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1.5 Hours
Southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Dr. Look for our blue awning marking the stairway entrance.

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Experience the “top tour in Chicago and one of the top ten tours in the U.S.” according to TripAdvisor users. The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is a must for out-of-towners and Chicagoans alike. CAF-certified volunteer tour guides—called docents—interpret more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River. You’ll find out how Chicago grew from a small settlement into one of the world’s largest cities in less than 100 years. In 90 minutes, get the real story on Chicago architecture and its history.

Special Cruises

Capture Chicago Photography Cruise

Attention photographers! Capture Chicago's beautiful buildings during an exclusive CAF River Cruise designed with the photographer in mind. Move freely around the boat and have access to all angles while a highly-trained docent points out architectural highlights along the way. The tour will pause three times giving you the prime opportunity to capture the city's architecture. This tour is only offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago's First Lady Cruises.

Twilight River Cruise

The city's most popular tour is now offered at twilight. Serene and bathed in softer light, the city's architecture takes on a whole new life in the setting sun. Wind-down from the work-week by enjoying a cocktail with friends and family and experience Chicago's skyline on our luxury boats.

Tour Tips

  • CAF Members please call 312.922.8687 or come to the CAF Box Office at 224 S. Michigan Ave. to redeem your 2-for-1 benefit. 
  • You can buy a CAF membership over the phone and redeem your 2-for-1 annual benefit at the time of your membership purchase.
  • Each person must have a ticket, including infants and children.
  • All tours depart rain or shine.
  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to your cruise departure time. Allow extra time for traffic and parking in summer.
  • 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.
  • Find more information, including available parking, in our FAQs

Interested in a private rental or have a group of 20 or more?
Please contact our group sales team at 312.322.1130 or

Directions to Chicago’s First Lady boat dock

See a map here or enter 112 E. Wacker Drive into your GPS.
Your CAF river cruise departs from a dock just 8 blocks north of the CAF Shop and Tour Center. Located at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive, a blue awning marks the boat dock entrance stairs that lead down to the river. If you have limited mobility, see these directions for an alternative way to reach the dock.

Chicago's First Lady Cruises logoAbout our Boat Partner

We’re proud to partner with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, operator of Chicago’s finest fleet of cruising vessels. Its boats hold up to 250 passengers and feature open-air upper decks, full-service bars, climate-controlled lower cabins and upscale marble and granite restrooms. Being onboard is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget. 

Upcoming Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise Aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises Tours

Scheduled departures for this tour will return next season. Please email to be notified when tickets are available.