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Sometimes all it takes is a suggestion. Terry Johnson and Paul McCarthy founded their vessel-chartering business in 1980. But when a good friend recommended they offer expertly narrated tours on the history and the iconic architecture of Chicago, the pair jumped at the opportunity. Praised as the “Best architecture tour available” by the Chicago Sun-Times and “Most engaging tour of the bunch” by Time Out Chicago, their river cruises take passengers on three types of educational, 90-minute tours of the city. Chicago Line Cruises has transported more than three million Chicagoans and visitors along the river for entertainment, stunning views, and a deeper appreciation for architectural design.
Learn how Chicago became the birthplace of the first buildings to be dubbed "skyscrapers."
Hear how the Great Chicago Fire paved the way for an architectural renaissance.
See a broad selection of modern architectural styles and discover the distinctive characteristics of each.
Experience Chicago's first architectural river cruise.
Enjoy a cocktail during one of the evening cruises.
Hear the overarching story of how Chicago transformed from a swampy marshland to a world-class city.
Learn about the Chicagoans whose innovations helped influence architecture and commerce around the world.
Savor a cup of Starbucks coffee while a guide recounts Chicago's triumphant and tragic moments.
Historical tours are presented in partnership with the Chicago History Museum.
Private outings are available for 20–173 passengers.
Full-service bars and professional sound systems are available for special events.
Celebrate while savoring views of the Chicago skyline from a different perspective.
Choose from three vessels: the Ft. Dearborn,
the Innisfree, and the Marquette.
Ask an out-of-towner what they want to do when they visit Chicago, and they'll probably tell you they want to chow down on some deep-dish pizza. Chicago Pizza Tours owner and pizza aficionado Jonathan Porter leads parties on treks to some of the Windy City's most celebrated pizzerias with three different pie-themed tours. Guests sample Chicago's signature style with the deep-dish only holiday walking tour, enjoy slices with sides of adult beverages during pizza and cocktails outings, or visit the kitchens of four different restaurants during the original tour. Each outing takes visitors to local favorites across a wide range of styles and cuisines, from the caramelized thick crusts of Pequod's, the stuffed pies of Bacino's, or the Neapolitan-style creations of Spacca Napoli.
Recently, Jonathan Porter has teamed up with local writer and tour guide Jonathan Knotek to launch Chicago Prohibition Tours, a romp through some of Chicago's most famous speakeasies still in existence. During the 3.5-hour bus trip through the roaring '20s and beyond, guests can visit the old one-time haunts of gangsters and crooked pols, such as the Green Door Tavern or the Exchequer Restaurant and Pub, all while sipping popular cocktails from almost 100 years ago and communicating only through silent-film title cards.
When you were little, you probably thought the future would bring flying cars, robot servants, and hologram phones. Well, the future is here, and though we still don’t have any of those awesome inventions, we do have the Trikke—a motor-powered tricycle that you ride standing up.
Steve's Segway Tours and Trikke Chicago rents the three-wheeled vehicles for guided tours or solo jaunts around the lake, Chicago parks, and museums. The electric Trikkes propel riders forward and up the steep, treacherous hills Illinois is known for. Steve’s also rents out fitness Trikkes, which eschew the motor and are operated by riders swinging the body-powered vehicle from side to side in a carving motion. This twisting motion works the entire body, and the core in particular.
Trikke Chicago is sister to Steve's Segway Tours. For those interested in a more traditional tour vehicle, Steve’s offers Segway tours. All tours are led by charismatic guides, many of whom are up-and-comers in Chicago’s legendary theater and improvisation scene.
In 1935, Albert Borgstrom, a Swedish immigrant and carpenter by trade, set about constructing a 65-foot wooden yacht. He named the ship The Wendella and charged visitors $0.25 to ride through the city and listen to a guide expound on the sights. This simple vessel ended up being a steppingstone, and 75 years later, guests still ride along, now craning their heads back at the jagged opalescent silhouette of Trump Tower and the beehive curves of Marina City. Beneath the evolving skyline, the fleet has expanded to six vessels, which are now run by Albert's grandson, Michael Borgstrom. Wendella staffs a dedicated, in-house education department to keep the city's history alive and make sure that people continue to believe in water so it doesn’t disappear. On special excursions, the crew stocks the boats with wine for tastings beneath the stars or points the vessel through the verdigris waters of the lake to watch evening fireworks shows.