Things to do in
River North

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River North: Our most recommended tours and activities

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.

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Chicago: 90-Minute Mob and Crime Bus Tour

2. Chicago: 90-Minute Mob and Crime Bus Tour

Experience Chicago’s underworld of criminals and gangsters on a luxury 90-minute 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.

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Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

3. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the 875 N Michigan, the Willis Tower and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's impressive landmarks as your tour guide provides entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city with the freedom to hop-on and hop-off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. You’ll travel down the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. There are 13 stops, where you can hop-off to visit attractions and explore places of interest. The stops are conveniently located to make navigating your way around the city easy, and with a choice of Classic, Premium or Deluxe tickets, you can take your time discovering Chicago. Be sure to take advantage of admission to the Chicago Architecture Center, included with the Premium and Deluxe tickets, to dive deeper into the city that invented the skyscraper. So don't wait, just hop-on an exciting journey through Chicago.

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Chicago: 3-Hour Private Speakeasy Cocktail VIP Tour

4. Chicago: 3-Hour Private Speakeasy Cocktail VIP Tour

Spend an evening visiting the Chicago speakeasies that have been open since the Prohibition Era in the 1920s, many preserved in their original conditions. With your own private group, enter by way of secret entrances and enjoy the same cocktails ordered by infamous Chicago gangsters and bank robbers at these venues nearly a century ago. Relive the glamor of the 1920s while listening to stories of the rampant racketeering and bootlegging of the era.   Alcohol is available for purchase at the three to four different speakeasy stops. Your private tour guide will make Prohibition Era drink recommendations and tell you the stories behind them. Travel around with your young, professional guide and be chauffeured in luxury transportation, ranging from a luxury SUV to a full-sized luxury motor coach.

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Chicago: Food, Architecture and History Tour

5. Chicago: Food, Architecture and History Tour

Start your tour under the dazzling marquee of the Chicago Theater (which you might recognize from the movie-musical Chicago). Your first stop is inside one of the best-preserved spaces built for shopping in Chicago, featuring an unforgettable atrium at its core. Then head towards the Chicago Pedway, a uniquely Chicago feature used by locals and commuters daily. Afterward, head back above-ground near City Hall and head inside to see the classic interior design and architecture. Next, enjoy a sweet treat, and local tradition: Chicago-style popcorn. Weather permitting, take a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk while taking in views of several soaring buildings, including Marina Towers, the Britannica Building, and the Willis Tower. From there, make your way to another delicious destination where you can sample locally made chocolate from a Chicago staple. Next, take a stroll through the beautiful lakefront parks along Michigan Avenue. End up in the picturesque Millennium Park, home to the iconic Bean sculpture. By then, you’ll hopefully have built up an appetite because it’s time to begin your ultimate food experience.  Travel with your guide up to the River North neighborhood, the original Chicago foodie destination. Start your food tour with a well-known Chicago fare: the Chicago-style hot dog. Every Chicagoan has their own preference as to how the dog should be made, and you’ll get a chance to try your guides’ favorite version. Next up is the world-famous Chicago deep-dish pizza, the staple of the Chicago food scene. Visit a pizza place that’s an icon to Chicago natives to try the real deal for yourself. After you’ve filled up on pizza and hot dogs, take a stroll through two more establishments, each one essential to Chicago’s food culture. Then continue your tasting journey with a classic Chicago sandwich: Italian beef.  Sample this sandwich in a real Chicago institution. Your tour ends here, and your guide will be happy to direct you back to your accommodation or share tips for what else to see and do in the city.

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Chicago Crimes Night Tour

6. Chicago Crimes Night Tour

Uncover how some of the world’s most famous criminals, mobsters, and gangsters conned their way through the Windy City. Ride in luxury on a climate-controlled bus, as you explore famous Chicago crime scenes ranging from the 19th century through to modern times. Learn about Al Capone, the Untouchables, the Chicago Mob, John Dillinger, The Lady in Red, Captain George Streeter, Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, Bugs Moran, Johnny Torrio and more. Grab your camera for a drive-by shooting of historic and architectural landmarks, and stake out crime scenes like the Biograph Theatre, Holy Name Cathedral and St. Valentine's Day Massacre, one of Chicago's most notorious murder sites. 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.

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Chicago: Private 3-Hour Al Capone Gangster Tour

7. 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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Chicago: Westside Food Tasting Bike Tour with Guide

8. Chicago: Westside Food Tasting Bike Tour with Guide

Go around the world without leaving Chicago! Sample the best of Chicago’s West side neighborhoods decadent food options. Learn the stories of the immigrants from all over the world who helped make Chicago the city it is today, while tasting their delicious foods. Gaze at the historic homes, warehouses, and skyscrapers of Chicago's most historic neighborhoods. Ride along the new elevated 606 trail and the beautiful Lakefront Trail. Begin your tour in Chicago's bustling River North. Cross the iconic Chicago river, then ride through historic meatpacking district Fulton Market, now Chicago's restaurant and tech ground zero. Sample a delicious Mexican torta and a beer at a celebrity chef's new brewpub. Then ride past Google's new headquarters and some beautiful murals before arriving in Ukrainian Village, where you will taste the world's best Polish pierogis. From there, pass gorgeous 19th-century mansions before having another delicious ethnic snack in hipster hot spot Wicker Park. Bike along the new 606 trail, a bike path on a formal elevated rail line, and then sample some delicious ice cream and toffee in Lincoln Park. From there, head to quaint Old Town for a chocolate tasting, and finish off the tour with a beautiful ride down Chicago's world-famous Lakefront Trail.

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Other Sightseeing Options in River North

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What people are saying about River North

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,375 reviews

Es un paseo muy bonito, bien explicado, las bebidas a bordo deliciosas, y las fotos que se pueden tomar en el paseo de las 5pm son increíbles, Chicago de noche se ve hermoso.

The tour guide, Jack, was the star of this trip- engaging, knowledgeable, and funny! I would highly recommend a tour with him!

A great way to figure out where you want to spend additional time. Canopy on the roof keeps you warm, even when chilly.

We had beautiful clear skies and really enjoyed the views and listening to the tour guide.

The tour guide for the 2pm sailing was out standing!!