Learn about the major players in the development of early Chicago, the river’s outsized significance to the city’s growth, how colossal engineering feats shaped the cityscape, why the river flows backwards, and much more!
This two hour kayak tour guides you through the early years of the city as we paddle through the picturesque urban canyon of the downtown Chicago River. Soak up the sights and history along the bustling corridor of the recently renovated riverwalk promenade, and experience an unmatched view of our ever-developing city of skyscrapers!
During the excursion, kayakers enjoy passing under the many unique, articulated ironwork bridges (the second largest operational drawbridge system in the world!), the fantastic shoreline people-watching, and the wide variety of wildlife that has been drawn to the majestic downtown segment of the Chicago River.
DurationOn-water: ~2 hours
Orientation/Launch: ~25 minutes
Ticket Price$65 per adult
$45 per child (under 16)
OptionsChildren too small to paddle can ride in the middle of a double at no charge
InclusionsSingle or double kayak (choose on-site), life vest, paddle, guide(s), paddling lesson, sunscreen
AttireComfortable, water-friendly clothing and shoes are suggested, as you may get wet. Denim not recommended. Dress for the weather on the day of the event.
Weight LimitsSingle kayak - 275 lbs (approx.); Double kayak - 500 lbs (approx.)
At the beginning of each tour, we teach the basics of flat water kayaking and brief our guests on river safety.
As a group, we embark on our journey through the city on a route chosen to stop at the best vistas on all three branches of the river. Wateriders' guides paddle alongside to ensure everyone’s safety.
HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE
Learn how Chicago went from an outback trading post to a bustling metropolis in less than half of a century!
During stops, we help explain the strong links between the Chicago River and the city itself. Larger-than-life personalities are the standard here, from the first fiddle playing, unofficial mayor, to the early boosters whose investments drove major development, to the pioneers and innovators of industry who established Chicago as a world-class city.
In addition, prominent buildings are discussed for their historical and architectural significance.
Take in your surroundings from the peaceful platform of a sea kayak. Savor the atmosphere as you glide past Chicago’s spectacular interior skyline. Many amazing photos are waiting to be captured along the way.
We'll finish with a beautiful view of the skyline, and paddle back to the dock where we started. Enjoy some food and drink at one of the many nearby restaurants if you’ve worked up an appetite.
Pedro-n-Vida: They did a great job explaining. Everyone was awesome, and most importantly, it was an amazing location. Totally recommend it for anyone!
Armitagemike: This was a lot of fun, with a lot of cool knowledge thrown in. The architectural tour of Chicago gave a unique perspective...
Bovinette: The people at Wateriders were so nice, laid back and easy going. It was a wonderful experience for the whole family...