Trip Planner:   USA  /  Illinois  /  Chicago  /  Chicago River

Chicago River, Chicago

4.8
#3 of 38 in Nature in Illinois
The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center (the Chicago Loop). Though not especially long, the river is notable for being a reason why Chicago became an important location, with the related Chicago Portage being a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley waterways and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.The River is also noteworthy for its natural and man-made history. In 1887, the Illinois General Assembly, partly in response to concerns arising out of an extreme weather event in 1885 that threatened the city's water supply, decided to reverse the flow of the Chicago River through civil engineering by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi River watershed. In 1889, the Illinois General Assembly created the Chicago Sanitary District (now The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District) to replace the Illinois-Michigan Canal, which had become inadequate to carry the city's increasing sewage and commercial navigation needs, with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a much larger waterway. The District completed this man-made hydrologic connection between the Great Lakes and Mississippi watershed in 1900 by reversing the flow of the Main Stem and South Branch of the river using a series of canal locks, and increasing the river's flow from Lake Michigan, causing it to empty into the new Canal. In 1999, this system was named a 'Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium' by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Use our Chicago visit planner to visit Chicago River on your trip to Chicago, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
Source
Create an itinerary including Chicago River
map
Chicago River Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
1,061 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • October 5, 2017
    I love this city!!! The buildings, the museums, the people and the river. Just like in the movies. We walked along the Riverwalk and also had an Architecture River Tour with Shoreline Sightseeing. It ...  more »
  • October 5, 2017
    You need an entertaining guide but in any case this is an unmissable outing. Enjoy the history of the city from the best vantage point.  more »
  • October 5, 2017
    Necessarily RİVER TOUR.. Wacker Drive. AVG. It takes 2 hours. All you who have knowledge about the structure of the city. In the early days after the building if you do have the chance to know. The Loop as the architect of the change over time of the city and also learned. Not necessarily.
    View original

Plan your trip to Chicago

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Chicago

The Midwest's major center for business conventions, Chicago boasts many affordable places to stay, with most hotels located around the airport and the city's central business district. To discover the city from a comfortable base within walking distance of most tourist attractions, aim for one of the big chain hotels in the downtown area. If you're traveling on a limited budget and wish to get a deeper sense of Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods, consider staying away from the pricey city center and explore suburbs on a commuter train line for easy city access.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Chicago by other users

4 days in Chicago BY A USER FROM IRELAND October, outdoors, beaches, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 42 days in Chicago BY A USER FROM IRELAND October, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, relaxing, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Chicago BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, romantic, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, romantic, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Chicago BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 36 days in Continental USA BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Chicago BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Chicago BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Chicago BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 32 days in United States, Quebec City & Whistler BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA November, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Springfield & Chicago BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 42 days in United States & Vancouver BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans