Chicago Riverwalk reopens today to residents and visitors

Chicago’s Riverwalk reopens today

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced that the City is reopening its ever-popular Chicago Riverwalk for the use of residents and visitors. Starting today, the City will begin a phased-in approach to vendor reopening, allowing for full service by the end of May.

In accordance with guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), social distancing and face covering measures will be required at all vendors as they return to the Riverwalk.  

“The Riverwalk is not only an important part of our city’s economic engine, but it also adds to the liveliness of our iconic summers,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “That’s why I am especially thrilled to announce its concessions program is reopening earlier than any other previous season. This reopening serves as yet another indicator of our city’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we look forward to making this Chicago staple available to residents and visitors this spring and summer.”  

Throughout the pandemic, the Riverwalk has provided a much-needed outdoor space for Chicagoans to connect to nature walking along the path, resting in one of the many seating areas and enjoying the public art installations. Vendors in the concession program will start operating in phases with Island Party Hut, Beat Kitchen on the River and City Winery reopening on April 9. In the subsequent weeks, the following vendors will reopen on a weekly/bi-weekly basis: 

  • Northman Beer & Cider Garden 
  • Chicago Brewhouse  
  • Tiny Tapp & Café  
  • Mercury Cruise lines & Chicago’s First Lady Cruises 
  • Downtown Docks 
  • Chicago Electric Boats  
  • Chicago Cycleboats 
  • Sweet Home Gelato 
  • O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café  
  • Urban Kayaks 

Also, Pier 31 on the Riverwalk will begin operations for the first time this May. To view the full reopening schedule and list of participating vendors, please visit


“The Riverwalk is one of the largest public spaces maintained by the Department of Assets, Information and Services, and we are thrilled today to announce the concessions program reopening for the summer and welcome back our concessionaires, including a new vendor, Pier 31 on the Riverwalk,” said David Reynolds, Commissioner of AIS. “City trades including, electricians, plumbers, laborers, carpenters have been on site prepping the Riverwalk for the busy season ahead.” Additionally, guests are encouraged to visit the Community Marketplace, which will also be reopening this May. Building on the Riverwalk’s successful concession program, the Community Marketplace was constructed in 2019 to expand the program to minority- and women-owned businesses representing the cultural diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods. 

“City Winery is thrilled to be able to provide a place for people to gather safely to enjoy a glass of wine and a meal with incredible views,” said Nick Ray of City Winery. “We remain committed to the safety of our guests and our staff and we can’t wait to welcome them back to the Riverwalk.” 

“We are very excited to be reopening on the Riverwalk,” said Kevin Vaughn, owner of the Chicago Brewhouse on the Riverwalk. “Our awesome team looks forward to serving great Chicago made beverages and Chicago themed food in a socially distanced safe environment.” 

Following current CDPH guidelines, patrons must be six feet apart, groups will be limited to 10 people, patrons must remain seated, face coverings are required except for when actively eating or drinking and employees must wear face coverings at all times. Reservations are not required, but strongly recommend because of the limited seating.   

The Chicago Riverwalk provides a 1.25-mile continuous path along the Main Branch of the Chicago River from Lake Street to the Lakefront. The path is open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day.

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