If Chicago’s Loop downtown area is the city’s heartbeat, the river then is its lifeline and nurturing artery. The Chicago River is everything to Chicago. It is the water highway that brought the early French-Canadian explorers, voyageurs and fur-trappers to a landscape flat and fertile and covered in wild onion (shikaakwa). It fed its first inhabitants and provided sweet drinking water. Later, it served as home to the most active inland harbor in the expanding Northwest Territory and one of the busiest ports in the world.
Today, the river banks buzz with activity. Inviting gardens, public art, bistros, and significant monuments line its banks. It gives the casual walker a chance to see Chicago’s birthplace from previously unavailable angles with an entirely new perspective. Let your guide take you all the way to the point where river meets the turquoise horizon of Lake Michigan while discussing river history and modern engineering along the way.
Both the north and south banks are lined with examples of architectural giants towering over their river surface reflections. Thirty-eight uniquely designed trunnion- bascule bridges span its width, giving Chicago more river bridges than any city in the world. Your guide will explain why each is a true engineering marvel.
Join us for a casual walk along the newly completed walkways to hear the story of Chicago’s early founding and to see Chicago’s newly revived front door. Expect a meeting of nature and culture enhanced with tales of early settlement and exploration. Find unexpected places as you stroll through “rooms” on the river side, each with its own designation and characteristics. There is no doubt that the River Walk is one of Chicago’s most magnetic attractions….a short cut through Chicago’s history and world class architecture