A unique combination of Chicago sites in one tour — Chicago by boat and on foot!

Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

About this Tour Route…

This tour route — like all of our “Surf & Turf” tours — is a unique, fun way to experience Chicago in the best ways possible: by boat on the Chicago River and on foot through one of Chicago’s many history-packed neighborhoods. Inside Chicago Walking Tours calls these new tours “Surf & Turf” tours because you don’t have to worry about choosing a boat tour OR a walking tour: we’re finally giving you both in ONE tour!

So how will this new 2.5-hour tour look? Well…

First, you’ll take part in the most popular tourist activity in Chicago by jumping on a boat with your guide, and you’ll enjoy breathtaking views during our brief trip along the Chicago River, starting at the point where it all began — the homestead of Chicago's founding father, Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable. Whereas on the Chinatown Surf & Turf Tour, we’ll head south on the river, and on the River North tour we’ll head north, on this tour, we’ll jump off in between those other two stops to explore one of Chicago’s most fascinating neighborhoods that’s not too far from the center, called the West Loop.

Historically an area filled with warehouses, train tracks, tenements, and slums, the West Loop has – like River North – evolved over the years into a fascinating mix of old and new, of poor and rich, of humble and magnificent. It is in this neighborhood that some of Chicago’s most famous characters lived their lives and achieved their place in history – people like Dr. Ben Reitman, the “Hobo Doctor,” and August Spies, the anarchist whose labor activism led to the founding of the internationally celebrated “May Day.”  Inside Chicago Walking Tours leads you through grand train stations, past immigrant churches, labor monuments, and early post-Fire architecture, touching on many of the various immigrant groups that have created the Chicago we know and love today.  Along the brief river portion of our tour, we give a “crash course” on architectural styles, coasting past skyscrapers that seem to defy gravity, waterfront parks that finally allow people to enjoy the river as Daniel Burnham intended, and learn about how more and more people are deciding to embrace this central part of Chicago as not just where they work, but where they live.

The West Loop, with its historical patchwork of cultures and stories, as well as its wide range of architectural styles and periods, is worth the short walk west from the Loop that you might already know and love.  Inside Chicago Walking Tours invites you to come along for a fun trip down the river, and then to explore the “melting pot” that continues to evolve today — and get to know this fascinating part of the city with our knowledgeable, passionate guides!

On this tour, you will:

  • Take a brief trip on the best part of the river — the Main Branch — and learn about amazing architecture along the way;

  • Walk in the footsteps of exhausted Irish immigrants waiting outside a church to be welcomed to their new country;

  • Celebrate courageous German labor activists sowing the seeds of revolution in the streets;

  • Explore a multicultural market owned by a French family, and get a glimpse of the wealth of fantastic restaurants in the hip West Loop;

  • Much, much more!


  • This tour route will begin in September!

  • Fridays & Saturdays at 10am

  • Tours last 2.5 hours

  • Tours cover ~1.5 miles on foot, and about 1 mile by boat!

  • Ticket prices:

    • $40 general admission (ages 11 and up)

    • $35 children (ages 4-10) and seniors (65+)

    • Free for children 3 and under.

  • Runs rain or shine, unless otherwise noted.

  • Starting point given with ticket purchase. Check your ticket!

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