They reversed the flow of this river many years ago so that it now flows into Lake Michigan. They also die it green every St. Patrick's Day, although I've never seen that in person. Honestly though, it's pretty green all the time!
There are several different boats that you can find that will give you a guided tour down the river, and one or two with good narration about the architecture in the city. They also recently started gondola boats running during the summer, complete with singing gondoliers. Though it's quite expensive, I can only imagine that this would be a very romantic thing to do!
This picture was taken on one of the several bridges crossing the river.
You should also take a boat tour along the Chicago River downtown. There are a bunch of companies that offer these, but one of the best is done by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The docents are quite knowledgeable and it's a beautiful tour. See my travelogue for photos from the one I took the other day, before I left Chicago for Italy (sniff.)
Chicago is known for its beautiful buildings (though unfortunately, more are being torn down every week to put up ugly, faceless condos), and tour leaders talk about the history of the buildings you pass.
We enjoyed very much the one hour architecture cruise on the Chicago river. We boarded Shoreline's Star of Chicago from Navy Pier. The guide was very knowledgeable of the history of architecture of Chicago.
We saw numbers of buildings of which many are important landmarks of Chicago such as Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, 333 West Wacker Drive with its sleek curved glass walls, IBM building, Sears Tower, Marina City, etc.
I know this sounds very touristy but its a wonderful tour! Chicago is known for its unique architecture and skyline. The Architectural & Historical Society has a wonderful river boat cruise that takes you through Chicago and points out the history of some of the famous buildings. The boats are very nice with cocktails and food. Meanwhile you get to enjoy the sun and fresh air along the river. A nice event for business associates or by yourself. If its winter they have nice walks too!
I would definitely recommend the Chicago's First Lady Architectural River Cruises. I found them very interesting as well as informative.
The cruises are led by volunteers from the Chicago Architectural Foundation (usually these are architecture students who are trying to earn a living while they study). The guides actually know what they're talking about, and don't try to make up stories just for their shock value.
You also get a nice view of the city (as the canal runs right through downtown) without the smog (or at least you get much less smog).
Enjoyed the :90 architecture River & Lake Tour. The guide was informative, boat comfortable, people friendly. It was a beautiful day & a good way to begin and get a feel of the City.
A great way to see Chicago is by boat on the Chicago River. This famous river is dyed green on Saint Patrick's Day.
This bridge looks great especially due to its surounding building and because of the flags and lights in the evening. Bring a scarf in winter it is always windy.
I love the mornings when we sail out to Lake Michigan. This is a great time if you are watching or on board the boat!
90 min. cuise presents a great picture of architecture along the Chicago River, as well as those steel bridges above.
Take a cruise on the Chicago River out onto Lake Michgan and see the city......it's beautiful!! There are many different companies that do this, so shop around!
You can see the Chicago River from above in this picture. The River runs right through the middle of Chicago and there are boat tours to see the architecture and historic places of the City.
Neat, as you get to see the city from a unique perspective, that you might not see by car, bus, or on foot.
Take a river tour of Chicago's architecture.
This is a great, romantic and educational way to learn about the architecture in the city.