When conservation org Friends of the Chicago River founded Chicago River Day in 1992, it celebrated by sending out 25 volunteers to drag junk from the banks of the polluted stream. But this year, on the unofficial environmental holiday’s 20th anniversary, enthusiasts of the city’s 156-mile waterway have planned 20 days of river-centric festivities—most of them labor-free— beginning Monday 23. Find a complete list of events at chicagoriver.org. Here are the highlights.
See a Bridge in Motion
Inside the Bridgehouse Museum’s river-level gear room, get an up-close view of the DuSable Bridge as it lifts into the air to let sailboats pass. 376 N Michigan Ave, river walk level (reservations: 312-939-0490, chicagoriver.org). May 10 at 12:30pm; free.
Chicago River 5K Running or Walking Tour
Take river trivia in stride as you sprint or stroll through this guided ecological history tour, which hits the ground alongside the river every morning from Monday 23 through May 12. Meet at 376 N Michigan Ave (reservations: cityrunningtours.com). Weekdays at 7:30am, weekends at 9am; $35.
Downtown Canyons Chicago River Pub Crawl
Flag down a free water taxi from Wendella Sightseeing and stop for drink specials at four watering holes along the river’s main stem and south branch. Meet at Dick’s Last Resort, 315 N Dearborn St; Cityscape Bar, 350 W Mart Center Dr; or Currents on the River, 200 S Wacker Dr (registration: 312-939-0490, ext 10; chicagoriver.org). May 3, 5–11pm; free.
Stickney Water Reclamation Plant Tour
Ever wondered where your sewage ends up? Flush out the basics of water reclamation during this two–hour mini tour of the world’s largest wastewater treatment facility, which treats about 700 million gallons of wastewater a day. 6001 W Pershing Rd, Cicero (reservations: 312-751-6633, chicagoriver.org). Apr 30 at 9am, 11am and 1pm; free.
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