This relaxing 2.5 hour kayak trip takes you through the picturesque urban chasm that is the Chicago River as it flows through downtown. Take in the sights and history along its beautifully landscaped riverside promenade and kaleidoscopic view of some of the greatest American architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries.
During our excursion, we enjoyed passing under a multitude of articulated ironwork bridges (the largest movable bridge system in the world!); the fantastic shoreline people-watching; and the wide variety of wildlife that has been drawn to the majestic downtown segment of the Chicago River as the cleanliness has dramatically improved over the past few decades.
At the put in site we reviewed the basics of flat water kayaking, talked about river safety, made sure we were outfitted properly, and got the family on the water.
As we began our journey through the city we stopped at the best vistas on the river. Our family of four, choose to separate Mom and Dad each with a child for safety. Our Malibu XL Two ocean kayaks performed well on the river even with the big sightseeing tour boats blasting waves.
Before kayaking we homeschooled about how Chicago went from an outback trading post to a bustling metropolis. During stops, we could see for ourselves the strong links between the Chicago River and the city itself. Larger-than-life personalities are standard here, from the first fiddle playing, unofficial mayor, to the early boosters whose investments drove major development, to the pioneers and innovators of industry who established Chicago as a world-class city. In addition, the prominent buildings created a backdrop where we could discuss the historical and architectural significance of each one we paddled by.
The surroundings from the peaceful platform of our kayaks allowed us to savor the atmosphere as we glided past Chicago’s spectacular interior skyline. Many amazing pictures are waiting to be captured along the way.
We all paddle back to the dock and made sure everyone gets out safely. Even though we did not use a service, our recommendation would be WATERIDERS; Chicago Kayak Tours and Rentals.
After a long day on the river it was time to enjoy some food and drinks. We stopped at Parky’s. This funky little place may not offer the best Chicago hotdog, but it is a local treasure and satisfied our families hunger.