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Chicago Riverwalk season opening celebration set for this Saturday

The festivities will include free architectural tours, music, and other outdoor activities

A waterfront with boats. There is a promenade with people. Along the promenade is a bridge and buildings. Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Though the 1.3-mile Chicago Riverwalk never entirely shuts down, the waterfront promenade will officially kick-off the arrival of the 2017 season this Saturday, May 20th, with a daylong public celebration. Perfectly coinciding with the return of warmer temperatures, the event will provide many Chicagoans and visitors a chance to explore the three new block-long segments or “rooms” that first opened late last year. The celebration will also preview the kind of public programming the Riverwalk will continue to offer through October.

Starting at 9:00 AM, Saturday’s event will feature a wide array of activities including fishing classes, boat rides, bridge raising demonstrations, and Chicago Architectural Foundation walking tours. The Riverwalk’s restaurants and concessioners will also be open for business and offering perks such as live music performances, face painting, and special pricing on food items like gelato. The day will culminate with a “pyrotechnic waterfall” show across from the so-called River Theatre segment between Clark and LaSalle streets. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Work to extend the Chicago Riverwalk along Wacker Drive from State Street westward to Lake Street began in 2015. The popular attraction was designed by local firm Ross Barney Architects and Massachusetts-based Sasaki Associates. The linear park has played a central role in Mayor Emanuel’s ambitious plan to transform the Chicago river into the Windy City’s next great recreational space.