Chicago Riverwalk Opening Weekend Celebration: Pyrotechnic waterfalls, boat rides, tours, fishing and more

Chicago Riverwalk Opening Weekend Celebration: Pyrotechnic waterfalls, boat rides, tours, fishing and more
City Winery Riverwalk. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

It's party time on Chicago's Riverwalk this weekend. The opening weekend celebration showcases all the exciting happenings and things to do along this magnificent 1.25 mile stretch that cuts through the heart of the city.

“The three-day Chicago Riverwalk celebration (May 18-May 20) will offer an extravaganza of music, art, architecture, fireworks and more,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “We invite Chicagoans and visitors to escape the everyday and embrace this magnificent urban space and all it has to offer throughout the year.”

Dining at O'Brien's Cafe. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Dining at O'Brien's Cafe. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Highlights include: DJs and live music, walking tours led by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, fishing at the Jetty and much more.

Sure to be spectacular are the  pyrotechnic waterfalls that will "flow" from the  LaSalle Street, Clark Street, Dearborn Street and State Street bridges starting at 8:15pm. Friday.img_1347

Everything is now open for the summer season including new and returning restaurants like City Winery, Frost Gelato (NEW location), Island Party Hut, Chicago Brewhouse (NEW), The Northman (NEW), O’Briens Riverwalk Café and Tiny Tapp.

Chicago First Lady at the dock and a view of the Chicago skyline. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Chicago First Lady at the dock and a view of the Chicago skyline. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

During opening weekend and throughout the summer season, various activities, entertainment and specials will be offered at participating vendor locations and various boat tour operators including: Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago Electric Boat Company, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises-Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline, Chicago Water Taxi, Downtown Docks,  McCormick, Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum, Urban Kayaks and Wendalla Sightseeing.

All Chicago Riverwalk Summer Kick-Off Celebration activities are free unless otherwise noted. The Riverwalk is open to the public from 6 a.m.–11 p.m. throughout the year.

Participate in the activities, run, walk or just come to relax and peoplewatch. You can even bring the dog/dogs like this couple enjoying the day on Wednesday.img_1411

Click here for the full schedule of weekend events.

About the Riverwalk

The award-winning Riverwalk offers a new perspective on Chicago's own unique waterfronts and architecture as the backdrop for summer. Completed in the fall of 2016, the Chicago Riverwalk (Lake Shore Dr. to Lake St.) is a 1.25-mile promenade through the heart of the city and a destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike to enjoy art, music and more. In 2018, the Riverwalk was awarded the AIA Award for Architecture and the AIA Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design.

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