Party Earth Review Self-dubbed Chicago’s “lakefront playground,” Navy Pier is one of the city’s busiest tourist destinations, entertaining nearly nine million visitors a year with a plethora of amusement park rides, theaters, boat cruises... ... read full review
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Red Line: Grand
M–Th, Su 10am–10pm, F–Sa 10am–midnight (Friday before Memorial Day–Labor Day)
M–Th, Su 10am–8pm, F–Sa 10am–10pm (Tuesday after Labor Day–Oct 31 and April 1–Thursday before Memorial Day)
M–Th 10am–8pm, F–Sa 10am–10pm, Su 10am–7pm (Nov 1–March 31)
Streeterville, Chicago –
Self-dubbed Chicago’s “lakefront playground,” Navy Pier is one of the city’s busiest tourist destinations, entertaining nearly nine million visitors a year with a plethora of amusement park rides, theaters, boat cruises, and beer gardens.
Jutting out a half mile into Lake Michigan, the Pier is busiest during the summer when it fills to the brim with young college types showing off their bathing suit bodies and fun-loving girlfriends clamoring to book a cruise on the lake.
Cubs fans chill out at baseball shrine Harry Caray’s Tavern early in the afternoon, or join the throngs of young professionals who flood LandShark Beer Garden after work for steins of beer and live music.
An old-fashioned Ferris wheel is the area’s most recognizable icon, though it fights for skyline views with the tethered Aeroballoon that carries passengers three hundred and fifty feet into the air.
Dozens of shops line the main promenade, selling everything from handmade jewelry to tourist kitsch, while culture buffs can choose from several movie and theater options, from Hollywood blockbusters at the IMAX to classics at the renowned Shakespeare Theater and major performances at the Pepsi Skyline Stage.
For dinner, drinks, or a summer day of outdoor fun, Navy Pier’s fifty acres of attractions promise a year-round escape from the real world.
Fraternity and sorority types, fun-loving college students, Midwestern families, beachgoers, escapists, and a sprinkling of artsy types, all ages.
Amusement park with Ferris wheel and other rides.
Funhouse and maze.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Various shows and live performances on the Skyline Stage, Pavilion Stage, and Dock Street Stage.
Lake and river cruises, as well as dinner cruises.
Fireworks in the summer every Wednesday and Saturday night.
Various art installations.
Air and Water Show in August.
Numerous events throughout the summer. Check the online calendar for a schedule.
See www.chicagoshakes.com for details and pricing for Shakespeare Theater.
Several bars and restaurants along the Pier, including Harry Caray’s Tavern, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and the LandShark Beer Garden.
Pier admission, summer fireworks, and shows on the smaller stages are free. Amusement park tickets for single and multiple rides $5–$15. Amazing Chicago Funhouse $7–$11. IMAX tickets $13–$20 depending on movie.
Boat cruises generally $20–$40/person, more for dinner cruises. Shakespeare Theater tickets usually $20+ depending on the show.
Casual: shorts, cutoffs, t-shirts, tank tops, baseball caps, flip-flops, sandals.
Any nice day or night in the summer.
Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) offers more shopping and restaurants, as well as excellent city views from the John Hancock Observatory (875 North Michigan Avenue).