New, improved Riverwalk is open for business
(Published June 30, 2019)
By Jesse Wright
The city’s renovated Riverwalk is open, and although some renovations continue, the scenic spot is a hotspot for both visitors and locals alike.
Among the improvements the Riverwalk now offers more greenspace, a walking path closer to the river and a community marketspace.
Two longtime Chicago Architecture Center tour directors praised the work.
“It’s gorgeous,” said Lorie Westerman, a CAC docent. “And it’ll be even better when it’s finished.”
“I like the amphitheater and the River Theater,” said Robin Bauer.
Westerman echoed Bauer, and noted the amphitheater is a very popular spot to sit down and relax.
“One day on a recent tour, when we got done, I noticed people were sitting arm to arm at the amphitheater,” Westerman noted. “It’s very popular.
One of the more ambitious additions to the Riverwalk is a marketspace. The Riverwalk has long featured businesses and restaurants but this space is intended to highlight women and minority-owned vendors. The vendors are selling food and drinks and the small kiosks are set up between Wabash and Michigan avenues.
These vendors have a six-month contract to sell at the Riverwalk. In addition, Lakeview’s Beat Kitchen has a three-year lease to operate under the staircase of the Michigan Avenue bridge.
According to the city, vendors are intending to make tourists aware of Chicago neighborhoods they can visit during their trip.
Visitors and locals can get a free, guided one-hour tour of the Riverwalk Thursday through Sunday. Anyone interested must meet at the Bridgehouse Museum Plaza at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The walks are first-come, first-served.