Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tour in Chicago, IL

Classic Lake - 600 East Grand Ave. Navy Pier River Tour - 94 N Streeter Dr. Chicago, IL 60611
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Cruise around Lake Michigan or see Chicago’s famous and historic architecture with Shoreline Sightseeing. No matter which cruise experience you choose, you’re in for an exciting time. Tours include professional narration, snacks and beverages available for purchase, and unparalleled views of Chicago. Each touring vessel has been custom crafted to ensure the safety and security of passengers.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Chicago Travel Experts
  • Tour lengths vary dependent upon the tour type and weather.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed onboard.
  • Snacks and beverages are available for purchase throughout the cruise.
  • Boats are not easily wheelchair accessible.
  • Bring your camera for epic pictures of Chicago’s cityscape and architecture.

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Insights from Reserve Direct's own team members

Amy Wallace

What an awesome way to see the city of Chicago by water! We boarded the ship from Navy Pier, which returns to the same location making it easy and convenient. The atmosphere is very engaging with expert guides sharing information about the city. The evening cruise is a perfect way to watch the Chicago skyline change from day to night. Great experience for all ages!


from Shoreline Sightseeing
Explore Chicago's rich history, famous architecture and awesome skyline. Choose From the Classic Lake Tour on Lake Michigan or Architecture Tours on the Chicago River.

Shoreline's classic Lake Michigan boat tour you’ll see the city as never before as you enjoy the commentary on Chicago’s dramatic history and architectural landmarks. This 40-minute tour provides a panoramic view of the Chicago skyline.

Classic Lake Tour from Navy Pier Departs from the south side of Navy Pier across from McDonalds 600 E. Grand Ave. 60611. Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to Cruise Time.

  • Tour is 40-minutes long, please dress for an outdoor event.
  • Boat will return to the same dock it departs from.
  • Cash bar on most boats.
  • Don't forget your camera.
  • No wheelchair accessibility.

Architecture River Tour from Lake Michigan or Navy Pier
Shoreline's expert guides will share an insider’s glimpse into the buildings, architecture, and engineering that made Chicago famous as the birthplace of the skyscraper and home of modern American architecture. Nothing is more impressive than this world-renowned architecture as seen from the Chicago River on an architecture tour!
Architecture Tour from Michigan Ave. Departs from Northeast Corner of Michigan Ave. (DuSable) bridge and the Chicago River.
401 N. Michigan Ave. 60611

Architecture Tour from Navy Pier Departs from Polk Bros Park near the entrance of Navy Pier

Tour is 75-minutes long, please dress for an outdoor event.
The boat will return to the same dock it departs from.
Cash bar on most boats.
Don't forget your camera.
Not accessible to wheelchairs. Stairs required for dock and boarding.

Reserve Chicago Customer Reviews

Have you been to Shoreline Sightseeing ? Share your knowledge and be the first to review this.
TripAdvisor Reviews
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Austin, Texas
"Informative river tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 13, 2018 NEW
This was the only river architecture tour operating during our March visit - understandable as it turns out because it snowed during most of the tour. Guide Wendy stayed the course in spite of most passengers abandoning the deck in favor of warmer cabin. Great info about styles of architecture, gorgeous buildings, and city’s history. Well worth the time and would go again.
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Warrington, Pennsylvania
"BEN is fabulous! Great activity!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 13, 2018 NEW
Excellent tour and excellent tour guide! Ben delivers information in an interesting manner. Great activity! Beautiful vistas. Was cold but worth the 75 minutes. Really showcases all the architecture Chicago is known for. Ben explained the different eras and what was "in" at the time.
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TripAdvisor user image
"Great Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 12, 2018 NEW
I was part of a group on a river cruise with Ben as our guide. It lasted 75 minutes and I would recommend it highly. Ben’s delivery was engaging and interesting. We all thoroughly enjoyed this trip.
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Mark C
Dallas, Texas
"Architecture river cruise"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 12, 2018 NEW
Recently moved to Chicago and had family in town so decided to do this highly recommended tour. Despite being in the temperature being in the 30s the tour was well worth it. Leaves from Navy Pier and takes 75 minutes. The architecture of the city is phenomenal and this tour helped highlight some of the key themes. Ben, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable in explaining the types of architecture and the history of certain individual buildings. This is highly recommended for locals and tourists!
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Cody R
"Best Chicago experience ever"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 11, 2018 NEW
I have visited Chicago hundreds of times over the years. This was the first architecture boat tour I’ve ever taken and I loved it. The views were stunning and the information from the guide was both entertaining and informational. I’d love to take this tour again in a few years once more buildings are constructed and the views change yet again. The crew was friendly and the seats were very comfortable (I have a bad back and didn’t have an issue). Drinks are also allowed which was great to bring Starbucks on to stay warm during the colder morning tour. I highly recommend.
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Shoreline Sightseeing is located at Classic Lake - 600 East Grand Ave. Navy Pier River Tour - 94 N Streeter Dr. Chicago, IL 60611
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Frequently Asked Questions about Shoreline Sightseeing

Where does the Classic Lake Tour go?
The Classic Lake Tour covers the entire downtown city skyline from north to south. The six-mile trip on Lake Michigan proceeds north past Navy Pier to the Hancock Building, east out to the lighthouse, and south towards the Willis (Sears) Tower and Museum Campus, which includes the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and Field Museum of Natural History.

Do I need reservations for the Classic Lake Tour?
Yes. Please note that while a ticket reserves your spot on the cruise, seating is on a first come, first served basis. For better seating, arrive early.

What information is provided on the Classic Lake Tour?
This cruise includes professional narration that highlights special events in our city’s history and points out landmarks on our famous skyline.

What is covered on the Architecture River Tour?
The Architecture River Tour goes down the main branch of the Chicago River, up the north branch to the East Bank Club, and then south past the Willis (Sears) Tower to the old Post Office Building. Each cruise is led by a professional and entertaining guide who provides detailed descriptions of more than 40 landmark buildings seen on the river cruise.

Do I need reservations for the Architecture River Tour?
Yes. As a popular tour choice in Chicago, these tickets sell out quickly. Please note that while a ticket reserves your spot on the cruise, seating is on a first come, first served basis. For better seating, arrive early.

Will cruises operate rain or shine?
In the spring and fall, our schedule is largely dependent on weather. However, our tours will usually sail during the summer, though the weather may require a reduced schedule. It is up to the Captain to decide whether conditions are unsafe and to delay or cancel the cruise accordingly. If cruises are canceled due to stormy weather, or any other reason, refunds will be issued for pre-purchased tickets.

Are your boats covered?
Most of our tour boats are double-deckers with a partially covered overhead, but four of our Architecture River Tour boats have a single deck with no cover.

Do your boats go through the locks?

Is alcohol served onboard?
Alcohol is available on most of our boat tours.

Are snacks and beverage available for purchase?

Do the boats have restrooms onboard?

Are your boats accessible to people with disabilities?
The upper decks of our Chicago River Architecture Tour boats are accessible to people with disabilities. However, our vessels are not equipped with elevators. Therefore, restrooms, which are located on the lower deck, are not accessible. Additionally, the upper decks of our Architecture Tour vessels are open and provide no protection from the elements, although we do have a light-weight awning-type covering in the event of rain. Our Classic Lake Tour boats have limited access to people with disabilities. Our ramps are accessible only to wheelchairs with a narrow base and not at all to motorized vehicles.

Do you allow dogs on board?
Yes, leashed dogs are allowed.