Tour Schedule - 2/4/2024

Wendella Tours & Cruises

Tours & Attractions , Architectural/Cultural Tours , Boat Tours , Special Interest Tours

Wendella tours & cruises.

Located in The Magnificent Mile

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400 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611

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  • www.wendellaboats.com
  • (312) 337-1446
  • (312) 344-1190

As Chicago’s original architecture boat tour, Wendella has been dedicated to serving Chicago’s families, visitors, students, guests and commuters for over 75 years. Family owned and operated for three generations, our mission is to provide you and your family with a safe, comfortable and affordable fun day on the waterways. Our experienced staff and expert tour guides, trained by Wendella’s in-house Education Department, work hard to ensure that you capture the true essence of Chicago’s past, present and future every time you step on board one of our vessels. Wendella offers our signature 90 minute Combined Lake and River Tour; the 75 minute Chicago River Architecture tour; the 45 minute Chicago Experience and our Chicago at Sunset Cruise. We also offer many specialty cruises including Wine Tasting and Fireworks. Taking Metra downtown? Ride the Chicago Water Taxi to Michigan Ave. Visit www.chicagowatertaxi.com for more information.

Health & Safety Policy URL View Policy

Health Screening Required-Staff

Masks Required-Guest

Masks Required-Staff

Reservations Required

CDC Recommended Cleaning Procedures

Hand Wash/Sanitizer Stations

Mobile Payments Accepted

Social Distancing Guidelines Enforced

Reduced Occupancy/Occupancy Limits

Wheelchair Accessible

Complimentary Policy 2 per group of 20 or more

Average Visit/Tour Length 1.5 - 2 hours

Minimum Size for Group Admission Rate 20

American Express

Student Group Friendly

Reservation Cancellation Policy All tickets are non-refundable but are transferable to another time, date, or tour.

Reservations Accepted

ADA Compliant

Self-Parking Available Off-site

Food On-site OTHER

Open Seasonally

Family-friendly

Military Discount

Preferred Catering Providers

Largest Room, Reception Capacity (Standing) 280

Largest Room, Banquet Capacity (Seated) 280

On-site Audio/Visual Equipment

Complete Buy-out Available

Max Capacity, Reception Style (Standing) 1120

Max Capacity, Banquet Style (Seated) 1120

Max Venue Capacity 1120

Private Meeting Space Available

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Wendella is located at 400 N Michigan Avenue at the historic Wrigley Building. Wendella has four dock locations that extend west from the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) Bridge to Wabash Avenue.

Accessibility

We understand that our guests desire unencumbered access to our facilities and vessels, and we do not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. There are currently no access regulations for small passenger vessels, but we have made a concerted effort and reasonable accommodations to make our docks and vessels accessible where practicable.

Safety & Security

Wendella continues to set the standard for the Passenger Vessel Industry through our commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for our guests and personnel. We meet or exceed all federal, state and local safety requirements for U.S. Coast Guard-inspected passenger vessels, their passengers and crew.

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NBC Chicago

Even Chicagoans can't get enough of this tourist attraction: ‘It's about the only touristy thing I do'

Tourists aren't the only ones that love chicago architecture boat tours -- locals do, too, by francie swidler • published august 3, 2023 • updated on august 4, 2023 at 7:44 am.

We've all been there: Family or friends are visiting Chicago from out of town, and they want to hear it from you, the expert -- the local -- what's the "must-do," or "must-see" activity in the city?

Of course, there are plenty to choose from. But there's one tourist attraction many locals say they actually join their visitors on: The Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.

"I have some family in town for a wedding, and they wanted to go on the tour," said Nick Pappas, of Uptown. "And I wanted to join them, so I can give them my own personal commentary of my own history in Chicago as we went along."

Pappas, 55, has lived in the Chicago area his entire life. And although he was the only local passenger aboard a 90-minute, 9:30 a.m. Wendella Chicago River Architecture Tour on a recent Wednesday, it's not uncommon for more Chicagoans to be out sailing along the Lake or the River, listening to a tour guide wax on about how the sons of famous architect Daniel Burnham decided to design a building to look like a champagne bottle.

Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.

"I was surprised when I first started," said Bobby Scheffel, who was helming tour guide duties on the boat that morning. "We get a lot of repeat locals, and always, there's a lot of local people that come on when they have guests visiting them in town."

Wendella, billed as Chicago's "original" architecture tour, in 1935 gave its first architecture tour of the city from a wooden diesel yacht out on Navy Pier, said Andrew Sargis, director of sales and marketing for Wendella Tours and Cruises . Now, upwards of 20 architecture tours are offered daily, with more on the weekends.

On average, Wendella tours see roughly 100,000 passengers each month over the summer, according to Sargis.

wendella boat tour schedule

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MORE: 7 things that might surprise you about the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

Although the majority of passengers on any given tour are Americans, they are from out of town, Sargis said. But there's just something about the tour that makes local people want to go, too, whether or not they are accompanying out of town guests.

"There's always something new to see," Sargis said. "New architecture, new developments. One of the tallest buildings in the city was just finished in the last year or so."

More than 100 locals who wrote to NBC Chicago on Facebook agreed.

"I go on one almost every year and there is always something new to see," Maria Ohman wrote. "They are awesome."

"Born and raised in Chicago," Lynn Tanner Heicher echoed. "Love it and always learn something new!"

As Scheffel puts it, locals "like to show off the city in this way." But it's not always about what's new.

"I think it is probably part of that, if you don't live downtown, it's about reliving coming downtown as a kid," Scheffel said, adding that his favorite part of the tour is when he talks about the Board of Trade building, because he remembers walking by it when he was young.

"I remember really being impressed by it, thinking was such a cool, big, city building," he said.

The way Pappas describes it, is the city's history and one's own personal experience ultimately creates a new narration on Chicago.

"I was probably 25 years old the first time I went on this tour," Pappas said, as he pointed out a building where he held his first job as a lawyer. "That clock tower building, which was a warehouse, was a traffic court back in the day."

'It's about the only touristy thing I do'

According to Sargis, tour guides receive extensive, in-house training. They are also given a general script of facts to follow, and highlights to hit. But each of them will add their own narratives and personal flavor to the tour, "using their experience in the city and their character."

"We have a tour guide that is a retired police officer, and he will interject anecdotes form his career," Sargis said. "We have a tour guide that's a Vietnam War Veteran, and when we go by the Vietnam War Memorial, he will always discuss the importance of it to him."

It's moments like those -- along with playing the role of tour guide in their own city -- seems to be what keeps locals coming back to such a traveler-friendly attraction over and over again.

"It's about the only touristy thing I do," Micki Kay told NBC Chicago on Facebook. "It's my favorite. I love it. It's such a great way to see the beautiful city and learn about its history. I like quizzing myself to see if I know the answers to all the questions the guides throw out there."

As Pappas puts it, "It's nice to, you know, supplement, maybe something that the tour guide is not telling people on the boat."

Tours run year round, including during Chicago winters, Sargis said, "but weather is a factor."

"I have certainly had [the tour] under thunderstorms and downpours," Scheffel said. "I've never had a tour get canceled because no one bought a ticket. There's always someone who wanted to come out here in the rain or the cold"

Thunderstorm, snow or shine, there's just something about the pride Chicagoans feel for their city, Sargis said.

"One of the things we hear most commonly from locals is...that they forget, or at least, don't appreciate always how beautiful the city truly is, and how beautiful the skyline is," Sargis said. "I hear it almost every time I'm out on the boat."

"Life is busy," Sargis added. "We don't usually act like a tourist in our own city. It really gives them an appreciation of living here. It really makes them proud to be from Chicago."

Video editors Ivonne Ramirez and DS Shin produced and created the video for this story.

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wendella boat tour schedule

Chicago Water Taxi is closed for the winter. Service will resume in Spring 2024.

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Ticketing options, one-way ticket.

Valid for one ride between any two CWT dock locations.

*Half price One-Way tickets available for Senior Citizens. Must purchase at the Ogilvie/Union or Michigan Ave Dock. * One Way Tickets are free for active duty military and children ages 3 years old and younger.

Weekday Ten Ride Pass

Valid for ten one-way rides between any two dock locations. Perfect for commuters. Rides do not expire and can be used in subsequent years.

All Day Pass (Friday through Sunday)

Valid for unlimited rides on one calendar day. Can be used on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Some Vessels are Climate-Controlled

Restrooms on board, some routes are ada accessible, bring your bike / luggage, food welcome (no outside alcohol).

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Explore the city of Chicago from the Chicago Water Taxi. The Chicago Water Taxi connects several Chicago neighborhoods with various dining, sightseeing and shopping attractions. Looking for a guided architecture tour or Lake Michigan cruise? Wendella offers an expansive variety of tour and cruise options.

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THE 10 BEST Moscow Boat Rides & Cruises

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wendella boat tour schedule

1. Flotilla Radisson Royal

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13. Capital River Boat Tours - Moscow Centre

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Cruising the Moskva River: A short guide to boat trips in Russia’s capital

wendella boat tour schedule

There’s hardly a better way to absorb Moscow’s atmosphere than on a ship sailing up and down the Moskva River. While complicated ticketing, loud music and chilling winds might dampen the anticipated fun, this checklist will help you to enjoy the scenic views and not fall into common tourist traps.

How to find the right boat?

There are plenty of boats and selecting the right one might be challenging. The size of the boat should be your main criteria.

Plenty of small boats cruise the Moskva River, and the most vivid one is this yellow Lay’s-branded boat. Everyone who has ever visited Moscow probably has seen it.

wendella boat tour schedule

This option might leave a passenger disembarking partially deaf as the merciless Russian pop music blasts onboard. A free spirit, however, will find partying on such a vessel to be an unforgettable and authentic experience that’s almost a metaphor for life in modern Russia: too loud, and sometimes too welcoming. Tickets start at $13 (800 rubles) per person.

Bigger boats offer smoother sailing and tend to attract foreign visitors because of their distinct Soviet aura. Indeed, many of the older vessels must have seen better days. They are still afloat, however, and getting aboard is a unique ‘cultural’ experience. Sometimes the crew might offer lunch or dinner to passengers, but this option must be purchased with the ticket. Here is one such  option  offering dinner for $24 (1,490 rubles).

wendella boat tour schedule

If you want to travel in style, consider Flotilla Radisson. These large, modern vessels are quite posh, with a cozy restaurant and an attentive crew at your service. Even though the selection of wines and food is modest, these vessels are still much better than other boats.

wendella boat tour schedule

Surprisingly, the luxurious boats are priced rather modestly, and a single ticket goes for $17-$32 (1,100-2,000 rubles); also expect a reasonable restaurant bill on top.

How to buy tickets?

Women holding photos of ships promise huge discounts to “the young and beautiful,” and give personal invitations for river tours. They sound and look nice, but there’s a small catch: their ticket prices are usually more than those purchased online.

“We bought tickets from street hawkers for 900 rubles each, only to later discover that the other passengers bought their tickets twice as cheap!”  wrote  (in Russian) a disappointed Rostislav on a travel company website.

Nevertheless, buying from street hawkers has one considerable advantage: they personally escort you to the vessel so that you don’t waste time looking for the boat on your own.

wendella boat tour schedule

Prices start at $13 (800 rubles) for one ride, and for an additional $6.5 (400 rubles) you can purchase an unlimited number of tours on the same boat on any given day.

Flotilla Radisson has official ticket offices at Gorky Park and Hotel Ukraine, but they’re often sold out.

Buying online is an option that might save some cash. Websites such as  this   offer considerable discounts for tickets sold online. On a busy Friday night an online purchase might be the only chance to get a ticket on a Flotilla Radisson boat.

This  website  (in Russian) offers multiple options for short river cruises in and around the city center, including offbeat options such as ‘disco cruises’ and ‘children cruises.’ This other  website  sells tickets online, but doesn’t have an English version. The interface is intuitive, however.

Buying tickets online has its bad points, however. The most common is confusing which pier you should go to and missing your river tour.

wendella boat tour schedule

“I once bought tickets online to save with the discount that the website offered,” said Igor Shvarkin from Moscow. “The pier was initially marked as ‘Park Kultury,’ but when I arrived it wasn’t easy to find my boat because there were too many there. My guests had to walk a considerable distance before I finally found the vessel that accepted my tickets purchased online,” said the man.

There are two main boarding piers in the city center:  Hotel Ukraine  and  Park Kultury . Always take note of your particular berth when buying tickets online.

Where to sit onboard?

Even on a warm day, the headwind might be chilly for passengers on deck. Make sure you have warm clothes, or that the crew has blankets ready upon request.

The glass-encased hold makes the tour much more comfortable, but not at the expense of having an enjoyable experience.

wendella boat tour schedule

Getting off the boat requires preparation as well. Ideally, you should be able to disembark on any pier along the way. In reality, passengers never know where the boat’s captain will make the next stop. Street hawkers often tell passengers in advance where they’ll be able to disembark. If you buy tickets online then you’ll have to research it yourself.

There’s a chance that the captain won’t make any stops at all and will take you back to where the tour began, which is the case with Flotilla Radisson. The safest option is to automatically expect that you’ll return to the pier where you started.

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wendella boat tour schedule

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River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

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River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

Equipped with ice-breaking technology, these huge fancy yachts are the only river cruisers running all year around. The round trip journey takes two and a half hours and floats past all the big sights like the White House, Novodevichy monastery and the Kremlin. There’s a large open air observation deck up top, while the main body of the ship houses a restaurant with a dance floor for a romantic post dinner dance. For a particularly romantic experience take one of the evening boats and admire the bright lights of the city skyline at night.

The most relaxing and picturesque tour that Moscow can offer: a great way to see the city center and its main attractions. This is a perfect alternative to exploring the city by car, if you only have time to do sightseeing during weekday rush hours.

Your English-speaking guide is eager to share every bit of their knowledge about the surrounding landscape, the architecture and historical details.

We conduct Moscow river tour on Radisson Flotilla boats all year around!  It’s warm inside during winter months, while there’s air conditioning during hot summer days. You may also treat yourself to drinks, lunch or dinner on board (drinks and food are not included in tour price).

The cost of an excursion with a personal guide for 1 person

Quay at Radisson Collection Hotel

Government Headquarters ("the White House")

Kievsky Railway Central

Novodevichy Convent

Luzhniki Stadium

Academy of Sciences

Monument to Peter I

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Moscow Kremlin

St.Basil's Cathedral

Novospassky Monastery

U-turn and back to Quay at Radisson Royal Hotel

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COMMENTS

  1. Schedule & Tickets

    Buy Tickets Open Menu Tours & Cruises Architecture Tours Lake & River Architecture Tour Chicago River Architecture Tour (90 minutes) Chicago River Architecture Tour (45 Minutes) Cruises Chicago Sunset Cruise Chicago Fireworks Cruise St. Patrick's Day Cruise (21+) St. Patrick's Day Kids Cruise Wine & Cheese Cruise Beer & BBQ Cruise

  2. Chicago's Original Architecture Tour®

    (312) 337-1446 See Today's Schedule CHICAGO'S ORIGINAL ARCHITECTURE TOUR® BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE Chicago River Architecture Tour (90 minutes) We're In the People Business BOOK YOUR EXPERIENCE NOW Contact Us Careers Boat Tours Boat Cruises Concierge Portal Gift Cards © 2022 - Wendella Sightseeing Co., Inc. Privacy Policy Sitemap

  3. Tour Schedule

    Tour Schedule - 1/26/2024 - Schedule Monster Tour Schedule - 1/26/2024 Reservations updated every 5 minutes Groups updated every hour Please note that schedules can change due to weather, private events, and other unforseen issues.

  4. Boat Tours Cruises

    (312) 337-1446 Schedule & Tickets There's something to be said for being first. Offering Chicago's Lake & River Architecture Tour 90 Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour 45 Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour Chicago Sunset Cruise Chicago Fireworks Cruise Private: 4th of July Fireworks Cruise Holiday Fireworks Cruise Wine & Cheese Cruise

  5. Chicago River Architecture Tour

    (312) 337-1446 Chicago River Architecture Tour Chicago's Original Architecture Tour® Departing from Michigan Avenue Free (ticket required) TICKETS ARE NON REFUNDABLE BUT ARE TRANSFERABLE. Parking & Directions More Information Route Map COVID-19 Safety Mich Ave Location; 400 N Michigan Avenue Chicago, Il 60611 All bags are subject to inspection.

  6. Wendella (Reviews)

    Wendella 4,742 reviews #10 of 101 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Chicago Boat Tours Open now 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM Write a review See all photos About Chicago, Illinois Awards Travelers' Choice 2023 Suggest edits to improve what we show. Improve this listing Tours and Tickets by Wendella BEST SELLER 90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour 1,610

  7. 90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour

    1,610 reviews Recommended by 92% of travelers See all photos About Explore all three branches of the Chicago River on a journey through the heart of the city. This riverboat excursion introduces passengers to Chicago's legendary architecture, narrated by a professionally trained architectural guide.

  8. Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour

    While most sightseeing boats remain on the Chicago River, this one gives you a panoramic perspective on history-making skyscrapers including Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building, and the Wrigley Building, plus modern lakeshore attractions like Millennium Park and the Riverwalk. from. $44.00. per adult. Lowest price guarantee Reserve now ...

  9. Wendella Tours & Cruises

    Wendella offers our signature 90 minute Combined Lake and River Tour; the 75 minute Chicago River Architecture tour; the 45 minute Chicago Experience and our Chicago at Sunset Cruise. We also offer many specialty cruises including Wine Tasting and Fireworks. Taking Metra downtown?

  10. More Information

    Buy Tickets Open Menu Close Tours & Cruises Architecture Tours Lake & River Architecture Tour Chicago River Architecture Tour (90 minutes) Chicago River Architecture Tour (45 Minutes) Cruises Chicago Sunset Cruise Chicago Fireworks Cruise St. Patrick's Day Cruise (21+) St. Patrick's Day Kids Cruise Wine & Cheese Cruise Beer & BBQ Cruise

  11. WENDELLA TOURS & CRUISES

    Wendella offers a variety of tours and cruises including Chicago's Original Architecture Tour, Wendella's Signature Lake & River Tour, Chicago Sunset Cruise, Chicago River Experience, Chicago Fireworks Cruise, Beer & BBQ Cruise, Wine & Cheese Cruise, and festive and holiday cruises.… Ask the Community Ask a question Q:

  12. Chicago architectural boat tour: The 1 Chicago tourist activity that

    Wendella, billed as Chicago's "original" architecture tour, in 1935 gave its first architecture tour of the city from a wooden diesel yacht out on Navy Pier, said Andrew Sargis, director of sales ...

  13. Wendella Tours & Cruises

    As a tour guide myself, it is tough for another tour guide to impress me. Jack was a walking, smiling, encyclopedia of architectural facts. We SO enjoyed our 90 minute boat tour - and mostly because of Jack's knowledge of architecture and his friendly sense of humor. Price was $40 per adult (plus a tip for Jack!) Highly recommend.

  14. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

    Pre-purchase your ticket to skip the ticket line and guarantee your place on this popular cruise. Experience the architectural river tour which started it all - back in 1935. Enjoy year-long cruising with a choice of outside deck-top or indoor climate-controlled seating. Learn from expert tour guides the importance of Chicago's architecture ...

  15. Wendella's 90-Minute Lake & River Architecture Tour

    15 reviews Tickets for Chicago: 90-Minute Architecture Tour on the Lake & River A guided Chicago sightseeing cruise on a double-decker boat Provider: Wendella Boats Oops ... Something went wrong, please refresh the page or try again later. Duration: 1h 30mins Smartphone tickets accepted Instant ticket delivery From $42.00 Select a date

  16. Chicago Water Taxi

    Routes & Schedule Ogilvie / Union (West Loop) Michigan Avenue Chinatown Rider Services Our Company About Us Contact Us Wendella Tours & Cruises Tickets Connecting Chicago Tickets Schedule Map Next departures Trip Planner Ogilvie / Union (West Loop) Chicago Water Taxi is closed for the winter. Service will resume in Spring 2024.

  17. NASCAR Partners with Wendella Tours & Cruises as the Official Boat Tour

    Today, NASCAR announced a new partnership with Chicago-based Wendella Tours & Cruises, naming the Chicago institution the Official Boat Tour of the Chicago Street Race Weekend. Family owned & operated since 1935, Wendella will offer discounted tours to visitors and locals alike who are participating in the Chicago Street Race Weekend ...

  18. THE 10 BEST Moscow Boat Rides & Cruises (Updated 2024)

    I got a nice luxury boat. It has good restaurant inside too. Boat tour is around 1.5 hours. The total tour was awesome . There are many historical and main buildings and places in moscow can view from the boat. Each place announce by boat staff. There is a tour map also inside the boat. Staff is really helpful and good service done for us.

  19. Cruising the Moskva River: A short guide to boat trips in Russia's

    Surprisingly, the luxurious boats are priced rather modestly, and a single ticket goes for $17-$32 (1,100-2,000 rubles); also expect a reasonable restaurant bill on top. How to buy tickets? Women ...

  20. Boat tours and river cruises through Moscow: where to take them

    On this map you can see the details of the longest and most classic of the Flotilla Radisson boat tours: 2. Companies that do boat tours on the Moskva River. There are many companies that do cruises on the Moskva River, but the 4 main ones are: Capital River Boat Tour Company (CCK) Mosflot. Flotilla Radisson.

  21. River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

    Moscow City: View Moscow Beneath Your Feet. $99. Details. River Cruise on Luxurios Radisson Ship with a guided excursion: time to relax and soak in the gorgeous Moscow landscape. Our guide will accompany you and reveal the details behind the structures on the river banks around you.