chicago River cuts through downtown Chicago and offers a great way to experience the city's incredible architecture. There are architecture boat tours that can be experienced and are very relaxing and worthwhile during the pleasant weather times of the year. Or you can stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk on the south bank of the river and experience many incredible views. Some of the best views are near the Michigan Avenue Bridge where the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower can be seen.
Written March 11, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CaptainBristol
Seattle, WA37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023
This is pretty silly, It's a river that runs through downtown Chicago. It has a lot of buildings on both banks. Some buildings look great, some look blah. The water is watery. It's just a river in a city!
Written November 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bill B
Bel Air, MD8,208 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
The Chicago River is placid and stately as it moves along and reflects both modern and historic architecture in the Loop area of the city. Tour boats ply its waters up to Lake Michigan near Navy Pier. The waters, alternatively blue and green, are clear and clean looking. The numerous bridges that cross the river are often double decked and are themselves part of the river's history. Watching the smooth waters makes for a restful experience.
Written October 21, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nightly Trader
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
Absolute must-see! It's like the city's glittering, liquid jewel, especially when it's all lit up at night. The riverwalk is a cool place to stroll, grab a bite, and enjoy the city vibes. And if you get the chance, take a boat tour – you'll get the lowdown on Chicago's fascinating history and some killer skyline views. Trust me, it's one of those iconic things you gotta check off your Chicago bucket list!
Written September 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Doron Z
Tel Aviv, Israel243 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023
I haven't seen such a combination elsewhere. The river is seemed flowing in a high canyon, where the walls of the canyon are high rises on both of the sides of the river.
Written September 19, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keywest
Key West, FL14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023
After sunset the whole place comes to life. Music, lights and the fantastic buildings surrounding it. Really amazing
Written August 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Irina
United States11,136 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Friends
Chicago River makes its way through the downtown area of the city. Historically, as a result of two major engineering projects (1889 -- 1910), the flow of the river was redirected, turning it away from Lake Michigan, so since then Chicago River flows into Des Plaines River, which is over 150 miles away from Chicago.

Chicago River is a part of a large system, that includes the North Branch, the South Branch, and Main Stem of Chicago River, as well as 52 miles of constructed waterways.

Flowing through the central part of the city, Chicago River makes the whole area look even more colorful and beautiful. You can walk or drive on the bridges from the Loop to the Near North Side, take the River cruises, architectural boat tours, or just enjoy the Chicago Riverwalk, that in any time of the year shows the beauty of Chicago River and the stunning architecture of the city.

I always enjoy Chicago River and the views, when I am in the downtown area of this great city.
Written July 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John
Indianapolis, IN5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
Outstanding!!! We had a blast!!! The tour was fascinating and the guide was spectacular!!! We brought our grand daughter (13) on the trip!
Written June 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BradJill
Hong Kong, China160,075 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023
The Chicago River is a major waterway that runs through downtown. Near the mouth of the river into Lake Michigan is where the city of Chicago was first settled near the end of the 18th century.

During our recent visit to the city we stayed at a hotel on E Wacker Drive on the south bank and were able to spend quite a bit of time along the river, walking the designated Riverwalk and crossing several of the bridge to Streeterville on the north side.

The riverwalk is rather nice. There are some interesting monuments to see and they were setting up bars and coffee shops for this coming summer. Plenty of regular spots to grab a seat somewhere and enjoy being on the river during good weather days. There are regular access points down to the riverwalk.

We also very much enjoyed the views of some of Chicago's historic skyscrapers around the Michigan Ave. (DuSable) Bridge and while we didn't take one, it was nice seeing various boat cruises plying the river throughout the day. This seemed like a good family/group activity and way to experience the Chicago River.
Written May 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CHICAGO RIVER: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Chicago River

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