Chicago’s Riverwalk’s winding skyline views make for a great tour

Chicago’s Riverwalk reminds us how important water is to our great city.

The river-level promenade runs along Wacker Drive and the south bank of the Chicago River from Franklin Street to Lake Shore Drive. Visitors can take advantage of riverfront cafes, tour boats and water taxis, bicycle rentals and retail stands featuring crafts made by local women entrepreneurs.

The McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum at the corner of Michigan and Wacker is a great place to start. Open Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and located inside a former bridgehouse, the site serves as an information center and museum showcasing how the Chicago River and its bridges impacted the city. The highlight for kids is undoubtedly the gear room, which shows the massive machine pieces needed to raise and lower the bridges. As you climb from the lower level to the top, you’re also treated to great views of the river and Michigan Avenue.

From here you can head east or west along the river. Between Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue, Mayor Daley’s River Fishing Festival provides free fishing equipment for kids every weekday.

Walking shoes are a must. In several places, be aware there is no barrier between the Riverwalk and the water.

Wendella Boats sits just across the river from the Bridgehouse Museum.The 90-minute architecture tour of the river and lakefront is a great introduction to Chicago’s skyline and downtown. Plus the boat has refreshments and restrooms, making it an ideal mid-afternoon treat.

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