Urban Adventures

Urban Adventures

From

$100

Location: Riverwalk
Duration: 3-4 hours
Ages 18+ or Accompanied by an Adult

Back for another season, our Urban Adventures!

Urban Adventures take you deeper along the Chicago River, exploring either the North or South Branch of the Chicago River (check schedule for which route!). Leaving from our dock, you’ll take in the majesty and history of downtown Chicago, before branching off into the urban wilderness that makes the Chicago River one of the most unique bodies of water in North America. Dive deep into the industrial past of one America’s great cities, while also learning more about the conservation efforts and cultural renaissances that have helped shape the Windy City. Every Urban Adventure includes lunch at our restaurant Taco Rio after you return to the UK dock. Lunch includes any 1 food item at TacoRio.

Urban Adventures Routes alternate between exploring the North Branch around Goose Island (lovingly called “Cooking the Goose”), and exploring the South Branch route to Chinatown.

Urban Adventures FAQs

How long is the trip?

Urban Adventure routes range in length from 5 – 8 miles and generally last between 3 and 4 hours. Exact timings may vary a bit depending on group speed, weather conditions, and other external factors. Please keep in mind that covering long distances makes it much harder for us to predict exact timings, so we recommend not scheduling anything immediately after your adventure in case we run long.

South Branch route: roughly 6 miles total, and will take paddlers on an out-and-back route from the Urban Kayaks dock near Lake Shore Drive along the Main Branch of the Chicago River, then down the south branch to Ping Tom Park in Chinatown and back, stopping at the secret Van Buren “Sea Caves” (accessible only by kayak), River City, and other points of interest along the way.

North Branch routes: roughly 8 miles total, and will take paddlers down the Main Branch, then north in a loop around Goose Island, before heading down the south branch to to stop at the secret Van Buren “Sea Caves” (accessible only by kayak), before returning up the Main Branch to the Urban Kayaks Dock.

Given the length of the trips, Urban Adventures are NOT recommended for Beginning paddlers, but the entire route is flatwater paddling, with minimal current conditions and other environmental factors to contend with. Prior experience is required, but as long as you are reasonably fit and confident in how to paddle and steer a kayak (and that you can sit in one comfortably for several hours in a row) you should be good to go. If you have any further questions about this, feel free to call our office and speak to a member of our staff.
Yes, though as with the experience question, it is worth keeping in mind that the trips are several hours long and cover substantial distances. Older kids (12+) who are confident paddlers are welcome. Younger children may be possible assuming that they are in boats with capable adults who can keep up with the group without significant help from the kids. Urban Adventures are not recommended for younger children.
There is a bathroom break built into all of our routes roughly half way through. As the Chicago River is still a major industrial waterway It is not possible to just pull over along the side of the river, so customers are encouraged to take advantage of bathroom breaks when they are available.
Your payment includes all gear necessary for paddling (kayak, life jacket, paddle), as well as lunch at our restaurant Taco Rio after you return to UK. Lunch includes 2 Tacos along with your choice of small side (Chips & Salsa, Elotes, or Rio Slaw). Light snacks carried by your guides are also provided. Your fee pays our awesome guide teams for their time, but tips are still encouraged, as our staff work hard to provide you with an exceptional experience! $10 – $15 per person in your group is considered appropriate.

Yes! We generally require 2 weeks lead notice in order to ensure we have proper staffing and can accommodate you at your desired time. We also offer enhanced meal and drink packages for private groups. The cost per person for a private Urban Adventure is $135, with variations on that if you wish to upgrade your meal/drink package. If you’re interested in booking an Urban Adventure as a private event, please contact us at (office@urbankayaks.com). Please note that Urban Adventures are not suitable for private groups of more than 20 people, and the same experience expectations exist for private groups.

Our Urban Adventures are led by American Canoe Association Certified Kayak guide instructors, who are highly trained and experienced in rescue skills and emergency management on the water. Our guides are also equipped with basic first aid kits and other rescue equipment should the need arise.

Wear clothing that you are comfortable moving in, and that is alright getting wet. Swimsuits, athletic wear, and similar type clothing is highly recommended. Hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses are also strongly encouraged.

We also recommend Urban Adventures participants bring a water bottle with ample drinking water, as hydration is important while on the river. Our guides will have basic snacks, but if there is anything you specifically want you should bring that as well. Shoes that can be securely kept on your feet are also recommended.

Phones are a great way to take photographs and remember your trip. That said, there is a risk that they can be lost in the water or damaged. If you want to bring your phone but are concerned about loss/damage, we do sell water-proof phone bags with lanyards for $10 that will keep your phone protected while still allowing access to the touch screen. If you do choose to bring your phone, Urban Kayaks is not liable for loss or damage.
As soon as you want! We offer Urban Adventures every Sunday morning, so just check our schedule to see when our next available offering is!

Gallery

Reviews

Urban Adventures

From

$100

Location: Riverwalk
Duration: 3-4 hours
Ages 18+ or Accompanied by an Adult