We talked to Amy Hartnett from Shoreline Sightseeing, one of our highly reviewed suppliers, to learn more about their business and the different types of boat tours that they offer in the city of Chicago.

We asked Amy to give us some background on the company:

Shoreline sightseeing is the largest boat tour company in Chicago and has more boats than all of its competitors. The main attraction is the architecture river tour which Amy says has become a “must-do” for all first time visitors to the city. Shoreline Sightseeing hires their own professional tour guides and trains them on the material they will cover, including the buildings, the architecture and the history of Chicago. 


What types of products are offered by Shoreline Sightseeing?

The tours are educational, but more importantly entertaining because the tour guides put their own spin on their tours with comedy or extra materials. Amy said when you go to TripAdvisor to read the reviews, “95% of them mention a guide by name because they just make that much of an impact on people.” 

Architecture Tour

Their main tour is the architecture tour. Chicago is known for its architecture, being able to see it from all three branches of the Chicago River makes this a unique experience. You will see over 40 Chicago landmarks, both famous and less well-known, on this 75-minute tour. The architecture tours depart from two locations at all different times throughout the day. The first location is Navy Pier which is a large tourist attraction in Chicago and the second is Michigan Avenue which is right in the middle of the Magnificent Mile.

Classic Lake Tour

The lake tour lets visitors see the city from Lake Michigan where you can enjoy beautiful views of Chicago’s downtown as you cruise along the coastline of one of the Great Lakes. This tour departs daily from the Navy Pier, every half an hour from 10 AM to 9 o’clock at night, spring through autumn. Amy suggests this tour for families with younger children because it is prerecorded which gives them the freedom to get up and move around. This tour also provides a great opportunity to take pictures.

Fireworks Tour

Take a night-time cruise every Wednesday and Saturday evenings in the summer when Chicago puts on their navy pier fireworks! The Shoreline Sightseeing boats provide visitors with the best seat for the display and you can see the fireworks from both the Architecture Tour and the Classic Lake tour. These tours are thoroughly enjoyed and well received by the majority of visitors.

Regarding the classic lake tour, Amy had this to say:

“We should rename it the selfie tour, people like to get up out of their seats and take their selfies, which is great and it’s a great spot to get the iconic photo of the Chicago skyline.”

Amy Hartnett

Shoreline Sightseeing

Shoreline Sightseeing’s message to travel agents?

Here is the first message that Amy would like to deliver to travel agents:

“I think just stressing the fact that travel agents should be looking at our reviews. I know when a travel agent books tours one of their biggest concerns is will our guests enjoy it? Will the boat be there when they get there? And the answer to both of those questions is yes. That means they can book the tours with confidence, this can be the one thing clients can come back and say, that was perfect, it made our weekend or vacation.”  

The other piece of advice Amy had was if travelers are coming to Chicago for an extended stay, they should do the architecture tour as one of their first activities. This is because it goes through all three branches of the Chicago River, so it goes straight through the city and points out landmarks and buildings and gives you a lay of the land for the rest of your stay.

What types of travelers are you appealing to with your products?

Amy explained that most of Shoreline Sightseeing tours are mixed, they have business travelers as well as families who are in Chicago for a vacation. Amy also mentioned that Shoreline Sightseeing offers bilingual tours (in Spanish) four times a week in the mornings for their international guests. This further demonstrates that this tour really can be for everybody!

“In general, the tours are well received by everyone and the tour guides make the experience with their added humor and facts.”

Amy Hartnett

Shoreline Sightseeing


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