Chicago Navy Pier On The City Lakefront From Chicago Traveler

Chicago Navy Pier

Long one of Chicago's most popular attractions, Navy Pier continues to offer a great variety of activities on the Pier including dining and entertainment options, as well as being a hub for a number of tour boats, on which you can see Chicago from the Lake.
See our feature article, A Visitor Guide to Navy Pier Chicago.

Top 10 Things to Do at Navy Pier

  1. Ride the Ferris wheel. This might seem a bit cliched, but riding the ferris wheel in Navy Pier is something of a magical experience, especially if you go at night. See the famous Chicago skyline all lit-up and sparkling across the water from one of the best vantage points in the Windy City.
  2. Explore the Smith Museum of the Stained Glass Window. This hidden gem is something of quiet surprise compared to the chaos that dominated the rest of Navy Pier. Check out works by Henry Louis Comfort-Tiffany as well as several religious installations from churches that have been shut down; another perk is that this museum is free!
  3. Take the kids to the Chicago Children’s Museum. For a completely interactive, fun and educational experience, young kids will love this hands-on museum. Watch as they have a blast creating an art project or climbing on the indoor jungle gym.
  4. Catch a play at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. This seven-story theater on the pier stages plays by the bard year-round, as well as other dramas and comedies. There is also a Shakespeare resource center and British style pub here as well.
  5. Cruise through Lake Michigan. Tons of cruises depart from Navy Pier, and taking in all of the hustle and bustle from the water is just another great way to experience the area.
  6. Take in the Chicago sunshine at the Landshark Beer Garden. This seasonal outdoor beer garden is a fantastic way to sip a cold one and bask in the warm spring or summer weather.
  7. See a movie at the Imax Movie Theatre. Seeing a movie on an IMAX screen is like nothing else, so definitely fit a screening in when you need a chance to rest your feet after all of the walking.
  8. Chow down on some grub. Navy Pier is a full amusement park/carnival experience, and which of those would be complete without indulging in some delicious junk food? Cotton candy, hot dogs, hamburgers, you name it, Navy Pier has something to eat for everyone.
  9. Play a round of miniature golf. There are tons of fun games to choose from on the pier, but miniature golf is a fantastic way to relax with friends and family while having fun and taking in the experience.
  10. Cap off your day with a spectacular firework show. The standout attraction of Navy Pier has to be the awe-inspiring fireworks shows, which are offered all year-round so there is no excuse not to fit a show in on your next trip to Chicago.

Navy Pier Information

Navy Pier was originally built in 1916 to serve Lake Michigan freighters and provide transportation to other cities on the Great Lakes, as well as for recreational purposes. In 1941, Navy Pier was converted to military use and used throughout World War II. From 1946 to 1964, it was a college campus. After a lull in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Navy Pier was revitalized and, today, it is a multi-million dollar convention, cultural and recreation center and Chicago’s most visited attraction.

Navy Pier features a number of attractions for visitors and locals alike. Reminiscent of Chicago’s 1893 World Colombian Exposition, the most visible feature of Navy Pier is its 150-foot Ferris wheel. Close by is the musical carousel, painted with historical depictions of the pier. Pier Park features an 18-hole Chicago-themed miniature golf course and a cliff climbing structure. Some of the indoor attractions include a 15-minute walk through Funhouse Maze and the Chicago Children’s Museum. Navy Pier is home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, with its 500-seat courtyard theater and 200-seat flexible black box theater. There is also an IMAX theater on Navy Pier, with a 6-story flat movie screen featuring 2D and 3D films. The Smith Museum of Stained Glass windows is a permanent display of 150 stained glass windows housed in an 800-ft.-long series of galleries along the lower level terraces of Festival Hall. Continue reading...

Chicago Travel Info

Chicago Cruises

Cruise Info Price
Odyssey Cruises Located in Navy Pier Alcohol ServedAppetizersBrunchoffoffoffoffCorporate EventsDancingDining PackagesDinnerDJFireworksoffoffLunchoffoffPrivate PartiesoffWeddings

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$44 - $130 Details
Seadog Cruises Located in Navy Pier offoffoffoffBYOBoffoffoffoffoffoffoffFireworksoffoffoffoffPet FriendlyPrivate Partiesoffoff

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$19- $36 Details
Spirit of Chicago Cruises Located in Navy Pier Alcohol ServedAppetizersBrunchBuffetoffoffoffCorporate EventsDancingoffDinnerDJFireworksoffoffLunchoffoffPrivate Partiesoffoff

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$39- $100 Details
Shoreline Water Taxi Located in Navy Pier offoffoffoffoffoffoffCorporate EventsoffoffoffoffoffoffoffoffoffoffPrivate Partiesoffoff

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$3 - $8 Details
Shoreline Skyline Lake Cruise Located in Navy Pier Alcohol ServedAppetizersoffoffoffoffConcessionsoffoffoffoffoffFireworksoffoffoffoffPet FriendlyPrivate Partiesoffoff

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$8.00 - $18.00 Details
Shoreline Architecture Tours Located in Navy Pier Alcohol ServedoffoffoffoffoffConcessionsoffoffoffoffoffFireworksoffoffoffoffoffPrivate Partiesoffoff

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$26.00 - $39.00 Details
Valara VI - Luxury Yacht Located in Near South Alcohol ServedAppetizersoffoffoffoffoffCorporate EventsDancingDining PackagesDinneroffFireworksoffoffoffoffoffPrivate PartiesoffWeddings

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$45- $107 per person Details
Mystic Blue Cruises Located in Navy Pier Alcohol ServedAppetizersoffBuffetoffoffoffCorporate EventsDancingDining PackagesDinnerDJFireworksoffoffLunchoffoffPrivate PartiesoffWeddings

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$39.00-$100.00 Details
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Chicago Attactions

Venue Info Location
Bobby's Tike Hike Located in Streeterville
View 1 Promo for this attraction -
 
ActiveFamily FriendlySights of ChicagoScenic

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Interior Architecture Tour Located in The Loop ActiveCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricSights of ChicagoScenic

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Willis Tower Located in The Loop Sights of Chicago

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4.125
2 Reviews
Children's Museum Located in Gold Coast ArtsyCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Chicago Museum Located in Gold Coast ArtsyCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Chicago Hotels Near The Navy Pier

$800
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Hotel Info Nightly Rates*
MileNorth, A Chicago Hotel
4
Located in Gold Coast
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Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

Rates Starting At

$229* Details
Ivy Hotel
4
Located in Gold Coast
Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

Rates Starting At

$319* Details
Avenue Crowne Plaza
4
Located in Gold Coast
Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

Rates Starting At

$239* Details
Allerton Hotel Chicago
4
Located in Gold Coast
Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

Rates Starting At

$281 you pay $179* Details
Doubletree Magnificent
3.5
Located in Gold Coast
Bar/LoungeBusiness ServicesConciergeFitness CenterFree InternetLakesidePet-FriendlyBusiness Center

Rates Starting At

$209* Details
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Save Big at Navy Pier and Chicago Attractions

Venue Info Location
Go Chicago Card Located in The Loop Sights of Chicago

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Chicago Pass to the City Located in The Loop MuseumSights of Chicago

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Chicago Museum Pass Located in Grant Park ArtsyGrant ParkCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Museum Campus Pass Located in Grant Park Grant ParkCulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricMuseumSights of Chicago

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Chicago Family Fun Pass Located in The Loop Family FriendlyHoliday FunMuseumSights of Chicago

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Best of Chicago Pass Located in The Loop ActiveCulturalFamily FriendlyMuseumSights of ChicagoScenic

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Chicago Kid's Pass

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Huge Savings Chicago
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Chicago Art & Architecture Located in The Loop CulturalFamily FriendlyHistoricHoliday FunMuseumSights of Chicago

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*Terms & Conditions: Offers, promotions and rates subject to change and may vary based upon date, length of stay and other factors. Some offers do not include taxes and fees. All offers based on availability and are subject to change without notice.

Navy Pier has two performance stages. From May through October, top local bands perform free shows for the public on the Bud Light Stage. The Skyline Stage is a 1,500-seat theater featuring a variety of musical and theatrical performances May through September – check Navy Pier’s website for upcoming shows and ticket information.

Boat tours range from extravagant dinner cruises along the lakefront to choppy speed-boat rides. You may even see a wedding aboard one of the ships! See our tours section for more information on cruise choices.

There are a number of shops at Navy Pier, with a variety of unique specialty items and Chicago souvenirs. Restaurants near Navy Pier range from concession stands to a food court to fine restaurants.

Navy Pier also serves as a convention center, accommodating medium-sized trade shows with 170,000 square feet of exhibition space in Festival Hall and 36 meeting rooms. Crystal Gardens is a one-acre tropical paradise with over 70 full-size palm trees and a variety of seasonal plants and flowers. Private parties and corporate events are held here.

The lakefront is a wonderful place to bike ride or skate - you can rent bikes or skates at Bike Chicago, located at the pier. And when you need a break from all the activity, Navy Pier is a great place to just sit and people-watch.  For a complete review of it configuration and content, see the Overview of Navy Pier.

Get answers to your questions on the Navy Pier Frequently Asked Questions Page.

Navy Pier Events

Check out the Hottest Current Navy Pier Events. New!

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Navy Pier Attractions

Aeroballoon Chicago (End of May to Labor Day) New!
See the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan From the Air. Floating 350 feet above Navy Pier! Float in silence 35 stories into the air on the Navy Pier AeroBalloon, an anchored, helium-filled, state of the art balloon. The balloon will carry up to 17 passengers at a time for spectacular 360-degree panoramas of a bustling downtown Chicago and a horizon-bending view of Lake Michigan. Fun for the whole family!

Bike Chicago Rentals & Tours
Navy Pier, North Ave. Beach, Millennium Park
312-595-9600 info@bikechicago.com
Chicago’s #1 Bicycle Rental & Tours Company Since 1993.Chicago’s lakefront is a biking paradise! Over 18 miles of lakefront trails make it easy and safe to ride in Chicago. The bike rental shops are conveniently located along the trail at Navy Pier, Chicago’s #1 destination and North Ave. Beach, Chicago’s hottest Beach. Bike Chicago Rentals & Tours accommodates individuals as well as large groups. Over 200 bikes and skates to choose from. Helmets and locks are free! Guided tours depart daily from Navy Pier at 10:30am, 1:30pm and from North Ave. Beach at 11:00am and 2:00 pm. Open daily from 8:00am until 10:00pm April 1st through October 31st. For reservations and group sales call 312-595-9600.

Navy Pier Popular Hotel Suggestions

Try one of our recommended hotels:

or Choose from the hotels offered below:

See our article, A Visitor Guide to Navy Pier Chicago.

Navy Pier Web Site

Check out the following links to content on the Navy Pier web site at http://www.navypier.com