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One of my favorite ways to see this magnificent city is by kayak. There’s something amazing about being in a kayak on the Chicago River—many feet below street level—and looking up at all of the buildings, bridges and people.

During the summer months, there are a number of places to rent kayaks on the river and on the lake. By October, your options will be somewhat weather-dependent.

For rentals, I suggest starting with Wateriders, which launches at a prime spot on the river and charges $10 less per her hour than their nearby competitors. However, if you’re staying close to Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, you may want to rent from Urban Kayaks, which launches from the east end of the River Walk. You can follow the same route from either outfitter: You just start at a different point.

For my complete kayaking recommendation, including alternates to kayaking in the Loop, see Racertrips’ blog post: Why You Need to See Chicago By Kayak.

Racertrips™ Tips

  • If you’re traveling with young children, I recommend calling the kayak outfitter first to make sure they can accommodate you.
  • During nice weather, there is a LOT of traffic on the river. Be prepared to pay attention and to yield to approaching water taxis, tour boats and private boats. If you can kayak during the week, you’ll find the experience more enjoyable because the river will be much less busy.

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      1 Review for Kayaking the Chicago River

      Angi W

      20 Reviews

      Favorite Way to see the Magnificent City

      5/ 5

      One of my favorite ways to see this magnificent city is by kayak. There’s something amazing about being in a kayak on the Chicago River—many feet below street level—and looking up at all of the buildings, bridges and people.

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