Illinois Tours

Our most recommended Illinois Tours

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

1. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Experience more of Chicago by boat than on any other architectural cruise. See architectural highlights and enjoy an open-air deck or climate-controlled interior as you travel the main River and its north and south branches. View all of Chicago's architectural highlights during this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Be entertained by the expert and friendly tour guides as they explain the 130 year-long history behind the skyline, while bartenders and staff keep you comfortable with refreshments.  Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and goes up the main branch of the Chicago River past Wolf Point. It then cruises along the north and south branches of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. On the way, learn about ornate, historic early skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the imposing art deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building. Don't miss the circular Marina City Towers, the majestic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and the tallest building in Chicago) the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower. During your cruise, have the opportunity to enjoy a full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

Chicago: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture River Cruise

2. Chicago: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture River Cruise

Admire Chicago’s impressive architecture from a unique perspective aboard a cruise sailing down the Chicago River, which features an indoor and outdoor deck, along with live commentary tailored to entertain the whole family. Treat yourself to a full-service cash bar at your own expense. Experience the best of the Chicago River from Lakeshore Drive to the Willis Tower, navigating along the South branch of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. Be entertained by the fun and experienced tour guides as they explain the history behind Chicago’s buildings along the river and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing skyline. Enjoy the most relaxing way to sightsee in Chicago, exploring the city free of traffic, noise, and congestion. Make sure to visit the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits. Explore the open-air decks that allow you to feel the cooling river breeze and see the city from many vantage points that provide perfect photo opportunities.

Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-the-Ticket-Office

3. Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-the-Ticket-Office

Skip the lines at the ticket office and climb aboard a state-of-the-art cruise for a 60- or 75-minute cruise of all 3 branches of the Chicago River, and marvel at the architecture that has made the city so legendary. Get an insight into the buildings and engineering of a city that gave birth to the skyscraper and is the spiritual home of modern American architecture. Your expert guide will lead you down the Chicago River to uncover hidden gems, as well the city’s most renowned landmarks, such as the John Hancock building, Trump Tower, Marina City, Willis Tower, and more. Relax with a glass of something cold from the cash bar, as you cruise the Windy City’s waterway, and learn its status as a modern metropolis and one of the world’s most beautiful cities. End your tour in the same place where you boarded the boat.

Chicago: Lake Michigan Skyline Sightseeing Cruise

4. Chicago: Lake Michigan Skyline Sightseeing Cruise

Immerse yourself in the sights and learn about Chicago’s history and architecture during a cruise on Lake Michigan. Take advantage of skip-the-line entry privileges with a barcoded ticket that lets you proceed directly to the boarding line. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to the city for the first time, taking in the spectacular views of Chicago's skyline from the lake makes for a perfect outing. You’ll see the city as never before while listening to commentary on Chicago's history and architectural gems. Simply hop on board, sit back, relax, and enjoy as you admire Chicago's most significant landmarks and striking buildings that make up the city's skyline that has appeared in so many movies and TV shows.

Chicago: Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise

5. Chicago: Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise

Discover Chicago's sparkling skyline from Lake Michigan on a sightseeing cruise. Savor a mouthwatering meal while listening to music played by a live DJ. Sip on unlimited coffee and tea while gazing out at sights like Navy Pier, Grant Park, and Willis Tower. Board the boat at Navy Pier and enjoy a personal greeting. Smile for the ship's photographer to capture the memory, then embark on an elegant dining cruise along the Chicago shoreline. After being seated at your private table, tuck into your gourmet meal. Enjoy a creative meal prepared fresh by the onboard chef. Following your meal, dance to live music or relax on any of the 3 decks as you watch the skyscrapers of Chicago's distinctive skyline glide by.  Sample lunch and dinner menu: Starters (choice of one): Caesar Salad Lobster Bisque (dinner only) Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (dinner only, available for additional price) Seafood Tower (dinner only, available for additional price) 2.5oz 1/2 Lobster Tail (dinner only, available for additional price) Main course (choice of one): Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli Oven-Baked Atlantic Salmon Filet Oven Roasted Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary and Thyme Braised Beef Short Rib Pan-Seared Fresh Pacific Cod (dinner only) 8 oz USDA Choice Filet Mignon (dinner only, available for additional price) 18 oz USDA Prime Striploin (dinner only, available for additional price) Two 5 oz Broiled Maine Lobster Tails (dinner only, available for additional price) Choice of dessert (choice of one): Eli's New York Style Cheesecake Duo of Sorbet Freshly Cut Fruit and Fresh Strawberries Triple Chocolate Mud Pie (dinner only) Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake (dinner only) French Macarons (dinner only, available for additional price) Champagne Chocolate Truffles (dinner only, available for additional price) Menu items are subject to change.

Chicago: Gourmet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner River Cruise

6. Chicago: Gourmet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner River Cruise

Enjoy a fine dining experience on the Chicago River while admiring unparalleled riverfront views on this city cruise trip. Explore the beautiful Chicago Riverwalk when boarding the boat. Be welcomed aboard by the crew as the ship's photographer captures the moment. Arrive early for your cruise, dressed to impress. Be escorted to your table in the dining area. With its gorgeous glass-enclosed design, enjoy Chicago's incredible architecture from your seat. Savor a delicious meal prepared freshly on board. You can also buy a cocktail from the bar. To add to your enjoyment, the dinner cruise includes music by an onboard DJ. During the lunch and brunch cruises, listen to informative commentary on some of the architectural highlights along the river. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer, enjoy the Navy Pier fireworks display. Sample Dinner Menu Choice of starter: Caesar salad, lobster soup Choice of main course: Jumbo lump crab cakes, maple, and mustard glazed chicken breast, braised beef short rib, jumbo forest mushroom ravioli Choice of dessert: Eli’s original cheesecake, duo seasonal sorbet, chocolate decadent cake, odyssey signature warm butter cake Sample Brunch Menu Choice of starter: Caesar salad, Scottish smoked salmon toast, Greek yogurt, and granola parfait, fresh blueberries and strawberries Choice of main course: Cannellini bean shakshuka, maple, and mustard glazed chicken breast, scrambled eggs, raisin and cinnamon french toast Choice of dessert: Eli's New York-style cheesecake, tres con leche flan, triple chocolate mud pie, freshly cut fruit, and fresh strawberries Sample Lunch Menu Starter: Caesar SaladChoice of main course: Jumbo forest mushroom ravioli, maple, and mustard glazed chicken breast, oven-baked Atlantic salmon fillet, braised beef short ribChoice of dessert: Eli's New York-style cheesecake, freshly cut fruit, and fresh strawberries, duo of sorbet

Chicago: Craft Brewery Tour by Barrel Bus

7. Chicago: Craft Brewery Tour by Barrel Bus

Explore the best of Chicago’s craft beer scene, all while riding on a barrel bus. Discover three distinct breweries in Chicago and taste some delicious beers. Your tour begins when you step through a speakeasy-style door into a custom-engineered bus. Get a fully immersive experience of beer on a barrel-shaped bus. Get a chance to go behind the scenes at one of the best nano-breweries in town, where you will get a VIP tour of the production facility and learn all about the beer-making process. You will sample approximately 45-55 ounces in total throughout your experience. 

Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

8. Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

See a different side of Chicago on a family-friendly guided tour and hear the tales of the ghosts that haunt the city. Explore the famous Chicago Loop district with interesting stories hidden behind each turn. Embark along the Chicago Loop, known as the vice district during the 1920s and 30s. See the places where gangsters such as Al Capone used to party, make deals, and carry out business. Visit haunted locations and old crime scenes led by historians. Stop at the Congress Hotel, Death Alley, and the Palmer House. Enjoy a refreshment along with way, with frequent stops and a restroom break.

Chicago: 2.5-Hour Taste of Chinatown Food Walking Tour

9. Chicago: 2.5-Hour Taste of Chinatown Food Walking Tour

Explore the complex layers of Chinese culture and the many contributions these people have made to both Chicago and the world. And what better way to show off Chinese culture then through food? Your guide will take the confusion and language barrier away as you sample your way through a variety of Chinatown's best restaurants and well-kept secret recipes. Start your tour at Phoenix Restaurant and begin with some yummy dim sum dumplings and a traditional Chinese tea tasting. Next, it will be time for a sweet treat - buttery custard tarts from Chinatown's oldest bakery. Then, try a unique and delicious spicy meat sandwich from the Xi'an region. Afterward, stroll through the charming Chinatown Square with its ethnic grocery stores and souvenir shops. Finally, taste a sampling of succulent dry chili chicken, followed by the famous spicy Szechuan hot pot. You'll have traveled all over China but only walked a few blocks on this delicious tour of one of Chicago's most fascinating neighborhoods.

Chicago: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

10. Chicago: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower, and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's most impressive landmarks while listening to entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Explore this dynamic city with the freedom to hop on and hop off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Natural History Museum. You’ll travel along the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. All stops are conveniently located to make navigating your way around the city easy, and with a choice of 24- or 48-hour tickets, you can take your time discovering Chicago.

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What people are saying about Illinois

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,383 reviews

Lizzy, our guide was so sweet! You walk through the beautiful city, stop here and there and listen to interesting facts and stories. Halfway through there‘s a break for getting some brownies and using the bathroom. Would definetly recommend! Lizzy always made sure everybody has a great time and no one gets lost and stays with the group. Loved it!

I had a very Knowledgeable and fun tour guide . The trip was interesting and funny. I learned a lot about the city and it's architecture. Highly recommended! Totally worth it.

Fun way to spend time in Chicago! It was easy to keep up with and hear our guide, and she led us to gems in the city we wouldn't have found otherwise!

Superb commentary from informed, intelligent and interesting boat tour guide.

The best city tour I've ever experienced! Highly recommend.