Shoreline Sightseeing’s Classic Lake tour is a guided cruise that takes you on a pleasant outing on Lake Michigan right alongside Chicago’s spectacular shoreline. Throughout this tour you’ll hear an informative narration pointing out numerous city landmarks and sharing facts, details, and stories about the people, places, and things that make Chicago the special city it is today. The Classic Lake tour regularly runs multiple times a day, every day of the week during the summer, and no matter which particular Shoreline vessel you board during your particular excursion, a selection of snacks and drinks are likely to be available for purchase.
Money Saving Tip! This tour is included in the Go Chicago Card as well as the Chicago Explorer Pass. Both Chicago Tourist Passes can save you a lot of money if you are going to multiple Chicago attractions.
Classic Lake Tour Details
The Classic Lake tour departs Shoreline Sightseeing’s “west dock,” which can be found on Navy Pier directly across from a McDonald’s location. The Classic Lake tour consists of a six-mile-long excursion on Lake Michigan that takes you all along Chicago’s shoreline. The cruise usually heads north first, taking you past John Hancock Center, near which you’ll also see glimpses of local landmarks like Lake Shore Drive and Oak Street Beach. The Classic Lake tour will then often turn and go as far east as the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, which has stood guard in Lake Michigan since 1893 and is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. The final, southern leg of the tour will provide you with views of yet more Chicago landmarks like Willis (Sears) Tower, Soldier Field, and the iconic buildings of the Museum Campus. The Classic Lake tour lasts approximately 40 minutes. Tickets typically cost about $25 for adults, and $10 for kids under the age of 12 years old. Departure times vary depending on the time of year and the day of the week, but regardless tours run quite frequently—just make sure to check their website for specific details in advance of your visit, and consider making a reservation, as the Classic Lake tour is quite popular when the weather is good.
Classic Lake Tour Major Highlights
Navy Pier: The Classic Lake tour departs from Shoreline Sightseeing’s Navy Pier location. For over a century now Navy Pier has been a popular destination for both locals and visitors. There you’ll encounter a delightful mixture of shops and restaurants, as well as acclaimed attractions like the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Centennial Wheel.
Lake Michigan: No surprise here, given its name, but one of the highlights of the Classic Lake tour is simply the scenic adventure and sheer pleasure of boating on gorgeous Lake Michigan. Having your camera ready will be a must as you cruise along this impressive body of water.
Chicago Skyline: As world-famous as Chicago’s remarkable skyline is, it’s not every day most people get to see it from this perspective. As a result, the Classic Lake tour provides you with the opportunity to soak in stunning views of this beautiful city as you’ve possibly never experienced it before.
Is the Classic Lake Tour for You?
There are other lake cruises available that last longer and provide more extensive commentary and context for the sights and sounds you’ll encounter on a boat along Chicago’s lovely shoreline; there are also other excursions available, such as the Tall Ship Windy line of tours, that offer a more distinctive sailing experience. However, if you’re on a tight schedule—and/or watching your budget carefully—then the Shoreline Sightseeing Classic Lake tour is a solid option for you and your family. Shoreline Sightseeing itself has an excellent reputation for operating quality tours staffed by engaging, knowledgeable guides, and the Classic Lake tour is no exception. The frequency of the Classic Lake tour during the summer months also makes it convenient choice if you’re looking to keep your schedule as flexible as possible throughout your time in Chicago.