FREE Chicago Riverwalk Activities & Free Cruises – May 20

The Chicago Riverwalk hosts a season-opening celebration for all ages next weekend with activities including a traveling music cruise concert, walking tours, music, free architecture cruises, parades with puppets, fishing at the Jetty led by the Chicago Park District, the “Dance of the Bridges,” a finale pyrotechnic waterfall display and more. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Free. For a seasonal schedule of Riverwalk events, go to


With the recent completion of the Chicago Riverwalk, the birthplace of the skyscraper now has its own ground level architectural masterpiece.    The Riverwalk, the last stage of which opened in October, is set to draw record crowds of locals and tourists to the banks of the Chicago River in 2017. In the words of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s latest beautification project has become the city’s “next recreational frontier.”   The walk extends about 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Wolf Point, passing under a series of bridges.    The six newest blocks, all completed between 2012 and 2016 at an estimated cost of $100 million, boast features such as floating gardens, fishing piers and fountains as well as an eclectic array of new waterside wining and dining venues. There are also areas where kayaks and larger boats can pull up and moor.      Some of the riverside restaurants that closed for the winter are opening their doors again on Tuesday.     The Riverwalk offers a variety of opportunities to find the beauty and spirit of the Chicago River. The City backdrop invades this unique experience, presenting visitors with an unexpected perspective. Any way you decide to take on the Riverwalk, you will be delighted with the choices you have to enjoy this treasure. Live performances from local musicians, public art exhibitions and special events will be offered throughout the season. Check the calendar of events for upcoming performances and events.


The Riverwalk was a bustling hub of activity this year, offering a variety of venues and spaces for residents and visitors to eat, drink and play. The riverfront investments we’re making throughout the City are increasing river access, increasing recreational opportunities and promoting economic growth.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 2016

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