Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long (1,010 m) pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is located in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. Navy Pier is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Midwest, with millions of visitors each year. It features a variety of attractions, including museums, parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The most notable feature of the pier is the Ferris wheel, which offers views of the city and lake. The pier also has a number of boat tours, including architectural cruises, dinner cruises, and fireworks cruises.
Things to do
There are many things to do at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. Some popular activities include:
- Riding the Ferris wheel: The 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel offers spectacular views of the city and lake.
- Visiting museums: Navy Pier is home to several museums, including the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
- Taking a boat tour: The pier offers a variety of boat tours, including architectural cruises, dinner cruises, and fireworks cruises.
- Shopping and dining: There are a variety of shops and restaurants at Navy Pier, offering a range of options for visitors.
- Enjoying entertainment: Navy Pier features a number of entertainment venues, including the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Polk Bros Performance Lawns.
- Visiting the gardens: The pier features several gardens and parks, including the Crystal Gardens and the Polk Bros Fountain.
- Experience the IMAX Theater, it is one of the largest IMAX screens in the world.
- Attend events and festivals throughout the year, like the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, the Chicago Air and Water Show, the Venetian Night and many more.
Know before you go
Here are some things to keep in mind before visiting Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois:
- Hours of operation: Navy Pier is open year-round, but hours of operation vary depending on the season. It’s best to check the website or call ahead to confirm the hours before visiting.
- Getting there: Navy Pier is easily accessible by car, public transportation, or bike. There is parking available, but it can be expensive. Alternatively, you can take a bus, train, or water taxi to get to the pier.
- Admission: Most of the attractions at Navy Pier are free to visit, but some require a ticket or have an admission fee. Be sure to check ahead of time if you’re planning to visit a specific attraction.
- Weather: Chicago’s weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the forecast and dress accordingly. In the summer, be prepared for heat and humidity, while in the winter, temperatures can drop below freezing and there may be snow and ice.
- Safety and security: Navy Pier is a safe and well-policed area, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.
- Accessibility:t Navy Pier is wheelchair-accessible and offers wheelchair rentals for visitors. Many of the attractions and venues have ramps, elevators, and other accessibility features.
- Food and drink: You’ll find a variety of dining options at Navy Pier, from quick-service restaurants to fine-dining establishments. It is also possible to bring your own food and drinks, but you are not allowed to bring your own alcohol.
- Restroom: There are public restrooms available throughout the pier.
- Be prepared to walk a lot as the pier is quite large and some areas are far from each other.
Near by attractions
There are many nearby attractions to visit near Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. Some popular options include:
- Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower): This iconic skyscraper offers stunning views of the city from its observation deck.
- Millennium Park: This popular park features public art, gardens, and the famous “Cloud Gate” sculpture.
- Art Institute of Chicago: This world-class art museum is home to a vast collection of art, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, and many other famous artists.
- The Loop: The Loop is Chicago’s central business district and is home to many shops, restaurants, and theaters.
- Wrigley Field: Home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Wrigley Field is a historic stadium that offers tours and special events throughout the year.
- Lincoln Park Zoo: This free zoo is home to a variety of animals and is a great place to visit for families with children.
- The Magnificent Mile: This famous street is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and other attractions, including Water Tower Place.
- Willis Tower Skydeck: This observation deck is located on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, offering a breathtaking view of the city.
- The Field Museum of Natural History: This museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world and is home to many unique exhibits and artifacts.
- Shedd Aquarium: This aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic animals, including fish, mammals, and reptiles, and offers a variety of interactive exhibits and shows.
How to reach
There are several ways to reach Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois:
- By car: Navy Pier is easily accessible by car, and there is parking available on-site. However, parking can be expensive, so it may be more cost-effective to park in a nearby garage or on the street.
- By public transportation: Navy Pier is also easily accessible by public transportation, with several bus and train options available. The CTA bus route (No. 29) and the CTA train (Red Line) both stop at the Grand Avenue stop, which is a short walk from Navy Pier.
- By bike: Navy Pier is accessible by bike and there are several Divvy bike-sharing stations nearby.
- By water taxi: Water taxis are also available to take visitors to and from Navy Pier. These are operated by several different companies, and they offer a unique and scenic way to reach the pier.
- By walking: If you are staying nearby and the weather is good, walking can also be an option.
It’s always a good idea to check the latest information regarding traffic, parking and public transportation schedule or any other changes, to plan your trip accordingly.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois depends on what you’re looking to do and see. Here are a few things to consider:
- Summer: Summer is the most popular time to visit Navy Pier, with warm weather and plenty of outdoor activities and events. The Navy Pier fireworks display on Wednesday and Saturday nights is a popular summer attraction.
- Spring and Fall: These seasons can be a great time to visit if you’re looking to avoid crowds and enjoy milder weather. The weather is usually comfortable and many flowers are in bloom.
- Winter: Winter can be a great time to visit if you’re looking for indoor activities and events, or if you want to see the pier decked out in holiday lights. However, be prepared for cold temperatures and the possibility of snow and ice.
- Weekdays: If you’re looking to avoid crowds, it’s best to visit on a weekday. The pier can get quite busy on weekends and holidays.
- Special events: If you’re interested in specific events or activities, check the Navy Pier calendar to see when they are taking place.
Overall, it’s best to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. During summer, it can get quite hot and humid so dress appropriately and bring sunscreen. While in the winter, the temperature can drop below freezing, so be prepared for the cold with warm clothing.