Chicago Loop
Cruises & Boat Tours

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Our most recommended Chicago Loop Cruises & Boat Tours

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

1. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Experience more of Chicago by boat than on any other architectural cruise. See architectural highlights and enjoy an open-air deck or climate-controlled interior as you travel the main River and its north and south branches. View all of Chicago's architectural highlights during this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Be entertained by the expert and friendly tour guides as they explain the 130 year-long history behind the skyline, while bartenders and staff keep you comfortable with refreshments.  Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and goes up the main branch of the Chicago River past Wolf Point. It then cruises along the north and south branches of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. On the way, learn about ornate, historic early skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the imposing art deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building. Don't miss the circular Marina City Towers, the majestic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and the tallest building in Chicago) the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower. During your cruise, have the opportunity to enjoy a full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

Chicago: Mob and Crime Bus Tour

2. Chicago: Mob and Crime Bus Tour

Experience Chicago’s underworld of criminals and gangsters on a luxury bus tour. Find out how some of the world’s most famous criminals, mobsters, and gangsters conned their way through the city. Ride comfortably in luxury, on a climate-controlled bus, as you see famous Chicago crime scenes that range from the 19th century through modern times. Unlike Chicago walking tours, this Mob and Crime Tour isn’t affected by the Windy City weather. Learn from a local expert tour guide giving interactive live commentary about Al Capone, the Untouchables, the Chicago Mob, John Dillinger, Terrible Tommy O'Connor, H. H. Holmes, the Chicago Black Sox, Leopold and Loeb, bank heists, Cap George Streeter, and more. Grab your camera for a drive-by shooting of the historic criminal courthouse, a Chicago architectural landmark where some of Chicago's most notorious cases were tried. You'll also view historic video footage, receive an informative pamphlet with photos, and can even take part in a crime quiz. Stake out crime scenes like the Biograph Theatre, Holy Name Cathedral, Clark Street Bridge, and other Chicago landmarks. See the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, one of Chicago's most notorious murder scenes. Get off the bus and walk the path that notorious Chicago gangsters John Dillinger and Hymie Weiss followed just before their deaths. Travel into the criminal past of Chicago's River North, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Loop, and Magnificent Mile neighborhoods.

Chicago Food Tasting: 2.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

3. Chicago Food Tasting: 2.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Combine an enjoyable walk around Chicago's downtown to see some of the city’s top sites with stops to sample some of the city’s famous tastes. On this 2.5-hour guided walk, you'll get to taste the foods Chicago is best known for doing right. Enjoy deep-dish pizza, the original Italian pastries, Chicago-style hot dog, and a classic Italian beef sandwich. Enjoy a VIP craft beer sample for an additional fee. Along the way, you’ll see some of Chicago's most iconic spots including Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the Art Institute, and the famous Bean. By the end of the tour, your stomach will be full of delicious food and your head will be full of fascinating knowledge about Chicago. During the colder months, the tour makes use of the unique underground Pedway system that connects much of downtown and keeps you warm and cozy. On warmer days, you’ll walk at street level to enjoy the large promenades of the loop. The leisurely walking pace is suitable for people of all fitness levels.

Chicago: City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

4. Chicago: City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

Start with pickup from your downtown Chicago hotel. Board your climate-controlled minibus and embark on your guided sightseeing tour. Begin in the heart of downtown Chicago, at The Loop. Here you'll see incredible architecture, including the world's first skyscrapers. You'll even go inside one that features a beautiful lobby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The stop also includes views of The Chicago Board of Trade and the Willis (Sears) Tower. After The Loop, head through Grant Park, which is known as the city's front yard. The centerpiece of the park is the Buckingham Fountain. Museum Campus is up next, with three museums, Soldier Field, and the most spectacular skyline views in the city. After a ten minute photo stop, travel around Millennium Park, featuring The Bean, before heading up north along Wacker Drive, which parallels the Chicago River. Arrive in the fancy Gold Coast nightlife area and residential neighborhood - one particularly interesting sight here is the original Playboy Mansion. Then you'll take a trip through part of Lincoln Park, and end the tour by zipping along Lake Shore Drive, past beaches, and old mansions, before being dropped off at your hotel. For those wanting the ultimate Chicago experience, add on the option of the world-famous architecture cruise of Chicago. After your minibus tour and a short break, climb aboard a state-of-the-art cruise vessel for a 75-minute cruise of all three branches of the Chicago River. Marvel at the architecture that has made the city so legendary. Gain insights into the buildings and engineering of a city that gave birth to the skyscraper and is the spiritual home of modern American architecture. An expert guide will lead you down the Chicago River to uncover hidden gems, as well the city’s most renowned landmarks, such as the John Hancock building and more.  

The Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour

5. The Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour

Explore the grandeur of The Chicago Theatre, which opened in 1921, on a 1-hour guided tour. Your guide will accompany you through the elegant lobby, sweeping staircase and the majestic auditorium, which is complete with murals above the stage and on the ceiling. During your visit, you will get access to various sections of the seven-story, 3,600-seat auditorium and an intimate view of the 29-rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ, the first musical instrument having attained a city landmark status.  Next, view artist signatures on the dressing room walls, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Dolly Parton and many more. You will finish your tour on a high and feeling like a star as you get the chance to stand on the famous Chicago Theatre stage. Once called “the Wonder Theatre of the World”, the Chicago Theatre hosts over 175 events a year, bringing together the world’s brightest stars and greatest productions.

Chicago: Private 3-Hour Al Capone Gangster Tour

6. Chicago: Private 3-Hour Al Capone Gangster Tour

Experience amazing stories of true crime coming to life on this three-hour private tour. Visit many of the old venues where gangsters used to operate, including old speakeasies and historic hotels. Your expert historian guide will accompany you and your private group in luxury accommodation to historically significant locations in the city. View crime scenes immortalized in vintage news footage, the theater where the law caught up with Dillinger, and the restaurant where the North Side Gang riddled Al Capone’s motorcade with rounds from their Tommy guns. See the site of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and sit in Al Capone’s booth at the Green Mill. Finally, visit the location where Public Enemy #1 John Dillinger was assassinated by the FBI.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago Loop

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What people are saying about Chicago Loop

Great trip. Fairly comfortable seating. We sat near the back with our backs to the stairwell. This was nice as it added the support of the boat itself to our turning to look. Go. You won't be sorry.

We had an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide on our cruise, the boat was clean and comfortable, overall a great way to learn about Chicago architecture and history at the same time.

Really nice trip. Amazing guide, I don’t think it was too long as there was so much to see!

Great from start to finish! Our tour guide Kay was awesome and very knowledgeable

It was a great time. The narration was very informative. Awesome tour