About the Chicago Riverwalk Project

The Chicago Riverwalk along the main branch of the Chicago River will provide a continuous walkway and recreational amenity connecting the lakefront to the heart of downtown. The design plans include conceptual ideas for each of the six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street with distinctive identities and purposes, thematically named:

The Marina

The Marina – State Street to Dearborn Street

The Marina Plaza is the connection between the existing formal Vietnam Veterans Memorial and its new Riverwalk additions to the west. The Plaza accommodates a variety of uses integrating docking opportunities for recreational boats with public seating areas facing the river. Concession space beneath Upper Wacker Drive in the arcade area will accommodate various retail uses.

The Cove

The Cove – Dearborn Street to Clark Street

The design of the Cove is a surface that gently slopes toward the waterway, similar to a beach. It will provide a safe haven for human-powered crafts along the Main Branch of the Chicago River. Public seating areas and concession space beneath Upper Wacker Drive are included. Plantings along the water are native landscaping that can tolerate the rising river levels during major storm events.
The River Theater

The River Theater – Clark Street to LaSalle Street

The River Theater will serve as the location for a vertical connection between upper Wacker Drive and the Riverwalk. An ADA compliant ramp integrated in to the steps down to the waterway accommodates wheelchairs and strollers. Trees growing from the steps will be an urban forest providing shade as well as an interesting visual effect from Upper Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. Dock wall amenities will allow docking of water taxis or charter boats.

The Water Plaza – LaSalle Street to Wells Street

At the Water Plaza, instead of observing the water, water is integrated into the overall design. The children’s zero-depth fountain is the prominent feature. It will allow children to play and run in the mist and spray. In this the sunniest bay in the Riverwalk, the fountain will provide a cooling effect in the summer heat. The fountain is formed by a series of long and gracious stairs that function as seating elements for accompanying parents and pedestrians looking for a place to relax. Concession space beneath Upper Wacker Drive in the arcade area will accommodate various retail uses.

The Jetty – Wells Street to Franklin Street

The Jetty is a place for educational observation along an urban river. It provides places for pedestrians to observe fish and learn about the river ecology. Piers support the extensive series of floating wetlands and water gardens. The spaces under the Wacker Drive arcade provide an extraordinary educational platform for local school groups.

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The Boardwalk – Franklin Street to Lake Street

The Boardwalk will again allow access from Upper Wacker Drive to the Riverwalk level. A gently sloping ramp will accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. The Boardwalk is the western anchor of the Riverwalk, it provides stunning views of the confluence of the three branches of the Chicago River. The landscaping in this bay will allow for a variety of uses and programing options.