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Explore the Charm of the Chicago Riverwalk

By Eliana Kinzer

Visitors enjoy relaxing along the Chicago Riverwalk. || Photo by Tosca66, courtesy of Adobe Stock

The Chicago Riverwalk on the southern bank of the Chicago River spans
more than a mile from Lake Michigan to Lake Street, offering a pedestrian-friendly environment through the heart of the city. While walking the riverwalk, meeting-goers will come across charming nooks, airy cafes, wineries and bars, public art, landmarks, museums, and numerous water-based activities. This vibrant and charming pedestrian promenade offers groups a delightful way to soak up the city’s culture, history, and architecture, all while enjoying breathtaking views of the river and skyline.

For attendees looking to explore the Riverwalk from the water, a range of boat tours are available. These include the glass-enclosed Odyssey Chicago River, the Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise, Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline, Shoreline Sightseeing, and Wendella Sightseeing Co. Inc. For a more unique experience, groups can try Island Party Boats, Chicago Cycleboats, or the eco-conscious Chicago Electric Boat Co.

The Riverwalk also features permanent and rotating public art by leading contemporary artists, such as a mural by Kate Lynn Lewis and portraits of Chicagoans by street muralist Don’t Fret. Attendees can also view Ellen Lanyon’s Riverwalk Gateway and Carolyn Ottmers’ Allium sculptures. The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Plaza is a tranquil spot for a timeout from the bustling city. The Riverwalk’s crown jewel is Art On The Mart, the largest digital art projection in the world, covering 2 1/2 acres of The Merchandise Mart’s river-facing facade.

Food and drink options on the Riverwalk are plenty, with something to suit every taste. City Winery is a popular spot with a spacious waterfront patio, which serves signature wines on tap paired with a cheese plate. Tiny Tapp & Cafe features casual bites and cocktails, Island Party Hut brings the tropical vibes, The Northman Beer & Cider Garden has locally made ciders, and the new Community Marketplace features Chicago-based women- and minority-owned vendors. In addition to its restaurants, the Riverwalk also features several boutique shops and artisanal markets where meeting-goers can pick up unique gifts and souvenirs.

The Chicago Riverwalk is a must-visit destination for groups looking to experience what the Windy City has to offer. So, grab a comfortable pair of shoes and get walkin’.