Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
4.5
About
Located on the south bank of the Chicago River, this bustling urban space is filled with public art, museums, water activities, and more.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.
How to get there
  • Randolph/Wabash • 8 min walk
  • State/Lake • 8 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travellers are saying
  • Henry’s Take
    San Diego, California1,079 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Free Chicago River Experience
    Trail Series, Part 17 If you’re wanting to explore the Chicago River and are feeling all “Sporty Spice”, we’d recommend that you try walking or running along the Chicago Riverwalk. End to end you’re only talking about 1.5 miles of flat, paved trail, so this experience is accessible to nearly all travelers. We found the trail pretty busy during the early evening, so safety was not a concern whatsoever (even if enjoying it alone at a similar time of day). However, the amount of foot traffic did make running at our desired pace challenging. While bikes, skateboards, etc. are permitted, just know that you’ll be doing a good deal of weaving and bobbing around others. You’ll find numerous restaurants (and a public restroom) in case you are interested in either and the photo opportunities are seemingly endless. If you’re searching for a safe (and free) way to enjoy the Chicago River, this one is hard to beat. And that’s…Henry’s Take. #chicagoriver #chicagoexcercise
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 1, 2023
  • Jen W
    17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Chicago Riverwalk - fabulous way to see the city.
    The Chicago Riverwalk is fabulous! Beautiful, clean and tidy area, with a great choice of bars and restaurants. We felt very safe, and it wasn't expensive. Perfect way to enjoy the river or just for people watching. Would definitely recommend a river or lake boat trip to fully enjoy the Chicago skyline and buildings, and there are plenty to choose from.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 14, 2023
  • Michael W
    Warwick, Rhode Island39 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place to relax or dine
    A typical inner city riverwalk. A nice place to stroll downtown with dining areas, sitting areas and great views of skyscrapers. If you are taking a leisurely paced vacation in Chicago I recommend checking it out.
    Visited June 2023
    Written August 17, 2023
  • Heidi g
    Traverse City, Michigan374 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nicely done way to move along the river!
    Hubby and I drove to Chicago from Traverse City, MI (5 1/2 hrs) on a Friday through Sunday for an amazing wedding weekend of our niece. We stayed near the Riverwalk at the Langham, the wedding hotel. We enjoyed our short but full time exploring part of the Riverwalk on the Saturday before the wedding ceremony along with taking an architectural river and Lake MI cruise (90-min/viator.com). We found many cafes and restaurants, markets, and more along both sides of the river. It's not very wide so it can get crowded but folks were mostly considerate. Lots of dogs on leashes. Lots of various boats to watch or ride on: dining boats, personal craft, kayaks, tour boats, etc. Views of so many old and new buildings. Nicely decorated with art and plants/flowers. Fairly clean. Bridges across river have staircases to access the Riverfront. Fountains, lights, benches, walls, etc. to use while there. Highly recommend during the daytime. Was safe. Not sure about dark time/safety but the buildings would be neat to see at night - so take a river cruise for that to avoid any potential unsafe areas of the Riverwalk at night.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 29, 2023
  • Roch65
    Ottawa, Canada144 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Would love to return in the future
    We both loved the Riverwalk. If I lived in Chicago, I would definitely come here on a regular basis. The city has done an amazing job of creating a space along the Chicago River, where you can walk and gaze at the beautiful architecture, take a break in one of the many public spaces where you can relax a bit, and stop to have a meal while sitting along the river. We ate at O'Briens. We felt quite safe walking the length of the Riverwalk.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 29, 2023
  • Aurora R
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The River Walk Great Experience.
    If you only have time to visit one place in Chicago make sure to see the River walk. Gorgeous path along the river with plenty of options for boat rides, seating and eating all along the river. Great place to enjoy the architecture of the buildings lining the riverbank. The city has done a tremendous job in making this area a very enjoyable experience.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written September 6, 2023
  • laura l
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great time in Chicago
    My first time in the city and I loved it I had a great time walking around doing the Riverwalk going to the theater walking along Roosevelt and South Michigan going to Grant Park. I cannot wait to move to Chicago next month. Such a beautiful city in so much to do.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written September 19, 2023
  • Bill B
    Bel Air, Maryland18,445 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well landscaped, seasonal flowers, view of boats and river
    The Chicago Riverwalk is well landscaped, with seasonal flowers and a view of boats and the Chicago River. The path along the south side of the river is paved with numerous small establishments for eating and drinking. Tour boats depart all along the shore. Helpful maps and rock and wood seats are interspersed. This is a very pleasant afternoon excursion.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written October 20, 2023
  • William S
    San Francisco, California686 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Riverwalk in a lovely city
    Riverwalk in Chi-town is a must. Amidst bars, eateries, and the action on the water allows tourists an opportunity to soak up the beauty and history of the Windy City. A must-see for all. Lotsa fun. People watching is prevalent from the myriad of cafés, pubs, and restaurants. Just steps, literally, from comfortable hotels. Many benches and park-like settings for the accessibility of patrons. A beautiful sojourn in a beautiful city
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written October 29, 2023
  • Akbar Akh
    23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Attractions riwerwalk
    Walking in riwerwalk and a boat tour in riwerwalk really interesting and had fun moments for us. You can walk and enjoy the green riverside walkway that passes through the south shore and the city center. You can also board cruise ships and learn about the history of the city's most famous attractions
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written November 9, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,116 reviews
Excellent
2,057
Very good
917
Average
124
Poor
15
Terrible
3

graymar22
Robinvale, Australia18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We stayed on the Riverwalk so spent some time exploring the many buildings and interesting places along the way.
The many and varied bridges well worth the walk over, pieces of sculpture/artworks to view, the buildings so many beautifully designed....
Well worth the stroll and look.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Josue C
New Haven, CT509 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
The Riverwalk is one the best places to visit when in Chicago. There are actually two foot paths, aligning both sides of the river. The paths are full of shops, ice cream parlors, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars giving you options in case you get hungry while strolling. This is a scenic way to get from side of the city to another. I felt relatively safe while walking, it was well kept, and well lighted at night time, though I recommend keeping up current events in the city, to make sure of your safety. The river walk is home to many docks, where many people keep their pleasure boats, as well as, a few touring companies, that have tours up river deeper into the city, or down to the Lake Michigan. Weather permitting you'll be able to see folks take their boats out or have parties. As the Riverwalk expands, so those the entertainment, docks, and food scene. on my next visit to Chicago, I will revisit the Riverwalk, to take a boat tour, and relax strolling through.
Written May 4, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bee80204
Denver, CO5,062 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Couples
It’s fun to walk along the river on the Riverwalk path. There’s vendors you can book an architecture cruise from, rent kayaks, day cruise, rent bicycles, dine at. We also saw the U.S. Navy Submarine Memorial, a historical information display about submarines which passed through the area on their way to war after Pearl Harbor. And children’s play areas. There were kids playing with their parents which was heartwarming. It’s warm when the sun is beating down so make sure to hydrate and wear sunglasses and a hat if necessary. There are portable toilets if you need provided by the businesses for their customers mostly. Hand sanitizer stations are scattered about.
It can get crowded and hectic with people getting on board the boats and kayaks. Watch out for bicyclists as some ride quite fast. Fun to sit in the rest areas on the benches provided and people watch or have a drink at a restaurant and look out on the river. A few restaurants are O’Brien’s Riverwalk Cafe and The Northman Beer and Cider Garden.
Would be nice if you could walk all the way to Navy Pier but you need to exit the riverwalk and get to the road level before getting on another path to continue the journey. The Riverwalk is open from 6am to 11pm. It is a 1.25 mile long path and is divided into four areas - The Confluence, The Arcade, The Civic and The Esplanade. The path allows you to enjoy the Chicago river at your own pace.
Written October 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Henry’s Take
San Diego, CA1,079 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Trail Series, Part 17
If you’re wanting to explore the Chicago River and are feeling all “Sporty Spice”, we’d recommend that you try walking or running along the Chicago Riverwalk.

End to end you’re only talking about 1.5 miles of flat, paved trail, so this experience is accessible to nearly all travelers. We found the trail pretty busy during the early evening, so safety was not a concern whatsoever (even if enjoying it alone at a similar time of day). However, the amount of foot traffic did make running at our desired pace challenging. While bikes, skateboards, etc. are permitted, just know that you’ll be doing a good deal of weaving and bobbing around others.

You’ll find numerous restaurants (and a public restroom) in case you are interested in either and the photo opportunities are seemingly endless.

If you’re searching for a safe (and free) way to enjoy the Chicago River, this one is hard to beat.

And that’s…Henry’s Take.

#chicagoriver
#chicagoexcercise
Written August 1, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,384 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
I have visited cities that are situated on rivers, like New York City and San Antonio and St. Louis and New Orleans and Richmond and Nashville and Milwaukee, but none of them has what Chicago has--the Chicago Riverwalk. Begun in 2001 and yet to be completed, it is a multi-use public space located on the south bank of the main branch of the Chicago River extending from Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan to Lake Street and Wolf Point. It contains bars, cafes, restaurants, small parks, play areas, seating, boat and kayak rentals, tour boat docks and one of the largest Vietnam War memorials outside of Washington DC. The Chicago Riverwalk is a popular gathering place for tourists because it is close to some of the other popular attractions in the city, including Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, Grant Park and Navy Pier. Walk along the riverfront and admire the city's famous architecture and historic landmarks, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Marina City, the Merchandise Mart and Trump Tower. Stop at the Bridgehouse Museum, located on the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. At State and Wabash is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, which consists of a terraced lawn, a waterfall and a central pool. It bejewels the city's waterfront and embodies what a memorial plaza should be.
Written June 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,384 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020
Writing reviews during the Coronavirus pandemic is challenging, to say the least. What hotel, restaurant or attraction hasn't undergone a transition that has affected its commercial value? Many venues have been forced to close and many others wish they had. It isn't the way it used to be. Same goes for the Chicago Riverwalk, an open, pedestrian waterfront located on the south bank of the main branch of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago. It extends from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street and contains restaurants, bars, park seating, boat and kayak rentals and other activities. Most of all, it affords visitors of a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline, the river and some of the city's most iconic buildings, including Marina City, Wrigley Building and the Furniture Mart. The pandemic has created limitations but plans call for additions and expansion, floating gardens, fishing piers, playgrounds, more restaurants and bars. For now, enjoy the view.
Written September 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Becca
Chicago, IL50 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
One of my favorite parts of the city. Awesome place to grab a drink along the river to people watch, hang out with friends, have a casual date, or just watch people party on boats. There's a variety of restaurants/bars along the river to choose from - some with seating or just sit on the seats of the river.
Also a great a place to run along to get access to the lake - but beware the path gets very crowded on nice days with people walking, hanging out and eating/drinking.
Written March 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

j b
Kalamazoo County, MI316 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
On a nice day, this is a great place for a stroll. There are numerous restaurants along the way to get a meal or have a drink. Since it weaves under the Chicago River's numerous bridges, the congestion at the corners makes it a bit challenging for runners and cyclists. In fact, I wouldn't recommend it for bicycles and runners should expect to have to slow their stride frequently when the walk is busy. The views are nice and we had a nice lunch sitting alongside the rail.
Written September 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,384 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
The Chicago Riverwalk is a linear park along the south bank of the main branch of the Chicago River, extending from Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive westward to Lake Street and Wolf Point. It contains restaurants, bars, cafes, small parks, boat and kayak rentals, tour boats and river cruises. Other attractions include Ellen Lanyon's Riverwalk Gateway at Lake Shore Drive and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza at State Street. Whether jogging, biking, strolling or just sitting under shade trees, locals and visitors alike can enjoy the tranquility of the Chicago River and nature in an astounding urban setting. But's there more. The Riverwalk's expansion is ongoing. Still to come are plans for a final extent beyond Wolf Point Towers, northward to the proposed Bally's casino near the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. Construction of the Riverwalk began in 2001. More recreational options for Chicago's "Second Lakefront" are expected to include floating gardens, a bridge and fishing piers. Architecturally, it is one of the city's most impressive landscapes with the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building, Trump Tower, Marina Plaza and the Merchandise Mart included among the spectacular views. Or just sit on the terrace and watch the boats go by. Tourists are encouraged to begin their visit at the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum at the southwest Bridgetower at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.
Written August 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Heidi g
Traverse City, MI374 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Hubby and I drove to Chicago from Traverse City, MI (5 1/2 hrs) on a Friday through Sunday for an amazing wedding weekend of our niece. We stayed near the Riverwalk at the Langham, the wedding hotel. We enjoyed our short but full time exploring part of the Riverwalk on the Saturday before the wedding ceremony along with taking an architectural river and Lake MI cruise (90-min/viator.com). We found many cafes and restaurants, markets, and more along both sides of the river. It's not very wide so it can get crowded but folks were mostly considerate. Lots of dogs on leashes. Lots of various boats to watch or ride on: dining boats, personal craft, kayaks, tour boats, etc. Views of so many old and new buildings. Nicely decorated with art and plants/flowers. Fairly clean. Bridges across river have staircases to access the Riverfront. Fountains, lights, benches, walls, etc. to use while there. Highly recommend during the daytime. Was safe. Not sure about dark time/safety but the buildings would be neat to see at night - so take a river cruise for that to avoid any potential unsafe areas of the Riverwalk at night.
Written August 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Chicago Riverwalk - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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