Chicago has no shortage of dog-friendly eateries and must-do activities. Specifically, one of these activities that tourists should partake in is the city’s riverwalk. The Chicago Riverwalk is Chicago’s bustling waterfront, spanning 1.25 miles. Built in 2011, Chicago’s Riverwalk is a recreational space for visitors and locals alike, offering incredible views of Chicago’s waterfront while acting as a venue for local boutiques, eateries, and events. Thus, when visiting the Windy City (even just for one weekend!), don't forget to check out Chicago’s Riverwalk and partake in these experiences at this popular attraction.
10 Dine At Raised, Chicago’s Rooftop Bar
- Address: 1 West Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
- Hours of Operation: Mon to Thurs (4:00pm to 11:30pm), Fri/Sat (3:00pm to 11:30pm), Sun (CLOSED)
Those traveling with the good company should stop by Raised, Chicago’s premier rooftop bar. Offering cocktails, shareable plates, and convenient snacks, this rooftop bar offers some of the best views in the city, all while lounging on comfortable leather seats, fire pits, and heaters!
9 Appreciate Some Art
Chicago’s Riverwalk is not only a monotonous collection of buildings, skyscrapers, and boutiques. In fact, this waterfront attraction also houses artworks through Chicago's Public Art Program. For example, while taking a stroll along the Riverwalk pedestrian trail, be sure to check out the city’s rotational exhibits, such as Echo Hecho Fresco by Alberto Aguilar, Don't Fret’s The People in Your Neighborhood and The Radiance of Being by Kate Lynn Lewis.
8 Play At Design Museum Foundation’s Exhibition
Traveling with kids can be a little tricky, but when visiting Chicago, the city's riverwalk has some kid-friendly spaces like Extraordinary Playscapes. Kiddies can enjoy this fun-filled playground with abstract geometric shapes and vibrant colors, known as PlayCubes. This play space will keep kids entertained for hours on end while parents shop until they drop!
7 Take A Free Walking Tour
There is a lot to see at Chicago’s Riverwalk, providing a sneak peek into the culture and heritage of the Windy City. With that said, to learn more about the city’s storied past and its iconic landmarks, stop by Free Tours by Foot for their free walking tours. Offered twice (or even three times) a week, each tour lasts about 2 hours and starts in the afternoon (around 2 pm or 6 pm). Discover great vantage points for great views of the city and learn about its history as a hub for international trade and commerce. The company also does walking tours around different parts of the city, like Millennium Park and its downtown core.
6 Watch ‘Art On TheMART’
Art on theMART is a Riverwalk’s permanent art display of lights, open to the public year-round. This digital show features moving artworks developed by local (and international) artists, providing a dazzling display of colorful lights, and evoking inspiration. Thus, stop by the Riverwalk at night—between 9 to 9:30 pm—to watch displays like Ba Boom Boom Pa Pop Pop, Billiken, or explore through Art on theMART. As a side note, it’s recommended to see these displays best when one is between Wells and Lake Street.
5 Visit The McCormick Bridgehouse And Chicago River Museum
- Address: 99 Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601
- Hours of Operation: Wed to Sun (10:00 am to 5:00 pm)
The Chicago Riverwalk is not only a hub for boutiques, shops, and public art. This attraction also holds history, especially related to Chicago’s moveable bridges. Thus, visit the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum to learn more about the history of life along the Chicago River. Plus, curious visitors can also see the gears within the moveable bridge by the Chicago River. So, take a break from the shopping spree and learn a thing or two about Chicago’s famous landmarks and tourist attractions!
4 Shop At The Community Marketplace
There’s a lot of foot traffic along Chicago’s Riverwalk, allowing local businesses to thrive and showcase their specialty goods. Located nearby Michigan Avenue and Wabash, the Community Marketplace hosts small businesses and vendors to sell their unique products, from apparel to fresh food. For example, stop by Chiya Chai to sample authentic South Asian fare or cool off from the summer heat with Freddies’ homemade Italian ice. Alternatively, tourists looking for some colorful souvenirs can also find handmade jewelry and trinkets from Colores Mexicanos.
3 Grab Some Beers At Chicago Brewhouse
- Address: 31 E Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601
- Hours of Operation: Mon to Sun (11:00 am to 10:00 pm)
Though the city is known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, the Windy City has a long history of beer brewing. Thus, celebrate this storied tradition at Chicago Brewhouse to try some locally made beer, craft ciders, and specialty cocktails. Try the Chicago Riverwalk Golden Ale (made specifically for the restaurant!) or sip on something sweeter, like their Whiskey River Lemonade or classic Margarita.
2 Ride Chicago’s Water Taxi
Walking tours aren’t the only way to explore this beautiful city; Instead, take a water taxi to get from one place to the next and see Chicago’s Riverwalk differently. So, take a break from the long walk and catch the breeze by taking a water taxi with the Chicago Electric Boat Company. With multiple stops along Chicago’s waterway, see the city by boat, whether it's a 1950s Retro Boat or a workout-inducing Cycleboat!
1 People Watch The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Address: 24 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
Travelers can pay their respects to lives lost during the Vietnam War at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This beautiful memorial includes a peaceful fountain and plaques outlining the city’s dedication to local soldiers that bravely fought in the war. Thus, after exploring the Windy City, take a seat and relax by the Veteran’s Park Ledges overlooking the Chicago River. This memorial is also situated within the downtown core, so curious visitors can simply people watch while letting the world go by.