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Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly promenade located along the south bank of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago. This scenic waterfront walkway stretches from Lake Shore Drive to Franklin Street, weaving through the heart of the city. It offers a unique perspective of Chicago’s urban architecture and is a popular destination for both leisure and recreation. With a variety of attractions such as eateries, public art, and open spaces for socializing, the Riverwalk invites both locals and tourists to experience the city’s dynamic riverside.


The idea of a river-level walkway along the Chicago River was first proposed by Daniel Burnham in his 1909 plan for Chicago. However, it wasn’t until the 21st century that this vision was fully realized. The Chicago Riverwalk has been developed in phases, transforming the riverfront into a landscaped, accessible, and cultural space. The completion of the Riverwalk has been a significant part of the city’s efforts to reclaim the Chicago River for the ecological and recreational benefit of its residents and visitors alike.


The Chicago Riverwalk runs along the south bank of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago. It stretches for approximately 1.25 miles from Lake Shore Drive on the east end to Franklin Street on the west. This central location makes it a convenient and attractive destination for exploring the heart of the city.


For more information on events, activities, and the businesses operating on the Chicago Riverwalk, visitors can access the official website at The site provides a wealth of information for planning a visit, including an interactive map, details on attractions, and seasonal announcements.

Opening Hours

The Chicago Riverwalk is open to the public year-round, 24 hours a day. However, the operating hours for the various businesses and attractions along the Riverwalk may vary, with most being open from the morning into the late evening. It’s best to check individual venues for their specific hours.

Things to Do

The Riverwalk offers a wide range of activities to suit various interests:

  • Dining and Bars: From casual cafes to upscale dining, there are options for all tastes.
  • Architectural Tours: Many companies offer boat tours that depart from the Riverwalk, providing insightful commentary on Chicago’s iconic buildings.
  • Public Art: The Riverwalk features rotating art installations and sculptures.
  • Urban Kayaking: Paddle through the cityscape with kayak rentals and guided tours.
  • Seasonal Activities: Enjoy summer fireworks, fishing, winter ice sculptures, and more.

Tips For Visiting

To make the most of your time at the Chicago Riverwalk, consider these tips:

  • Wear Comfortable Footwear: Be prepared for a fair amount of walking along the riverside.
  • Check the Weather: The Riverwalk is outdoors, so dress appropriately for Chicago’s unpredictable weather.
  • Look Out for Events: The Riverwalk hosts numerous events throughout the year, so check the schedule ahead of your visit.
  • Stay Safe: While the Riverwalk is well-trafficked and safe, always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
  • Explore the Pathways: Don’t rush your visit; take time to explore the various pathways and see where they lead.


The Chicago Riverwalk is a testament to the city’s dedication to creating a multi-use space that provides both leisure and educational opportunities. It’s a place where the pace of city life can slow down, allowing people to enjoy the simple pleasure of a riverside stroll with the backdrop of Chicago’s towering skyline. Whether you’re looking for a place to unwind, a chance to learn about the city’s architecture, or simply a new route for your morning jog, the Chicago Riverwalk offers a picturesque slice of urban life.

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