New tour app explores Chicago lakefront

May 2, 2014
Chicago skyline

URBANA, Ill. - A self-guided tour app is helping tourists and residents experience the downtown Chicago lakefront in a new way. Chicago Water Walk takes users on a journey through time to discover how Lake Michigan and the Chicago River transformed a small trading post into one of the economic and cultural hubs of the world and the vital role these natural resources play now and will play in the future.

The app explores some of the city’s most celebrated sites—Navy Pier, the Chicago River, downtown marinas, Buckingham Fountain, and Museum Campus. Each stop weaves history, current events, and water sciences with many fun facts to show the importance of aquatic ecosystems in the city’s past, present, and future. Stunning photos, historic images, and links to videos and other resources bring these issues to life and reveal a lakefront that will surprise even the most veteran Chicagoans.   

Users will learn why the decision to reverse the Chicago River is still making waves more than a century later and how a city that sits along Lake Michigan can be concerned about having enough water in the future. The app contains information on how native trees and plants are helping the city prepare for changing weather patterns and efforts to restore much-needed habitats for millions of birds, fish, and other wildlife.

With 18 stops across four routes, Chicago Water Walk is easily customized to enhance any trip to the lakefront. Users can follow the suggested tours or visit the sites that most appeal to them using the interactive map.

Chicago Water Walk is available free on both android and Apple devices. It was developed by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, with funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and technical support from the University of Illinois Administrative Information Technology Services.

For more information and to download the app, visit  


The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of 33 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business, and industry expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes’ needs. Funding is provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.

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