Voted “Chicago’s Best Tour” by Chicago Reader, the CAF River Cruise is a “must” for out-of-towners and Chicagoans alike. CAF-certified volunteer tour guides—called docents—interpret more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River, revealing how the city grew from a small back-country outpost into one of the world’s most important crossroads in less than 100 years. In 90 minutes, get the real story on Chicago architecture and its history.
How to Buy Tickets
Chicago Roadways Under Construction: Please allow extra time to get to your cruise. Many streets and highways have significant delays. Learn more on how you’ll be affected .
Advance reservations are highly recommended as many tours sell out during spring and summer and on weekends. You can purchase tickets:
CAF Shop and Tour Center - 224 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago's First Lady dock - Southeast corner of Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Dr. (enter 112 E. Wacker Drive into your GPS)
Phone*: Only available to CAF Members. Call 312.922.TOUR (8687)
Online: Ticketmaster (fees and surcharges will apply)
*CAF Members redeem your 2-for-1 benefit via phone or in-person at 224 S. Michigan Ave. only.
Interested in a private rental or have a group of 20 or more?
Please contact our group sales team at 312.322.1130 or email@example.com.
Capture Chicago Photography Cruise
Saturdays and Sundays, May 29—October 12, at 9am
Attention photographers! Capture Chicago's beautiful buildings during an exclusive CAF River Cruise designed with the photographer in mind. Move freely around the boat and have access to all angles while a highly-trained docent points out architectural highlights along the way. The tour will pause three times giving you the prime opportunity to capture the city's architecture. This tour is only offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago's First Lady Cruises. Space is limited so book your tickets today!
Twilight River Cruise
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, May 29—October 12, at 7:30pm
The city's most popular tour is now offered at twilight. Serene and bathed in softer light, the city's architecture takes on a whole new life in the setting sun. Wind-down from the work-week by enjoying a cocktail with friends and family and experience Chicago's skyline on our luxury boats.
- CAF Members please call 312.922.8687 or come to the CAF Box Office at 224 S. Michigan Ave. to redeem your 2-for-1 benefit.
- Each person must have a ticket, including infants and children.
- All tours depart rain or shine.
- Arrive 30 minutes prior to your cruise departure time. Allow extra time for traffic and parking in summer.
- Cruise guests board 15 minutes before departure time.
- GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
- A full-service bar and snack bar are available onboard.
- Ticket price does not include applicable city tax.
- Tickets may not be refunded or exchanged if you miss your boat. Allow extra time.
Directions to Chicago’s First Lady boat dock
See a map here or enter 112 E. Wacker Drive into your GPS.
Your CAF river cruise departs from a dock just 8 blocks north of the CAF Shop and Tour Center. Located at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive, a blue awning marks the boat dock entrance stairs that lead down to the river. If you have limited mobility, see these directions for an alternative way to reach the dock.
About our Boat Partner
We’re proud to partner with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, operator of Chicago’s finest fleet of cruising vessels. Its boats hold up to 200 passengers and feature open-air upper decks, full-service bars, climate-controlled lower cabins and upscale marble and granite restrooms. Being onboard is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.