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Chicago Riverwalk Officially Opens On Saturday With Daylong Blowout

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on May 18, 2017 7:45PM

The Chicago Riverwalk is finally ready for its closeup. After the full stretch of the promenade was completed last year, Saturday will mark the official coming-out party for the 1.25-mile walkway—and the city has a blowout plan to match.

The daylong celebration extends from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers some pretty eye-grabbing options, including kayaking, the dragon boat race, large-scale fish puppets and a "pyrotechnic waterfall."

"The Chicago Riverwalk is a destination in the heart of the city that has created an open, artful pedestrian waterfront spanning nine blocks along the south bank of the Chicago River," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement last month. "Offering dramatic views of our city’s iconic architecture and bridges, this ‘river canyon’ along with bustling bars and restaurants, boating, live music and public art offers a uniquely-Chicago experience."

Given the Saturday extravaganza and Rahm's quote—not to mention the $100-plus million price tag, or his urban waterway development mayoral forum earlier this year—there's not much doubt that the mayor posits the Riverwalk as a potential legacy project. Truth is, it also happens to look pretty spectacular, and it's shaped up to be the kind of attraction that we're happy to have, especially come the summer months.

As for other options on the docket Saturday, admission to the early-morning river cruise, courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, is sadly all gobbled up, but there's also a canine cruise, where owners bring their pups for a 90-minute boat rise; a free hourlong architecture walking tour; March of the Fish (the aforementioned puppet brigade); fishing at the jetty, at Franklin and Wells Streets; and live music at various restaurants and cafes along the Walk.