Nestled in the hustle and bustle of the city of Chicago is a hidden gem known as the Chicago Riverwalk. Free to the public, this 1.25-mile long treasure has slowly but surely made its way into the fabric of Chicago’s culture. A blend of local vendors, dining, water recreation, and scenic walkway, the Riverwalk offers something for everyone visiting The Windy City.
One of the highlights of the Riverwalk is its access to the beautiful architecture that has helped make Chicago so iconic. Guests can check out boat cruises that provide unique views of the city’s buildings and insight into the history of the architecture. Guests who are particularly interested in the subject can also visit the Chicago Architecture Center. The center is home to exhibits on the history of Chicago, as well as information on other tall buildings around the world. Walking, biking and bus tours are also available.
Other structural marvels in the area include the 18 movable bridges located within a two = mile loop of Downtown Chicago. A walk along the famous Wacker Drive affords views of all of these, and a chance for visitors to see the evolution of the bridge designs within the city of Chicago.
After your architecture tour, be sure to stop at one of the many dining establishments along the Riverwalk. Whether you’re looking for a sit-down meal, drinks with friends, or a cool treat on a hot Midwest summer day, the Riverwalk has what you’re craving! Check out the Chicago Riverwalk website for a guide to the restaurants and bars located in the area.
Visitors can also experience the Shop Small Chicago initiative, which seeks to bring local makers and artisans a broader platform and exposure. The Community Marketplace is full of vendors you can only find in the city of Chicago. Of course, this is also a great place to pick up a souvenir that is specific to your time in Chicago and to the Riverwalk. You can also pick up a Chai at Chiya Chai, a cafe with over 150 combinations of Chai and ethically sourced food from all over the world. A great pick me up before you head back out on the scenic walkway.
The Chicago Riverwalk is also home to various community events, including art installations, live music, spoken word poetry, and fireworks. Events are typically held from spring to fall, with a break during the winter months. You never know what will pop up!
While you visit, be sure to learn more about the organizations that are protecting and preserving the Chicago waterways. The Great Rivers Chicago and Friends of the Chicago River are two groups that are actively working to improve the health of the system of rivers that feed into the famous Chicago River. A regional office of the National Audubon Society is also located along the Riverwalk. The Audubon Great Lakes works to restore the natural ecosystems of the Great Lakes region and its feeder waterways. Be sure to look for more information on their conservation and restoration projects, as well as their natural education programs.