Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tours in Chicago, IL

Shoreline SightseeingClassic 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.

Discover More With Us

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 Boat Tours
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 Boat Tours? Share your knowledge and be the first to review this.
TripAdvisor Reviews
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Joc C
Los Angeles, California
"Beautiful and educational!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 09, 2018 NEW
We lucked out that there was a break in the rain and we got a tour. It was a relatively clear Sunday morning and a full top deck on the boat. We had a friendly greeting and found the seats dry and clean. We sat towards the middle and there really ain’t a bad seat. Sitting closer to the front helps be more engaged with the tour guide. He was extremely knowledgeable and was a former mechanical engineer so he gave some technical tidbits, if you like that stuff. We went down the entire river and learned so much about the history. The guide had a theme of culture and beauty throughout. It was fascinating to learn how the culture and perspectives of the nation and city was reflected in the architecture. There wasn’t any down side to the tour. The only recommendation I have is wait for a clear day or at least not raining. This way you can sit on the top deck. I’m not sure how he tour would be at the lower level but would imagine it be not even close in experience.
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Rancho Cucamonga, California
"Architectural Riverboat Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 08, 2018 NEW
This was a great view of Chicago’s inspiring architecture. The tour lasted for 1-hour, which was just about right for being put in the cold. The presentation was informative and humorous.
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Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
"Excellent Architecture River Cruise"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed November 28, 2018 NEW
It was a cold November day and we were pleasantly surprised that this experience was running. At this time of year it departs from the Riverfront near the new Apple Store. It goes past all the wonderful variety of Chicago architecture and back and then down to Navy Pier and back to the Riverfront. The narrator on this trip knows her stuff and floods you with interesting and encyclopaedic knowledge of the buildings, as well as some humorous bits too! It's well worth the 1 hour trip. I managed to stay on deck although it was rather cold, but I wanted to get the full experience. You can go below if you wish. There is a bar if you want to get alcoholic, soft or hot drinks and snacks. We bought a Chicago Explorer pass and this was one of the attractions you could use it on.
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Phil T
"Worth the Cold"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed November 22, 2018 NEW
Despite the absolutely freezing temperatures you face on the water (be sure to layer up), the things you learn about Chicago's historical architecture makes it all worth it. And whilst our guide, Ben, told us to write a good review for him - I would've done it nonetheless given his cracker jokes, insightful pointers and rapport with everyone on board. Cheers from your Australian mates.
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Igor D
"That was perfect. Thank you BEN!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed November 12, 2018 NEW
That was perfect beginning of my familiarity with the city. Tour was very interesting and informative. Want to thank our tour guide Ben for an amazing tour.
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Shoreline Sightseeing Boat Tours is located at Shoreline SightseeingClassic 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 Boat Tours

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.