Skip to contents

The Riverwalk Reopens Friday — But With Strict Rules For Social Distancing

The Riverwalk has reopened, but you'll need reservations to visit restaurants — and attendants at entrances will make sure you have them.

The Riverwalk.
David Matthews/DNAinfo Chicago
  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — The Chicago Riverwalk reopened Friday, but with restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

People will be able to exercise on the path, eat at open restaurants and take sightseeing cruises — but only during set hours and with reservations, according to a city press release. Reservations will be required for people who want to eat at the Riverwalk’s open restaurants or visit its other vendors.

The popular Downtown path will be open 5-10 a.m. for people to run, jog, walk and ride their bikes between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Street. The Riverwalk will close at 10 a.m. for cleaning but reopen 11 a.m.-9 p.m. for people to visit its shops and restaurants.

There will also be set “passive recreation areas” for people who want to spend time outside on the path, according to the city.

The Riverwalk will be accessible through limited points at Lake Street and ramps between Franklin and Lake streets and State and Columbus streets. Attendants will guard the entrances, confirming people have reservations and counting the people going in and out to ensure capacity is not exceeded, according to the city.

“Riverwalk ambassadors” will also walk the path, ensuring people maintain social distancing, according to the city.

The Riverwalk will be blocked at the bridges between LaSalle and Columbus, and people will need to use stairways to keep going.

Restaurants, shops and other vendors will open in phases. People should check the business’s website for details on if they’re open, according to the city.

Vendors open Friday:

  • Tiny Tapp & Cafe by West Dearborn Street
  • City Winery by East Dearborn Street
  • Chicago Brewhouse by the West Wabash stairway
  • Beat Kitchen and Community Marketplace by West Michigan Avenue
  • Chicago’s First Lady and Mercury Sightseeing Cruises by East Michigan Avenue
  • Urban Kayaks, Island Party, the Northman by Columbus
  • O’Briens’s Riverwalk Calfe by East Wabash

Passive recreation areas:

  • Lake and LaSalle streets
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Michigan Plaza
  • Columbus Plaza
  • Sweet Home Gelate by West LaSalle Street

The Riverwalk has been closed since March 26, when officials shut down the path — as well as the Lakefront Trail and the 606. Those two popular trails remain closed, though Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said the city is looking at how to reopen them.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.