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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Chicago Riverwalk Offers Dining, Arts, Music and More

The City of Chicago’s award-winning Chicago Riverwalk, a 1.25-mile promenade through the heart of downtown, has quickly become one of the city’s most popular destinations for art, music, dining and the enjoyment of natural habitats, beloved by Chicagoans and visitors alike. Replete with ample spaces for the appreciation of the city’s distinctive architecture, guests also encounter opportunities for boating, fishing, jogging and more as they traverse Chicago’s most beautiful waterway or bask in sunshine along the riverbank, savoring a tasty gelato or cool drink.

“The Chicago Riverwalk has helped transform the Chicago River into the city’s next great recreational frontier,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today, the Chicago River brings people together, adds to our quality of life, and contributes to Chicago’s economic growth in a way that enhances, not endangers, our environment. It is great to see Chicagoans from every neighborhood, and people from every part of the world, enjoying the Riverwalk and experiencing the sights and sounds of Chicago.”
Chicago Riverwalk Offers Dining, Arts, Music and More

The Chicago Riverwalk is a prime example of the City’s official motto, "Urbs in Horto" (meaning "City in a Garden"), offering the serenity of nature amid the exciting vibrancy of an urban retail, business and arts hub. The six-block Riverwalk was officially completed in 2016 under the leadership and vision of Mayor Emanuel to transform the Chicago River into a recreational destination and weave the life of the River into the urban fabric of the city. The beautifully designed promenade features a series of distinct settings, each aesthetically cohesive yet unique in character. Beginning at the southwest corner of State Street and Wacker Drive, the Riverwalk moves southwest for six City blocks, divided into “rooms,” each partitioned by one of the City’s iconic movable bridges. These sections include:

* The Marina Plaza: restaurants and outdoor seating with views of vibrant life on the water, including passing barges, water taxis and sightseeing boats. (From State to Dearborn.)

* The Cove: a restaurant, a kayak information center and docking for human-powered crafts, enabling physical connections to the water through recreation. (From Dearborn to Clark.)
Downtown Chicago Illinois

* The River Theater: a sculptural staircase linking Upper Wacker and the Riverwalk offering pedestrian connectivity to the water’s edge and seating, while trees provide greenery and shade. (From Clark to LaSalle.)

* The Water Plaza: a zero-depth water feature with playful fountains for children and families to engage with water at the River’s edge. (From LaSalle to Wells.)

* The Jetty: a series of piers and floating wetland gardens with interactive learning about the ecology of the river, including opportunities for fishing and identifying native plants. (From Wells to Franklin.)

* The Riverbank: an accessible walkway and new marine edge creating access to Lake Street and featuring a public lawn at the confluence. Providing an accessible route from lower to upper Wacker and Lake Street, it will be utilized for art installations in the future.
Chicago Riverwalk Offers Dining, Arts, Music and More

The Riverwalk has transformed the Chicago River from a waterway previously utilized primarily by industrial barges or sightseeing boats into an approachable public amenity to be enjoyed by all. The project also represents the realization of a key element of Daniel Burnham’s historic 1909 Plan of Chicago. The design was created by Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects and was constructed by Alfred Benesch & Co. Engineers and Walsh Construction.

Dining and recreational opportunities abound along the banks of the Chicago River, including cafes, wine bars and craft brewing. Restaurants, many of which offer live musical entertainment, include Chicago BrewHouse, City Winery Chicago, Frost Gelato, Island Party Hut, The Northman Beer and Cider Garden, O’Briens and Tiny Tapp and Cafe. History and engineering enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, where they can learn about history of the River that helped establish Chicago as a business mecca and marvel at the technology involved in the movable bridges. Public art installations, changing seasonally, are peppered throughout the Chicago Riverwalk for sightseers to enjoy. Guided walking tours, let by the Chicago Architecture Foundation or Chicago Greeters, as well as birding tours led by Audubon are available. The Chicago Park District’s Fishing at the Getty program lends anglers free poles and lures. For more information, visit

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