Boat Tours & Taxis, Chicago
To get another angle on the city, take a one-and-half hour boat cruise down the Chicago River aboard Chicago’s First Lady and Learn about the architecture and design of over 50 buildings as described by CAF-Certified Docents/Guides.
90 minute river cruises from May through to November.
$32.00 each: Saturday and Sunday
$28.00 each: Monday to Friday
Riverside Gardens, Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive
Southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge
A great way to get around Chicago's River System is to use CHICAGO WATER TAXIS.
I saw several when we were on our Boat Tour. They operate on the Chicago River, shuttling passengers between Madison Street on the South Branch; LaSalle Street and Michigan Avenue on the Main Branch; River East on the Main Branch in Ogden Slip. Water Taxis will even take you to Chinatown.
Single Ride $2.00
Single Ride Including Chinatown $4.00
All Day Pass $6.00
many cities in the united states offer water taxi services and here in chicago, it is no different. the water taxis offer lots of chicago river tours and the biggest water taxi company in chicago is the chicagowater taxis. the address is at: 400 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 P 312-337-1446. A single ride costs $ 2 excluding the chinatown station of which the fare will be $ 4 and an all day pass is at $ 6. it is a cheaper alternative to seeing the chicago river architechtural wonders than a river tour. Another popular water taxi service is the shoreline sightseeing water taxis at 474 N. Lake Shore Dr. Suite 3511 Chicago, Illinois 60611 and the numbers are: Phone: 312.222.9328 Fax: 312.321.0632.
many tours groups offer boat rides with lake michigan tours and or chicago river tours or both (the tours are 2 hour or 3 hour day or sunset or night with or without food or cocktails. Prices starts at $ 25 to $ 60) and they are mainly anchored off the navy pier area. examples of the boat tour companies are: Tall Ship Windy, please call (312) 595-5555 and their website at www.tallshipwindy.com ; Seadog excursions, call (888) 636-7737, website at www.seadogcruises.com/chicago/. ; Shoreline, call (312) 222-9328, website at www.shorelinesightseeing.com. please visit the navy pier website for a more thorough listing of boat companies and thour groups.
During the warmer months, you can use a commuter river taxi as an alternative to taking the el or a bus to get from the commuter train stations near Sears (Willis) Tower to the other side of the downtown area near the Magnificent Mile. The cost is $2 one way, $4 one way for Chinatown, with 10 ride tickets, daily and monthly passes also offered. The ride from Madison Street to Michigan Avenue is only 10 minutes, the longest ride is from Chinatown to Michigan Avenue, that ride is 22-25 minutes. There's no commentary on the Chicago Water Taxi, it's strictly a way to get around but a very scenic one.
Stops: Madison Street near Union Station/Ogilvie Transportation Center, LaSalle & Clark Streets, Michigan Avenue near the Wrigley Building and Chinatown. The Chinatown schedule is more limited during the week with a full schedule on the weekends and holidays.
There is also the Shoreline River Taxi between Navy Pier and Sears Tower and Shoreline Harbor Taxi between Navy Pier and the Museum Campus (Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Adler Planetarium) which run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. These are a little more expensive and are geared towards tourists.
The Chicago Water Taxi is a fun way to get around in the downtown area. This is a scheduled boat service that runs on the Chicago River with four stops: Michigan Ave., LaSalle/Clark, Madison St., and Chinatown. The Magnificent Mile can be easily accessed from the Michigan Ave. stop. Union Station (Metra and Amtrak) and Ogilvie Transportation Center (Metra) can be accessed from the Madison St. stop. Chicago's Chinatown is a short walk from the Chinatown stop. Tickets are generally $2 one-way, while it is $4 to Chinatown. See web site for the most up-to-date information as well as schedules.
Heading toward the recent Chicago VT meeting after picking up my son and his girlfriend we were debating on how to traverse the 1.5 miles from my son's condo to Lou Malnati's Pizza. I said ,"Let's Walk". He said, "Let's Take the "L"". She said, "Let's Take a Taxi". Being a Libra I like to compromise so I said, "Let's walk a few blocks, past the "L" and take the Water Taxi".
This turned out to be a great idea even if we did miss the stop we wanted to get off of and were a little late for the 6:15 p.m. dinner start off time. But we got a nice ride on a chilly, yet sunny June evening and believe it or not this was my first time ever on the Chicago River in all my 56 years.
Now a little practical info: The Chicago Water Taxi runs during the spring, summer and fall. I believe it shuts down in the Winter. There are 3 stops along the route at Madison (where we got on) which is near the Ogilvie Transporation Center, at LaSalle and Clark which is near the Merchandise Mart (where we wanted to get off) and at Michigan Ave (near the Wrigley Building). Usually the water taxi stops at all 3 both coming and going, but since this was the last boat of the evening they were going from Madison to Michigan. They did however take us back to LaSalle and Clark.
The taxi's run from about 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every weekday and run at about 12 to 15 minute intervals. I think the schedule is a little more limited on weekends, but just check the website for current info. The cost for a one way ride was $2. For an all day pass it would cost $4 or a 10 ride pass is $16. On weekends they also run the Taxi once an hour from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to Chinatown for a cost of $4 one way or $6 all day.
Let's not forget that the Chicago River is a working waterway. Particularly the South Branch, which goes through some pretty gritty industrial districts on its jolly way to Joliet.
Here a well-laden barge is carrying a significant amount of gravel. In the background, under construction you can see some of the new South Loop condo towers.
Staying in Chicago you absolutely have to do an architectural boat cruise along the Chicago River. They leave at Navy Pier and cost 20 US$ per person for a 2 hours boat ride. You can buy the tickets at the Pier. There is a guide on every boat who explains you every skyscraper and other buildings in the Windy City. For me it was extremely interesting to hear about how the city was planned and constructed. And from the boat you get some very special views of the town...
The Wendella boats are a part of the Chicago River's history. Founded in 1935 the company has provided tours as well as more basic transportation called the "riverbus" that runs spring-fall Monday through Friday -- a popular option during transit strikes!