Our Top 5 Attractions for the Chicago Riverwalk

By: Victoria Rivera

Chicago is famous for not only its skyscraper views and local culture, but also for its freshwater beaches and scenic lakefront. With so much to do in the city, the lakefront has always been a top go-to choice for Chicagoans to relax and hang out at with family and friends. Now, with Chicago’s Riverwalk framework being close to completion, the buzz and excitement for another great Chicago attraction is growing even more. As a “connecting thread” between the Chicago Lakefront and the city, the Riverwalk has a unique opportunity to stand out as both a tourist attraction and a favorite for local Chicagoans.

We at VIATechnik have compiled some of our own ideas for the Riverwalk. As a VDC and construction services company based here in Chicago’s West Loop located only blocks away from the soon-to-be destination Riverwalk, we want to share our vision with you.

To set the river apart from the typical Downtown experience (think boring mall retail, fast food, bland mega chain restaurants), we are envisioning a place where local artisans, musicians, and independently owned businesses can thrive and provide an uniquely Chicago experience that cannot be easily matched. Instead of water taxis, another large Chicago Restaurant conglomerate outfit, and Chicago Souvenir shop, we hope to see gondolas, a coffee bar library, and an outdoor yoga venue. 

Check out some of our ideas below:

Gondolas on the Riverwalk
Gondolas on the Riverwalk

  • Gondolas. What’s a river without Venetian inspired gondolas? When you walk across the bridges over the River and witness the sparkling blanket of water moving ever so steadily, it brings a peaceful feeling to mind. There are always the use of water taxis and ferries bustling with day-goers and tourists, but the smooth sailing of a gondolier sweeping you and your significant other or couple of close pals gently along the River is a sweeter option on your time off when dealing with a fast-paced environment from day to day.
  • Chicago Public Library + Artisan Coffee. In the City of Chicago’s RFP, there was already a mention of having a section along the River for education, specifically on learning about the ecology of the River. We thought adding a library with a coffee bar where people can check out books or sit and sip on a great cup of joe is a great touch for the Riverwalk, especially with there being plans to provide plenty of public seating.
  • Live Music Venues. Why not incorporate a live music/artist bar for local musicians and artists? This would transform the absence of any late night activities in the loop area. Imagine the riverwalk becoming the new go-to spot for Chicago artists and musicians to get noticed
  • Live Music on the Riverwalk
    Live Music on the Riverwalk
  • Riverfront Fitness. Yoga, kick-boxing, spin, and pilates all along the river front.  Whether you’re looking to find zen in a yoga class, or jump into a quick spin class during that hour long lunch break, a fitness center would definitely motivate people who work nearby or people looking for an experienced workout to come out and participate.  The killer view will give the EBC members on the other side of the river an alternative to their concrete block.
  • Chef Owned Dining. Having an eclectic culinary variety of restaurant options versus big food chains (fast food or not) is definitely lacking in the downtown area. There are more and more corners you turn onto in the City and see the same big-box fast food joints. To celebrate the many cultures and taste palettes that Chicago has to offer, it is only right to include dining options that offer exciting variety to the many kinds of people that would be utilizing the Riverwalk.

There you have it – VIATechnik’s Top 5 list of must haves in the Chicago Riverwalk.  Hopefully the city will not repeat the same mistakes with Millenium Park – creating an absolutely fantastic destination with terrible dining/entertainment options.  For more information about the Chicago Riverwalk check out this link: Chicago Riverwalk.

Photo Credits: VIATechnik’s BIM and Rendering Team

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