Stretching more than 3,000 feet from Lake Michigan’s shoreline, Navy Pier is Chicago’s premiere tourist attraction. It encompasses more than 50 acres of parks, shops, gardens, restaurants, and family attractions in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood.
Crowd favorites like the Pepsi Wave Swinger, Remote Control Boats, Carousel, and Light Tower Ride keep visitors coming back every year. The Chicago Children’s Museum and Chicago Shakespeare Theater are both part of the Pier, as well, so there is truly something for everyone.
Not to Miss at Navy Pier
For the full Navy Pier experience, be sure to check all of the below attractions off of your list.
- Pier Park is Navy Pier’s year-round amusement park, complete with the famous Centennial Wheel. Additionally, enjoy the Virtual Rush VR experience, an outdoor climbing wall, the Pepsi Wave Swinger ride, the Navy Pier Carousel, and the thrilling Light Tower.
- There are an array boat tours that take off from Navy Pier, from elegant dinner cruises to upscale private charters and exciting thrill rides. The architectural cruise is with Shoreline Sightseeing. Lake Cruises are done by Odyssey Cruises, Spirit of Chicago and Shoreline Sightseeing. For a unique lake experience, try out Tall Ship Windy or Seadog Jet Boats.
- Crystal Gardens is a one-acre botanical garden on the pier, housed in a six-story glass atrium with a 50-foot arched ceiling. You’ll find more than 80 live palm trees, lush foliage, and dancing fountains.
- Catch a movie at the AMC Navy Pier IMAX Theater, with its deep sharp sound and 3D capabilities.
- Take a Bike or Segway Tour with Bike and Roll. Nearby Bobby’s Bike Hike offers lots of option too.
- The Chicago Children’s Museum is a great place for young ones to explore. Take a dinosaur expedition, and scale a three-story schooner. Out front, the Polk Bros. Fountain offers interactive water fun in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
Navy Pier Amenities
Hungry? There are dozens of eateries on Navy Pier as well as an array of seasonal kiosks. Here are some of our favorites:
- Offshore Rooftop and Bar, the largest rooftop deck in the country, is an all-weather venue offering a beautiful view as well as a world-class culinary experience.
- For casual fare, enjoy satellite locations of Billy Goat Tavern, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Giordano’s, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
- Grab a quick bite at counter service restaurants, including Chicago staples like Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice, Garrett Popcorn Shops, and Snow Dragon Shavery.
- Open May through October, enjoy a brew in the Miller Lite Beer Garden. As well as American eats and drinks, you’ll get free live, outdoor music throughout the season.
Find the perfect souvenir to take home from one of many Navy Pier on-site shops, stores and kiosks. We’ve listed some visitor favorites:
- 77 Flavors Chicago sells authentic Windy City ingredients and foods, inspired by Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.
- Chicago Sport & Novelty sells everything you need to root for the home team.
- Fashion Bazaar lives up to its name with everything you can think of in the category of women’s clothing, accessories, and tapestries.
There are several ADA accessible locations throughout the pier, and there is no fee to rent a wheelchair. Visit the Guest Experience front desk at the main west entrance of the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion.
Additionally, families with young children or anyone with a disability should download Navy Pier’s Sensory Friendly App from the Apple App Store or Google Play. There, you can create your own schedule, plat the Navy Pier matching game, and find insider tips.
Navy Pier Nearby Attractions
Addams Park, Milton Lee Olive and Polk Bros Park make up the doorstep to Navy Pier. Also located close by is Ohio Street Beach. The Nearest Chicago Hotels is the Lakeshore W Hotel. Loews Chicago and The Sheraton Grand are nearby too.
Getting to Navy Pier
It’s very easy to get to Navy Pier view public transportation. Five bus lines (#29 State, #65 Grand, #66 Chicago, #124 Navy Pier, and #2 Hyde Park Express) serve Navy Pier daily. Additionally, you can take the Metra commuter rail and transfer to a direct bus stop. If you are already in River North there is a free seasonal trolley.
If you prefer to drive, parking is easy with two on-site garages. You’ll find parking pay stations throughout the pier, so you can easily pay before you exit either the West or East Garage.
When to Visit Navy Pier
There is no admission fee for Navy Pier, but hours vary throughout the year. In peak season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), the pier is open Sunday through Thursday 10am to 10pm, and 10am to midnight on weekends.
To avoid the largest crowds, do not visit on holiday weekends. Tuesdays are a great day to visit as they have additional “Piertastic” discounts.
Navy Pier Insider Tips
Before your trip, visit navypier.org to see if there are any special promotions. Book there to nab a discount on cruises. You can also print a Navy Pier VIP card to receive a coupon book with discounts on Navy Pier attractions, restaurants and shops.
If you want to enjoy multiple rides and Navy Pier attractions, consider a bulk discount pass like Go Chicago Card. Its good at the rides as well at some lake tours and architectural cruises.