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Plan Your Visit to the Chicago Architecture Foundation




River Cruise

CLOSED FOR THE WINTER: Due to harsh winters that often freeze the Chicago River, our River Cruise is currently out of season until Spring 2015.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise departs from the dock of the Chicago’s First Lady Cruise Line/Riverside Gardens. The dock is located at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive, across the street from the Fannie May candy shop. Map

Discounted parking for all Architecture River Cruise participants is available at Systems Parking, 111 East Wacker Drive. To receive the discount, validate the parking ticket at both the Chicago’s First Lady dock ticket window and the System Parking ticket offices before using the automated machine in the parking facility.  Discount applies to stays under 4 hours only. Map

The Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is located at 224 South Michigan Avenue in the Santa Fe Building on the Northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. Map


Discounted parking is available for CAF members at the Millennium Park or Grant Park South parking garages. Show your membership card at the Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop & Tour Center between 9:30am and 6pm to request your discount voucher. Map

Visit the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra for detailed directions using public transportation.

Visitors with disabilities can find information regarding river cruise access and boarding at http://cruisechicago.com/location/accessible_drop_off_area/




Shop & Tour Center

9am—6:30pm (Sat-Thurs)
9am—7pm (Fri)

Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day

You can also shop online anytime at shop.architecture.org.

ArcelorMittal Design Studio

Daily 9:30am—4:30pm

Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Corporate Offices

9am–5pm (Mon—Fri)

Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day


Hotel Burnham's Holiday Lights, City Lights Package

Hotel Burnham’s Holiday Lights, City Lights Package

Stay at the Burnham this holiday season and enjoy the following magical perks with our “Holiday Lights” package:

  • Overnight accommodations
  • Two tickets for the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s “Holiday Lights, City Lights Tour” where guests will venture downtown to view Chicago’s beautiful holiday lights at night aboard a heated trolley, while learning about the magnificent architecture and development of the city.
  • Warm up with hot chocolate and chocolate stout cake at Atwood
  • Available Friday – Sunday, November 28 – December 28
  • Must book a minimum of 7 days in advance

For more information, and reservations >>



In addition to the world-famous Architecture River Cruise, the Chicago Architecture Foundation offers more than 85 walking, boat, bus, bike, and Segway tours. Find detailed information on all tours, or search for a specific tour by date or keyword in the tours section of the website.

Find a tour

Current Exhibitions


Chicago Model

The Chicago Model is a 320-square-foot model of downtown that enables you to see Chicago as you’ve never seen it before. It is the only accurate and up-to-date model of the city.

Learn more about the model


Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin

Five lakes, a river, and a gulf. One basin.
50 million people call it home.
11,000 miles of coastline surround these bodies of water.
20% of the world's fresh surface water fills the basin.
But there is no comprehensive plan to guide its growth.

We must change how we live to protect the integrity of the world's largest fresh water resource. Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin builds upon SOM's ongoing pro bono initiative, begun in 2009, to develop a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region.

Learn more about this exhibition



The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers more than 100 programs each year, most of which are free and held in the Lecture Hall Gallery at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Family friendly programs are also offered at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Learn more


girl with model at engineer day
Photos & Video

Unless otherwise posted, you are welcome to take photos and video of exhibitions, programs, and tours with personal hand-held cameras. We welcome everyone to share their photos and videos with us via our social media networks: Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and Pinterest.

Professional photographers and videographers should contact Justin Lyons at 312.922.3432 or jlyons@architecture.org prior to any filming or photography.

Foreign Language Tours & Audio Tours

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers several foreign language tours and audio tours.

Tickets & Admission Fees

Exhibitions and many programs are free and open to the public. See the programs listing for information.

Many tours are free or discounted for Chicago Architecture Foundation members. See individual tours for prices and purchasing options.

Special Offers

Go Chicago Card is a great way to save on your vacation to Chicago. The Go Chicago Card gives you free access to more than 30 of Chicago’s top attractions and discounts at some of Chicago’s top retailers and restaurants. Visit the Go Chicago Card site for more information and to purchase a card.



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