Get your cruise on this spring and summer in Chicago: Take Fido, take photos or take your American Girl doll

Canine lovers who enjoy traveling with their dogs in tow have an unusual new getaway option in the Windy City: a Sunday cruise on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan that’s open to all well-behaved and leashed canines. During the 90-minute Mercury Canine Cruise, Fido, Zoey and their friends will find large bowls of fresh water and a newspaper-lined restroom. Their owners, meanwhile, may listen to lively narration about dog-friendly Chicago.

Afterward, passengers and their pets are invited to the canine-friendly Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue, where fresh water and savory treats will be available throughout the shopping center.

The dog cruising season launches at 7 p.m., June 27 with an annual benefit for The Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago. Dogs cruise free; tickets for their handlers (and other humans) are $35. The regular Canine Cruise schedule is 10 a.m. each Sunday, July 7-Sept. 29. Tickets are $7.34 (plus city tax) for dogs, $26.61 (plus city tax) for adults, $10.09 (plus city tax) for children under 12. Kids under 3 are free. Tickets go on sale at 8:30 a.m. each Sunday, or buy your tickets online at

But don’t feel left out if you don’t have a dog. Among the Windy City’s other new and popular excursions are the “Capture Chicago” photography cruise, an American Girl Dinner & Cruise (dolls ride free) and, on Fridays, the “Wacky Pirate Cruise” with Buccaneer Bob ( There’s also a “Chicago by Night!” tour featuring free neon light wands for each guest.

Operated by Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruiseline and Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, the popular sightseeing boats take to the water April 29 and run through Oct. 7; some of the specialty cruises operate summer months only. Boats depart from a dock on Chicago’s Riverwalk at the lower level and southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Wacker Drive.

For schedules and prices, check and

Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide," and is the copy editor for She also has written for websites including and