This may not be news, but at least on the weekends and holidays there is a $4 per person (3 years old +) water taxi that leaves from under the new Trump Tower (old Sun-Times building) downtown and goes to Chinatown every half hour. Here's their site. The little yellow boat gives you great views of the city, the headquarters of an unknown evil genius at 301 Taylor, the giant field and scrubland that ought to be a park near River City, and gets you to a fun place and back quickly. Or from a fun place to the center of town. We are always happy to find another way to get around the city and this one is really fun for everybody in the family. And you can take your bikes!
It arrives at Ping Tom Park, a short walk from the center of the neighborhood, and one of our favorite playgrounds. (but no bathrooms, though there is one on the boat.) The kids love Ping Tom park not only for the playground but also for the steel shelter pictured below, and for the Amtrak and freight and Orange Line trains in 3 directions, several drawbridges, the river you could just fall into since there's no railing, and the pleasure boats that zoom back and forth on the river. The best days to be there might be early and late in the boating season, as people bring their watercraft out from, or back to, the storage drydocks where they spend the winter. The bridges are in constant motion then. Once you are in Ping Tom park you walk across the freight tracks to the street, turn right and follow along to the Chinatown Square mall, which is probably the most fun destination in the neighborhood. To get to the older part, go straight out from Ping Tom to Wentworth street and turn right, go down 2 blocks to the second stoplight.
There aren't many seats on the outside deck. For an extra $2 you can ride back and forth all day snapping photos. There are a couple of other stops: Madison Street at Union Station, and Lasalle Street near the Merchandise Mart.Best of all, you can take your bikes! Downtown, it's the next dock west of Wendella Tours, and you can ride directly there on the lower roads (Kinzie, Hubbard, North Water, Michigan) to avoid the stairs from street level. There's still a short staircase down to the boat, so you might not be able to do this with a cargo bike.