Get Out on the River!

Don't miss the Chicago River this summer

SUMMER 2017 – Summer in Chicago means getting outside — and in this city there are so many ways to do that. Most people immediately think of hitting Lake Michigan on a boat or jet ski, going to the beach, taking a bike or going for a run along the lakefront path or setting up a picnic in the parks along the water. The Chicago River, while a main artery, often got overlooked in the past. Over the last few years, however, the city has poured an estimated $100 million into overhauling and updating the Riverwalk — which stretches for 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Wolf Point — with many new restaurants, bars and shops open to the public. And a bunch of river cruises — whether an architectural tour or dinner cruise — also give visitors a reason to hit the river. So what can you see?

Restaurants and Bars

  • City Winery: The popular Fulton Market restaurant/wine bar/concert venue opened an outpost along the Riverwalk where you can sip wine, enjoy small plates and chill as boats go by.
  • Tiny Tapp & Café: Tiny Lounge, one of the city’s top cocktail bars located in Lincoln Square, opened this new venture on the river where you can get craft cocktails, locally roasted coffee and an array of bites.
  • Cyrano’s Café & Wine Bar: Looking for a little piece of France in Chicago? Cyrano’s, one of the oldest restaurants along the river (east of Michigan Avenue), has plenty of French favorites for you to enjoy while relaxing under the trees in their “sidewalk” garden that includes romantic French music playing through speakers.
  • O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café: Enjoy burgers, salads, sandwiches, steaks and more on the sprawling riverside patio.


  • Urban Kayaks: Want to explore the river on your own from the water? Rent a kayak and head out for a self-guided cruise — just watch out for the big boats going by!
  • Wheel Fun Rentals: If sticking to land is your thing, rent bikes here and cruise along the riverwalk.
  • Fishing: If you have a fishing license, you can drop a line into the river. You’d be surprised how many different species of fish live in the river.
  • Sightseeing cruises: Between Wendella, First Lady Cruises, Mercury and more, you can enjoy a guided architectural tour of the iconic buildings lining the river.

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