Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises


Download Our 2014 Brochure - PDF formatOur 2015 season has now concluded. Please join us next year for our 2016 season: April 9 - November 20!

Named one of the Top Ten Tours in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises is consistently recognized by locals and visitors alike as the best way to see Chicago. 

Learn about the architecture and design of over 50 buildings as described by CAF-Certified Volunteer Docents/Guides on this 90-minute tour. Don't settle for imitations, look for the CAF logo. Cruises depart daily. Open-air and air-conditioned seating is available. Full Service Bar onboard each vessel. 

All tours depart from Riverside Gardens on Chicago's Riverwalk at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive (Southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge). Look for our blue awning. Please be on time for boarding. Tickets may not be refunded or exchanged if you miss your boat!

A portion of the cruise fee supports architecture education, provided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Thank you for your support.


2016 Cruising Season:
April 9 - November 20

Length of Cruise:
90 minutes

$39.74 per person (+ city tax) for daytime tours
$42.58 (+ city tax) for 7:30p Twilight Tour

  • Tickets available online through Ticketmaster or in-person at dock.
  • Tour is 90 minutes
  • Advance reservations highly recommended as many tours sell out during the summer season and on weekends.
  • Each person must have a ticket including infants and children.
  • Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your cruise departure time. Allow extra time in summer!
  • Cruise guests board 15 minutes before departure time.
  • 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!

Please be aware that all bags are inspected prior to boarding and no luggage is allowed onboard. 

Tour route subject to change without notice.


Please check back in 2016 for onsale dates.

Tickets may be purchased online through Ticketmaster, at the dock in-person* or through the Chicago Architecture Foundation*.

Dock Ticket Window Open Hours (Michigan & Wacker, on Riverwalk)
Monday – Wednesday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
Thursday – Sunday:  9:00am – 5:00pm

NOTE: Extended hours in summer

Payment methods accepted at dock: Cash, Visa, MasterCard, China UnionPay, JCB, BCcard

Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 S. Michigan Avenue)
Tickets may be purchased at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Cash, Visa or MasterCard accepted. Open 7 days per week.

Online through 
Secure your seat for the day and time of your choosing by purchasing in advance online at or by calling 1-800-982-2787. Choose any Tuesday or Wednesday daytime cruise and save $7 per person with promo code TTW**. (Excludes 7:30p Twilight Cruise.)

* Tickets purchased in person at the dock ticket window or the Chicago Architecture Foundation are exempt from Ticketmaster fees.
** Ticketmaster purchases only. TO USE: 1) Select date. 2) Enter code TTW in top left corner in the “enter offer code/password” field”. 3) Select time. 4) In pop-up box look for ONLINE PROMO and select number of tickets desired.


Groups of 10 or more may be booked directly by calling the Chicago Architecture Foundation at 312-322-1130 or emailing (certain discounts may apply.) Docents/Guides for private parties are also available. Group reservations are taken throughout the year.

Click here to make a Group Reservation.


Each Chicago's First Lady vessel is equipped with a full service bar and friendly bartender. Enjoy a choice of icey cold beers, wines, fun summer drinks, as well as coffee, tea and Coca Cola products. Bottles of wine and champagne are also available for purchase to enhance any on-board celebration! Credit cards are gladly accepted at the bar and group consumption tabs are also available.


Our docks are conveniently located along Chicago’s Riverwalk at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive – look for our blue awning! For map directions and GPS, please enter 112 E. Wacker Drive.

  • Within walking distance of most hotels
  • 3 blocks north of Millennium Park
  • At entrance to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) – famous shopping street
  • Dock located on Chicago’s Riverwalk, a scenic 1.3 mile walkway along the Chicago River between downtown and Lake Michigan
  • Enjoy lush, urban gardens of Riverside Gardens before or after your cruise
  • Discounted parking is located across the street at 111 E. Wacker Dr.