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Chicago Riverwalk: Birthplace of Chicago

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2 hrs

Max 20

Why Choose This Tour?

Chicago's Riverwalk is popular amongst locals and tourists alike. Lined with cafes, wineries and bars, it's a social hub, but its so much more than that. This is one of the finest vantage points from which to take in the city's incredible architecture. It's home to some wonderful public art and monuments. And, as the original birthplace of the city, it's the best place to learn about the history and development of Chicago. Led by an expert local guide, you'll explore all this space has to offer, hearing the city's rags to riches tale.

Highlights

  • Created with Sketch.Behind the Scenes access to the McCormick Bridgehouse Museum
  • Created with Sketch.Discover the inner workings of Chicago’s famous Trunnion Bascule bridges
  • Created with Sketch.Stunning views of Chicago architecture
  • Created with Sketch.Learn about the reversal of the Chicago River
  • Created with Sketch.Discover the heartbreaking story of the SS Eastland Disaster
  • Created with Sketch.“Untitled” by Picasso
  • Created with Sketch.Worlds largest Tiffany Dome

Discover the lifeblood of Chicago on this local-led riverwalk tour

COVID UPDATE. Effective August 20, 2021, the city of Chicago is requiring masks be worn for anyone over the age of 2 in all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination (via physical card, photo of card, or paper copy of card) is required to enter the McCormick Bridgehouse Museum. You will also be required to wear a mask. For full requirements, please check here.

Meet your expert local guide at Pioneer Court, in the shadow of the iconic Wrigley Building on the North Side of the Dusable Bridge. We’ll begin our journey with a tribute to ...

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COVID UPDATE. Effective August 20, 2021, the city of Chicago is requiring masks be worn for anyone over the age of 2 in all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination (via physical card, photo of card, or paper copy of card) is required to enter the McCormick Bridgehouse Museum. You will also be required to wear a mask. For full requirements, please check here.

Meet your expert local guide at Pioneer Court, in the shadow of the iconic Wrigley Building on the North Side of the Dusable Bridge. We’ll begin our journey with a tribute to Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the original settler to Chicago whose namesake adorns the bridge. As you cross the bridge you’ll feel the water rushing beneath you. Take it in. It is the River and Lake Michigan that created Chicago. As you stand atop the movable bridge, with boats effortlessly sailing beneath you, your eyes will be drawn skyward toward the towering downtown Chicago skyline.

Cross to the southern side of the bridge and discover the original site of Fort Dearborn and the battles that played out there. Then make your way down the steps to the Riverwalk. Lined with outdoor restaurants, bars, public art, and memorials, this glorious stretch of Chicago is a local's favorite.

We continue our journey with a special access visit to the five-storey McCormick Bridgehouse Museum where you’ll go into the underbelly of the bridge. Chicago's bridges are famous for the unique engineering (known as Trunnion Bascule bridges) which makes them raise like see-saws on their axis. See close-up how precise their balance is.

As we work our way down the Riverwalk you’ll encounter four distinct districts: The Confluence, The Arcade, The Civic and The Esplanade. Your expert guide will regale you with captivating stories along the way such as the tale of the Jewelers Building. Was it really home to an Al Capone speakeasy? What are those two buildings that look like giant cobs of corn? Reflect and learn about the tragedy of the 1915 SS Eastland Disaster which took more lives than the Titanic over the course of 30 minutes.

You’ll exit the Riverwalk at LaSalle but you're not done yet! Our guide will then take you to see “Untitled” by Picasso, a 50 foot tall statue the famous artist gifted the city. You’ll end your tour in the famous Tiffany Dome room of Chicago Cultural Center where your guide will bring it all together with a discussion of the “Y”; the famous symbol of the city of Chicago.

  • Sites Visited
  • Wrigley Building
  • Tribune Tower
  • DuSable Bridge
  • McCormick Bridgehouse and Museum (Behind the Scenes Access)
  • Jewelers Building
  • Herald Square Vietnam Memorial
  • Marina Towers
  • Site of the SS Eastland Disaster
  • “Untitled” statue by Picasso
  • Chicago Temple
  • Tour Includes
  • Expert local guide
Chicago Riverwalk, view from the top of McCormick Museum