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The Chicago River

Updated on June 12, 2013

Whats sometimes brown, sometimes green and bubbly in parts?

People fish in it but you can't eat your catch. Tourists take architectural cruises down it. Its appeared in film. Its dyed green every St. Patrick's Day. Parts of the South Fork of it still bubble from decaying meat from the Stockyards written about in Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". What am I talking about? The Chicago River of course!

Chicago Water Taxis - A Great Way To Experience The Chicago River While Doing Your Sightseeing

As a local, I love taking the Chicago Water Taxis. My kids love taking them too! Here are the different locations you can board and exit these boats. A better way to get around the loop than taking a train on any smelly summer day! Unless you like being packed like a sardine with a bunch of sweaty Chicagoans!

A one-way ticket is $4 and a 10-ride pass is $24.

  • Madison / Ogilvie Stop - Right by the Ogilvie Transportation Center. If you need to go to this train station, take the river taxi there! Or if you're coming into town from the suburbs on a Metra train, just take the river taxi to you final destination.
  • Lasalle / Clark Stop - At the Fulton's On The River restaurant and just a block from Merchandise Mart.
  • Michigan Ave / Mag Mile Stop is at the northwest corner of the Michigan Ave. bridge at Trump Plaza (between the Wrigley Building and Trump Tower on the River Walk).
  • Chinatown Stop is located at the pagoda at the Ping Tom Memorial Park. What a fantastic day out when you take the Chicago River Taxi to Chinatown!

show route and directions
A markerMadison / Ogilvie Stop -
2 North Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL
get directions

B markerLasalle / Clark Stop -
315 North Lasalle St., Chicago, IL
get directions

C markerMichigan Avenue Stop -
401 N Wabash, Chicago, IL
get directions

The Chicago River In Film - Snippets Taken From Hollywood Films

Who can forget the Blues Brothers jumping the bridge over the Chicago river? View these famous movie clips of the Chicago River.

Fun Facts About The Chicago River

Well, fun in a sick Chicago way!

  • Dying the river green for St. Patrick's Day - This tradition began accidentally when some plumbers were tracing the source of illegal pollution discharges by using fluorescein dye. This yearly activity is sponsored by the local plumbers union, but they now use 40 pounds of powdered vegetable dye to change the river's color.
  • White House Fountains Dyed Green - First Lady Michelle Obama ordered that the White House fountains be dyed green on St. Patrick's Day 2009, tipping her hat to her hometown's Chicago River tradition.
  • The Eastland Tragedy - The Eastland excursion boat, docked at the Clark St. bridge, rolled over and killed 844 passengers in 1915.
  • Bubbly Creek - Pollution from the Chicago meat-packing industry and, particularly, the Union Stockyards, caused portions of the Chicago River to bubble with gases from the decomposing entrails and blood. Upton Sinclair wrote about the phenomenon in his classic, The Jungle. The south fork of the Chicago River's South Branch (Bubbly Creek) is still toxic to this day.

Old Bubbly

Is a part of the Chicago river that would boil up with decaying waste from the stockyards. It still bubbles today.

Chicago River Tour Boats

St. Patricks Day in Chicago

The Chicago River is dyed green on this day every year with a "secret ingredient".

Books On The Chicago River - Find Out More About the Chicago River.

Check out these books on the Chicago River, for sale online at

If you've enjoyed this collection of information on the Chicago River, please sign my guestbook.

Contact Laura Schofield

*If you would like to suggest any links or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, If you enjoy the work I've done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.

Spreading The Word About Chicago's River

Nominate this Chicago River Lens For a 'Lens Of The Day' Award

If you find this lens incredibly useful, you should nominate it for a Lens of the Day award. If it wins, this lens will be prominently displayed on Squidoo for a day. It might help visitors to Chicago get a little more from their trip, or it might help a Chicagoan discover a new way to get around downtown.

Can't rate this lens or nominate it because you're not yet a member of Squidoo?

If you're not yet a member of Squidoo, you can sign up and get started with the Squidoo community right here. Go on, its addictive (in a good way)!

Your Chicago River Sightseeing Recommendations. - Do you take Chicago water taxis? Have you ever kayaked on the Chicago River or taken an Architectural Sightsee

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