Chicago might not seem like an obvious destination for fans of cruises, but there are actually a few different experiences of this kind available in the Windy City, whether you are a permanent resident or just a visitor.
To give you a better idea of what is on offer, here is a brief look at the main cruise categories you can expect to find in Chicago.
The majesty of the river running through the heart of Chicago is worth seeing from any angle, but best of all is the option to book a cruise along it to see the city without having to battle with congestion or jostle for position among the pedestrians crowding the sidewalks.
There are a handful of river cruise operators to consider, some of which offer their own distinct twist, such as focusing on the architectural wonders that can be seen soaring high into the sky around you as you bob sedately past. When it comes to the best things to do in Chicago, this should definitely be a priority.
Chicago sits on the shores of the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, and this beautiful and intimidating body of water is certainly worth checking out from the deck of a boat, rather than only from dry land.
As you might have predicted, there are lots of different lake cruise services available, with the type of vessel being the biggest distinguishing factor. You can power across the lake onboard a modern mega-yacht, or let the wind take over and sail instead if you prefer a more old-school approach with a yacht charter.
Likewise there are varied features of lake cruises to weigh up. Do you want a straightforward sightseeing tour, or would you prefer something with a more entertaining theme? There are family-friendly solutions including pirate-inspired cruises that will keep the kids happy while giving parents a little time to themselves, for example.
If you want a cruise that includes a meal, then Chicago is ready and willing to meet your needs. There are dining cruises for the river as well as the lake, and they cover all times of the day, so whether you want to grab brunch on the water or book an evening meal to watch the sunset as you munch, there should be a cruise out there for you.
While most of the cruise options in Chicago will see you sharing the space with other paying customers, it is also entirely possible to book a private cruise that is just for you and your select group of guests.
This will clearly be a costlier option, but the payoff is being able to dictate more elements of the journey and also enjoy peace and privacy. Private yacht charters fit the bill here, and because the market is relatively competitive you can still find a good deal if you do your research.
So there you have it; Chicago has a buoyant cruise scene and whatever your needs or budget, you should be covered.