The Navy Pier is a must-stop landmark in Chicago. It’s an institution in the city that opened to the public in 1916 and has been delighting visitors ever since. Located nearby Lake Michigan, the beautiful views are just one of the many things to love about the pier.
Arts, Culture, And Entertainment
Several of the city’s most popular cultural attractions live here, including the Chicago Children’s Museum, Crystal Gardens (an indoor botanical garden), and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. There’s no shortage of outdoor entertainment either. The pier hosts frequent events like DJ sets, live concerts, and outdoor movies in the summertime. From May through October, the Miller Lite Beer Garden offers the perfect place to meet friends, kick back, and socialize. You can even get exercise in, with one of the rush-hour workout or sunset yoga sessions. They are held during the week when the weather cooperates. Public art exhibitions and installations enhance the space and inspire.
Bring your appetite! There are a number of excellent eateries offering all different types of cuisine. The Billy Goat Tavern, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar are ideal for casual meals, while Riva Crab House and Tiny Tavern step things up a notch with slightly more sophisticated eats. Save room for dessert a Brown Sugar Bakery, The Original Rainbow Cone, or Xurro. If you’re a serious foodie, there’s actually a Signature Food Tour that provides a great overview of the local fare, as well as some dining cruises that combine delicious food with dazzling views.
Speaking of views, you won’t want to miss the photo-ops from the Centennial Wheel, an old-fashioned ferris wheel that is perfect for kids, couples, and the young at heart. More fun can be found at the carousel, Pepsi Wave Swinger, and Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse. There’s even an IMAX Theatre for those looking for a break on a rainy—or super-hot—day.
Many Chicago-focused gift shops and stores feature souvenirs from local artisans, so they’re the ideal place to grab a Windy City souvenir.
Admission and Getting There
The pier is free to visit anytime and open all year round, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. It’s accessible via car, public transportation (Metra), trolley, and water taxi.