Guide to Chicago Water Taxi’s. The Chicago water taxi’s are a fun and relaxing transit alternative that gets you from A to B while gliding along our waterways.
Take a cheap tour of our lake and river
They’re also a great way to take a discount tour of our beautiful lake and river. If you’re thinking about taking an expensive lake or river cruise and you’re not interested in a narrated architectural tour***(see insider tip at very bottom) or don’t want to spend $50 per ticket consider riding the water taxi’s. At the end of each taxi ride is a destination to explore.
Here’s how it works:
Water taxi’s operate from mid to late March to late November depending on the weather. Chicago has two water taxi companies, Chicago Water Taxi and Shoreline Water Taxi, serving different areas.
Chicago Water Taxi (Yellow water taxi’s)
Office: 400 N Michigan Ave, (312) 337-1446. Prices and schedule here. (Best deal: All day pass $10). Tickets are available to purchase at the Ogilvie/Union and Michigan Avenue Stops or on your mobile device. Tickets must be purchased with credit or debit card, cash is no longer accepted. Tickets are not available for purchase on the vessels.
Important: Chicago Water Taxi has 7 stops. Basically you should always check the schedule to see where each taxi is stopping. Some taxi’s run non-stop between two destinations and some taxi’s may make one or more stops. If you are purchasing tickets at the booth double check with the salesperson. If you are buying online you can call Chicago Water Taxi at 312-337-1446 then press “0”. And before boarding always double check with the crew to confirm that the taxi is stopping at your location.
Chicago Water Taxi 7 stops:
- Michigan Avenue stop is located between Trump International Hotel & Tower and the Wrigley Building at the south end of The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue. From Michigan Avenue walk through the Wrigley arch and walk to the stairs on the left. Note: When you disembark at this stop you have to walk up a dozen stairs to get to the elevator that takes you to street level. If the elevator is broken you will have to walk up three flights of stairs.
- LaSalle and Clark (North side of River) No weekend service. The LaSalle/Clark Stop is located between LaSalle and Clark Streets on the north bank of the Chicago River two blocks east of the Merchandise Mart.
- Riverwalk and Clark Street is located on the south side of the river on the Chicago Riverwalk at the southwest corner of the Clark Street Bridge. This stop only operates in high season of summer Late May-September.
- Ogilvie Transportation Center/Union Station. Located at the northwest corner of the Madison Street Bridge. When you disembark at this stop you have to walk up stairs to get to street level. Ogilvie/Union dock is the main hub of Chicago Water Taxi service. All routes meet at Ogilvie/Union dock.
- From Ogilvie Transportation Center: Head north through the terminal, take the skybridge to 2 N Riverside plaza, exit the revolving doors, entrance is straight ahead.
- From Union Station: Exit Madison Street, cross street, entrance on northwest corner of Madison Street Bridge.
- Chinatown Located at Ping Tom Park at the Pagoda.
- Goose Island No weekend service. The North Avenue stop is located at the east end of the North Avenue turning basin at the southwest corner of the Cherry Street pedestrian bridge on the northern tip of Goose Island. Walk up to North Avenue and then walk east to the Clybourn Corridor shopping area.
- Chicago Avenue (600 W. Chicago Ave.) No weekend service. This stop is located northwest corner of the Chicago Avenue bridge. Access the riverwalk from the Larrabee tunnel or the lobby at 600 West Chicago.
Shoreline Water Taxi(Red, white and blue taxi’s)
Schedule and ticket prices
Taxis run weekends in May (weather permitting) and daily starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Check here for schedule and prices.
You may purchase water taxi tickets from locations at 200 South Wacker (Willis Tower), Navy Pier, Museum Campus or the Michigan Avenue location. You may pay with cash or card at all of these locations except for the 200 South Wacker location, where you may only pay with card. The cut off age for children is age 12.
The Lake Route – Connects Navy Pier with the Museum Campus. The Museum Campus stop is closest to the Shedd Aquarium/Oceanarium close to the Field Museum of Natural History and Adler Planetarium. This location is also within walking distance of 12th Street Beach (behind the Planetarium), Soldier Field, Northerly Island.
The River Route – Serves Navy Pier Polk Bros Park, Michigan Avenue and Willis (Sears) Tower/Union Station.
Michigan Avenue – on the River at the Michigan Ave. bridge at 401 N. Michigan, from the stairway on either side of the Apple Store. To avoid most of the stairs enter the Apple Store and on the left is an elevator. Take it to -1 (yes -1) and walk straight ahead. Exit the Apple store and turn right to the Dock.
Navy Pier – Board the Lake Water Taxis at Shoreline’s Pier dock—the first dock on your right as you enter from the west end of Navy Pier’s “Dock Street”. This pier is for water taxis serving the Museum Campus (Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. Also walking distance to Soldier Field and Northerly Island).
Polk Bros. Park at Navy Pier – Board the River Water Taxis at the dock at the southwest corner of Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier where Illinois St. turns into Streeter Dr. These taxis offer direct service to Michigan Avenue and Willis (Sears) Tower/Union Station.
Museum Campus Dock – located at the Lake level on the north side of the Shedd Aquarium. Lake Water Taxis offer direct connections from the Shedd to Navy Pier Dock Street. Free Museum Days
Willis (Sears) Tower/Union Station –
Located on the River level at 200 S. Wacker Drive near Willis (Sears) Tower and across the River from Union Station. Access this dock from the southeast stairway along the Adams Street Bridge, or enter through Quincy Park on Wacker Drive. This dock offers direct service to the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Navy Pier.
Please note that no cash is accepted at this dock location. All tickets must be purchased using ticket kiosk which only accepts debit and credit cards.
COTC TIP: The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruises are excellent so if you have the bucks by all means go. Discount Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruises. Just be aware, if it has been raining a lot call before you book because if the Chicago River level gets too high the boats will not go down the river because they cannot get under the bridges. Instead your tour will be given from the lake which is not nearly as excellent as the river cruise. Cheers!