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Chicago Riverwalk
Photograph: Time Out/Jaclyn Rivas

Businesses along the Chicago Riverwalk are beginning to reopen

Vendors along the riverfront attraction are welcoming back guests for dining, drinking and boat tours.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Craving a meal or a drink along the riverfront? Over the weekend, a trio of Chicago Riverwalk vendors welcomed back guests for the first time since last fall, marking the beginning of a phased approach to reopening the popular attraction.

On Friday, April 9, Island Party Hut, Beat Kitchen on the River and City Winery began serving guests in accordance with the city's latest guidelines for outdoor dining, including social distancing between tables, a 10-person party limit and mandatory face mask use. The Northman Beer and Cider Garden is set to open on April 15, while Chicago Brewhouse and Tiny Tapp & Cafe are promising to open sometime in mid-April. O'Briens Riverwalk Café and Sweet Home Gelato will reopen at some point in May, alongside a brand new restaurant called Pier 31 on the Riverwalk—an extension of the popular café located at 31st Street Beach.

Eat and drinking won't be the only activities returning to the Riverwalk this spring. Chicago’s First Lady Cruises (which operates the popular Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise) will return during the weekends beginning on April 17; the Chicago Electric Boat Company start offering rentals on April 15; Chicago Cycleboats will offer private pedal-powered cruises beginning on April 17; and the Riverwalk outpost of Urban Kayaks will resume rentals on May 1.

The public portions of the Riverwalk—including the Floating Garden between Wells and Franklin Streets, as well as the tiered River Theater seating between La Salle and Clark Streets—remain open from 6am to 11pm daily. You can also view the Art on theMart projections each night from 8:30 to 9:30pm from a section of the Riverwalk between Wells and Franklin Streets.

"This reopening serves as yet another indicator of our city's resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to making this Chicago staple available to residents and visitors this spring and summer," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement accompanying the Chicago Riverwalk reopening announcement.

For more details about which riverfront businesses are reopening and their current hours, check out the Chicago Riverwalk website.

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