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Chicago Architecture Foundation

Certificate of Excellence
Downtown / The Loop
As featured in My Chicago Faves
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Address: 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60604-2505
Phone Number:
+1 312-922-3432
09:00 - 21:00
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 21:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit cultural...

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit cultural organization with tours, exhibitions, programs and events for all ages. Visit CAF on Michigan Avenue to view our 1,000-building scale model of Chicago, shop in our award-winning store, or participate in a fun LEGO® building event in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio. Choose from 85 tours by boat, walking, bus, or even L train, including the CAF River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises. Tours depart daily and are led by CAF's expert docent guides. Every October, check out CAF's free annual Open House Chicago festival. Proceeds from CAF’s tours and gift shop, as well as grants, sponsorships and donations, support this educational mission.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 2,069 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1660
  • 228
    Very good
  • 26
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  • 9
Chicago River tour

Took the architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and I would highly recommend it. It was really interesting beautiful scenery and great guy.

Reviewed 3 days ago
Darla K
Chicago, Illinois
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2,069 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,939: English reviews
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Took the architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and I would highly recommend it. It was really interesting beautiful scenery and great guy.

Thank Darla K
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a wide range of tours that explore the built environment of Chicago. Among them are river cruises, bus and trolley tours, walking tours downtown and in various neighborhoods, and even bike and segway tours. The Foundation's lobby features a scale model replica of the city's downtown, and there is a Lego studio where kids and... More 

Thank Emily C
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I was in Chicago in May for fun--a girlfriends trip! We enjoyed two tours through the CAF: the architectural boat tour, and the Architectural Highlights tour (bus, 3.5 hrs). Both were fabulous. Our guide on the bus tour was David Smith, who was simply delightful. He is very knowledgeable, and passionate about Chicago architecture. It included a tour of the... More 

Thank eellis2015
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

The boat was really comfortable and Beccy the docent on board giving the narration for the tour was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! She was so knowledgable and passionate about the city's architecture, told stories and was very engaging!!! One of the best tours I have ever done!!

Thank tjw160171
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
50 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Our guide Julie was a treasure of knowledge. I learned lots, and enjoyed the boat ride up and down the river. Excellent way to spend an evening.

Thank kimcrm
Highland Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

This new tour from the Chicago Architecture Foundation is a great addition. We saw gorgeous hotel lobby's and roof top bars (not always available). This tour includes some of the best views of Chicago you can get anywhere. Leave it to the great city of Chicago to bring new life to architectural treasures in this wonderful way! CAF Docent Edie... More 

1 Thank Harriet49
2 reviews
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

Despite the passionate speaker, the quality of the audio tour made it impossible to understand half of what she was saying. The mic kept on breaking off. We missed key parts of the history and highlights. That's very deceiving considering we paid $117 for the tour. And yes babies of 6 months old have to pay $25 for the tour...... More 

Thank W2058OMalainm
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

CAF offers many different services & activities to see Chicago with greater depth. As a Chicago native, there is always still more to learn. Plus, it's always cool to see Chicago from different point of views.

Thank eenerf
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

This river tour should not be missed. It leaves from the riverside by the statue of Lincoln and some other bloke and is quite expensive at $50pp, but it is well worth it. Our guide was passionate about the architecture and spoke continuously for the full 90 minutes, giving facts about the various buildings, their history and the various technical... More 

Thank Dave H
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
45 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

A must-do in Chicago. Some of the best views of Chicago's 20th Century architecture are from the river. Wonderful guide. Highly recommended.

Thank Craig A

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?

Staying in Downtown / The Loop

Neighbourhood Profile
Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.
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