Introduction to Kayaking on the Chicago River

500 Ratings


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Get out on the water for a kayaking adventure that teaches you the basics as you paddle down the Chicago River. Float below towering skyscrapers and hear all about the city's architecture from your guide.
Duration:  1hr
Cancellation:  24hrs
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  • See the Windy City from the unique vantage point of the Chicago River, which cuts a path through the heart of the city
  • Enjoy an excursion perfect for beginner level paddlers: Explore the river while getting plenty of advice and guidance from experts
  • Start off with a 20-minute training session that gets you water ready, then hop on board your kayak to start your aquatic adventure
  • Get plenty of hands-on practice as you glide between sky-high buildings that tower overhead

What's Included

  • Guided lesson
  • Kayaking equipment

Additional Information

Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled tour time. Bring workout/cycling gloves if you have them.

Cancellation policy

There is a 24 hour cancellation policy for all pre-paid reservations. If you cancel within 24 hours of making your booking, your money is not refundable. You are, however, allowed to make a new reservation at no additional cost. This is designed to account for emergency or otherwise unavoidable circumstances. If you miss or cancel your second reservation inside of 48 hours you will forfeit your purchase.

Customer Reviews

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500 Ratings
5 Star
89 %
4 Star
6 %
3 Star
1 %
2 Star
1 %
1 Star
0 %
Aug 29, 2019
Hi, I completed the Urban Kayak ride today with my family. I had a great time. The only problem was it was hard to hear. I didn't know that my sibling was asking our trainer, who was very sweet, to speak up or to wait for me to catch up. I noticed another kayak company had a mini bull horn. It may be a helpful thing to use because it was a bit inaudible at some points and it really wasn't that early around about 11 am on the river. That was a little scary for me because I thought at one point I heard the trainer say that we were crossing, but she had actually said we weren't crossing because of a fast incoming boat. I had a great time with my family and on the beautiful river. Not gonna lie, it was a little scary with all of the traffic, but it was an enjoyable and memorable experience. It was much longer than I thought it would be. Paddling all the way to Clark Street and back was amazing, but it may be worth informing first-timers like myself (via your website), that it is somewhat of a vigorous route in part because of the outside elements. I think that was the only thing I wasn't prepped for per your website that I scoured the night before. Thanks so much again for the experience and opportunity. "As a Chicago girl, it was a great vantage point to take in the beautiful city." Even as a local, it was quite impressive thanks to Urban Kayaks. PS- My newly minted 9-year-old nephew had the option of a Cubs Game (gotta raise them right #NoSox), or Kayaking for his birthday. He jumped at this chance. I'm hopeful it will be an experience he won't ever forget. Since it is off of my bucket list, I doubt I will forget it either. Thanks so much again, Hyde Park local
Aug 6, 2019
Hello, I had a gift certificate for your kayaking service. I also purchased an additional kayaking experience so that my boyfriend and I could go together. Our experience was cut significantly short bec our guide had to spend 25 plus minutes literally saving and teaching a tandem kayak mother/son couple who was on the water. This couple did not participate in the tutorial beforehand and had never been on the water. Considering the number of employees, instructors, and staff at urban kayak at the 6:30 p.m. launch time, someone OTHER THAN our guide should have come to work with the tandem kayak that held the rest of the group back. We literally stopped at each bridge to wait for them and instruct them on the different ways to paddle, right from left, and not to use the paddle to push off the wall. Our group lost almost half their time on the water because of the tandem kayak. We paid for an 60 minute expeience and should have received that or be reimbursed for the 25-30 minutes lost.
Jul 5, 2019
Our instructor, Sophia I believe, was very patient when my mom and I were using a tandem kayak! It really put us at ease when kayaking for the first time.


Meeting location:  435 Chicago Riverwalk


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