Water taxis are a poor man’s boat cruise. Boat cruises on Lake Michigan in Chicago start around $30 and go well up over $100 depending on the day, type of cruise, and cruise line. Water taxis on the other hand start around $2 and cap out around $8 for a single trip.
There are water taxis that operate on Lake Michigan, and water taxis that operate on the Chicago River. The longest water taxi trip on Lake Michigan takes you from the Navy Pier to the Museum Campus; the two mile trip with Shoreline Water Taxi will cost you $8. The longest Chicago River route is three miles and will take you from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown; that route is offered by the Chicago Water Taxi company and will cost you $5.
Water taxis operate only during certain times of the year depending on the water taxi company, the route, and the weather, therefore, it is best to check the water taxi companies' web-sites to confirm whether they will be running.
***Keep in mind that prices periodically change, and routes could too, so please confirm all details when making plans.***