Construction Update
Downtown’s Riverwalk River Theater

Chicago Riverwalk under construction

If Chicago construction workers are tough enough to work 50 stories up on an unfinished skyscraper in the middle of winter, then working down amid the ice chunks of the Chicago River should be a piece of cake, right? That appears to be the case as crews continue to expand the Chicago Riverwalk along the main branch of the river, in spite of snow, wind, and ice.

Our Daniel Schell walked by the construction site between North Clark and North LaSalle Streets to check on the progress of the riverwalk segment that will one day be known as The River Theater. He found no let-up in activity in spite of the foul weather.

The pictures show the magic formula: sloping plywood forms + concrete pouring equipment = amphitheater.

When complete, expect a wide staircase leading down from Upper Wacker Drive to a riverside promenade, and then further steps leading down to the water. Yes, Virginia, you might actually be able to kick off those heels and soak your steaming dogs in cool, refreshing Chicago River water. If you dare.

More importantly, it will provide a block-long access path to the Chicago Riverwalk. The Wacker Drive balustrade is going to be removed so that anyone can pop down on a whim instead of having to navigate a narrow staircase at the end of the block.

Location: Chicago River between Clark and LaSalle, The Loop


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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