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Curious kids enjoy the view on a fun boat trip down the Chicago River with Shoreline Sightseeing

Illinois

Shoreline Sightseeing in Chicago, Illinois: Unique and Memorable Boat Tours

By: Amy Nance

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  • States:
    Illinois

One of the best ways to get to know Chicago is via a boat tour.

Shoreline Sightseeing offers a variety of tours and currently has the largest fleet in Chicago. Established in 1939, Shoreline specializes in entertaining tours showcasing Chicago’s fascinating history and world-famous architecture. Whether you’re on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan, you’re bound to be entertained. Want a unique way to sightsee in Chicago? Navigate through the city’s attractions on a Shoreline Sightseeing water taxi.

Skyscrapers Star on Architecture River Tours

Named the No. 1 tour in the USA for 2017 by TripAdvisor, this architecture river excursion should not be missed. Cruise on a 75-minute Chicago River tour and learn more about the city’s most remarkable buildings and the history behind them. Expert guides will share their keen knowledge with you as you view the work of some of the greatest architects in the world. Bring your camera and capture architectural icons like the neo-gothic Tribune Tower, the beloved Wrigley Building and city landmark, the Navy Pier. Discover how the tragic Great Chicago Fire actually led to the birthplace of the skyscraper. And learn more about Chicago’s spectacular architecture while being entertained by guides with captivating historical tidbits and interesting back stories.

Cruising along the Chicago River

Cruising along the Chicago River
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Skyline Views from Lake Michigan

Take in an awe-inspiring view of Chicago’s skyline from Lake Michigan. Shoreline’s 40-minute Classic Lake Tour features a narrated history excursion of Chicago’s most iconic buildings, highlighting the historical significance of the Navy Pier, what lies within Lake Michigan and more. Entertaining for all ages, the lake tour is a special experience to add to your next Chicago itinerary.

Classic Lake Tours depart from Navy Pier

Classic Lake Tours depart from Navy Pier
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Climb Aboard a Specialty Tour

Shoreline Sightseeing offers an array of delightful specialty cruises too. Summertime welcomes balmy temperatures and two types of fireworks tours to experience the Navy Pier’s phenomenal fireworks show. Foodies will love the beer and wine tasting cruises accompanied by delicious appetizers and live music. If you’re lucky enough to be in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll definitely want to jump aboard an Irish-themed cruise when the Chicago River is transformed into a bright green waterway. During the fall, you can lift your beer stein on an Oktoberfest Cruise. For an alternative mode of transportation, hop aboard a water taxi and take the scenic route. Water taxis depart daily from Navy Pier, Willis Tower/Union Station, the Museum Campus and North Michigan Avenue.

Two Shoreline Sightseeing boats on the Chicago River

Two Shoreline Sightseeing boats on the Chicago River
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Getting There

Travel into Chicago from international destinations via Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) or Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW). Both are less than an hour from downtown Chicago. Shoreline Sightseeing is conveniently located in the city, with vessels docking at Navy Pier, Union Station, North Michigan Avenue and the Museum Campus.