The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) rolled out its downtown and neighborhood CAC Walking Tours on April 17 for people eager to rediscover the city’s classic architecture and diverse neighborhoods in a safe, open-air activity.

The popular, always changing walking tours and the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center (CAFC) River Cruise are led by a corps of 400 expert CAC docents, who in June 2021 celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 first CAC docent class.

“As we have since our founding 55 years ago, the CAC will be an eager partner in Chicago’s comeback as we rebuild an equitable Chicago and renew a robust civic commitment,” said Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the CAC. “CAC invites Chicagoans to begin that journey by joining a CAC docent on a CAC neighborhood walking tour or the CAFC River Cruise and rediscover Chicago’s architectural and civic legacy.”

Seven downtown walking tours are available, and there are five neighborhood CAC walking tours.

All walking tours — including custom and private bookings — are limited to small groups only, with face coverings and advance reservations required.

CAFC river cruises

A Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady passes under the Clark Street Bridge.
Credit: Barry Butler

The CAFC River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady launched its 2021 cruise season along Chicago River’s canyon of architecture last week. Led by CAC docents, guests hear stories of the men and women who have designed more than 50 architecturally significant buildings along the Chicago River as well as the Chicago Riverwalk and the 13 bascule bridges on the cruise route.

The 90-minute CAFC River Cruise is the most in-depth, authentic architecture river cruise available and lauded as a “must-do” activity when visiting Chicago. New buildings with cutting-edge design elements continue to rise along the river, including the recently completed St. Regis (Vista) Tower, the city’s third-tallest structure, and the refurbished riverfront Old Post Office. Tour guests will leave the cruise inspired by the city’s wide variety of architectural styles — which glide by as the vessel cruises up and down all three branches of the Chicago River — including art deco, neoclassical, mid-century modern and postmodern.

Groups of 10 or more may reserve in advance by contacting the Group Sales Department at or by calling 312-322-1130. Chicago’s First Lady Cruises’ fleet of yachts may be chartered on a private basis complete with custom food, beverage and a docent-led tour. More information can be found at or by calling 847-358-1330.