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Photograph: City Cruises
Photograph: City Cruises

Five reasons to rediscover your city by cruise this summer

Tap into city’s waterways, make new memories, and seize the moment

Written by Time Out. Paid for by City Cruises

Forget all about being locked down and landlocked at home, because fresh air and unforgettable views are waiting at a dock near you: it’s time for a city cruise. From San Diego and LA to San Francisco, all the way to Chicago, DC, and New York, City Cruises anchored by Hornblower will whisk you out onto the water with their revamped SafeCruise program and a smorgasbord of excursions. Get your mates on board, put a sparkling drink in your hand, explore the open waters all around you, and seize the summer with the breeze in your hair. And if you need one more reason to get cruising, here are five to get you started.

1. There’s non-stop sightseeing

You just won’t get better photos than the ones you’ll get on a city cruise—there, we said it. Get incredible views of Chicago's unique architecture as you sail right under the city's most famous buildings; take bucket list snapshots of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty in NYC, encounter the Golden Gate Bridge and get unbeatable sights of Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge in San Francisco; and get up close to iconic historic monuments in Washington, DC. Nature-lovers will be awe-struck in San Diego, with gorgeous sights of whales, dolphins, and sea lions popping up at every corner. And in L.A., you can swoon over stunning California sunsets and picturesque marinas. The views from any city cruise are heart-stopping as they are eye-popping, with plenty of excuses to stop what you’re doing and snap a selfie.

2. Plenty of fresh air

There’s no need to stay cooped up indoors. Whether you’re catching the coastal breezes from San Francisco Bay to LA’s Newport Beach, or soaking up warm sunshine on Chicago’s Lake Michigan, the best way to get that fresh summer air is to escape the grid and charter the city’s open waterways. 

3. The perfect way to unplug and reset

Not to sound like your yoga instructor, but if there’s one thing that a cruise does for the brain it’s, well, getting you outside of your own head (or at the very least those same four walls you’ve been staring at for over a year). It’s the whole “wow, there really is something bigger than myself!” type of clarity that you can only get out on the water as you feel the horizon expanding. And isn’t that what adventure is all about, breaking your routine and connecting with something different? If you know the four walls of your New York apartment like the back of your hand, imagine the soul-enriching sight of the city lighting up at sunset from the Hudson River. Plus, everything you need is already on board—food, drink, sights, and entertainment—so all you need to do is sit back and relax.

4. It’s where golden hour meets happy hour

Sure, any hour can feel like happy hour if you have the right beverage in hand, but pick a departure that sails straight into the sunset and you’ll bask in golden hour just as the sun dips below the horizon—all while you sip a delicious, icy cocktail from the bar. Better yet? You’ll find your light anytime of day or night out on the water, whether you're booking a brunch cruise on DC's Potomac or a starlit dinner in San Diego Harbor.


5. It’s like a mini vacation, full stop.

Especially if you’re booking an excursion in your own beloved city—but also if you’re visiting a new city altogether—think of a city cruise like a mini vacation beyond your home turf. If you live in the city, chances are you don’t spend much time on boats to begin with, which means any cruise will feel like you’re seeing a city in a whole new light and with fresh perspective—and at the very least, you’ll see more of the city than you ever thought possible. 

Of course, we all know that one of the best things about going on vacation is the food – and you can bet on top-notch dining on City Cruises. Meals are prepared fresh on board, with anything from three-course dinners with fantastic wine, cocktails and beer, to delicious brunches with freshly prepared entrees, salads and desserts that you can enjoy from the comfort of your private table. Fantastic food with a healthy side of stunning views? Yes please!

Choose your city...

New York City

Sail past the Statue of Liberty at sunset, get up close to Brooklyn Bridge and have brunch by the glimmering city skyline on a City Cruises experience in New York City.


Get matchless views beneath the skyline on the Chicago River, or get a whole new perspective of the city by sailing out onto Lake Michigan. Whether you’re keen for brunch, lunch, dinner or cocktails, you’ll find something to suit every taste.

Washington, DC

Discover the nation’s capital from the Potomac. A City Cruises sightseeing experience here takes in iconic DC attractions and includes a delicious dinner.

San Francisco

You’ve never seen the Golden Gate Bridge like this. Cruise the San Francisco Bay with up-close views of the bridge, plus Alcatraz and the city skyline. Magic!

Los Angeles

Enjoy this glittering city without all the hustle with City Cruises. You’ll enjoy stunning harbor views, with cruise locations in Newport Beach, Long Beach and Marina del Rey.

San Diego

Whether you’re interested in whale-watching, or you want your cocktails with a side of gorgeous views of the skyline and Coronado Bridge, you’ll find it on this cruise on the San Diego harbor.

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