One of our favorite ways to explore Chicago is with Shoreline Sightseeing. A company that’s been operating entertaining and informative cruises in Chicago for three generations, Shoreline also has the city’s largest fleet and most experienced tour guides. Their engaging cruise options provide the opportunity to see our beloved city from a unique vantage point — Lake Michigan or the Chicago River.
Why a Cruise?
Of course, there are plenty of sightseeing options in Chicago, including bus tours, walking tours, bike tours, and even Segway tours. But there’s something special about a sightseeing cruise that those other choices just can’t match.
In a city like Chicago, where much of the industry and development happened along the waterfront, cruises can show you invaluable pieces of history. Lake Michigan, for example, wasn’t always an entertainment mecca for locals and tourists alike. Some waterfront neighborhoods along the Chicago River have been recently revitalized, too, showcasing the city’s newer developments.
Then there’s the entertainment factor. Cruises are just plain fun in a way that sometimes other sightseeing tours aren’t. You can sit back and relax, enjoying the sun and cool breezes while listening to your expert tour guide. A sightseeing cruise combines the best of elements of an informative tour with the fun of a leisurely boat ride.
Top Tours from Shoreline Sightseeing
There are multiple sightseeing cruise options from Shoreline Sightseeing, but we’ve highlighted our two favorites below.
Architecture River Cruise
One of their most popular offerings, the Architecture River Cruise escorts visitors down all three branches of the Chicago River on an unforgettable 75-minute tour. You’ll see everything from famous landmarks to lesser-known architectural gems that make Chicago so special.
With more than 40 different architectural points of interest, you’re sure to see something inspiring. Highlights of this tour include the Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building, Marina City, and others.
Along the way you’ll also learn how and why Chicago became such an architectural powerhouse, with top names in the business like Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, and more leaving their mark on the city. Pick up the cruise from either Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier.
Classic Lake Tour
Another standout cruise option from Shoreline Sightseeing, this forty-minute excursion is a narrated tour of Chicago’s famous skyline. You’ll head out onto Lake Michigan and do a small loop, during which your guide will regale you with stories about the city and its history.
You’ll get panoramic views of the skyline from your cruise vessel, starting from the iconic Navy Pier. Then, sail north to the John Hancock Center (home to the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck), east to the lighthouse, and then south to the Museum Campus. There you can enjoy a unique perspective on the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.
The Shoreline Classic Lake Tour only operates from the spring to early fall, so be sure to make plans accordingly.
Save on Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises
Interested in learning more about Chicago aboard one of these exciting sightseeing cruises? Pick up a Go Chicago pass to save up to 55% on combined admission to either of these cruises, plus nearly 30 of the best Chicago attractions.