By Ladan Nikravan
A 50-acre playground of music, museums, rides, restaurants and shops, Navy Pier is the perfect place for some fun any day of the week for all ages. There’s never a shortage of things to do year-round. To see it all could take a couple days, but here’s a quick guide to a few of the Pier’s must-see spots:
Take a ride on the iconic 15-story Ferris wheel. The 150-foot high wheel, created in 1995 and modeled after the world’s very first Ferris wheel constructed for Chicago’s 1893 World Columbian Exposition, is open year-round, weather permitting. Catch a ride for amazing views of the entire city and fantastic photo opportunities! Tickets are $7 and can be purchased online.
Catch a show. Navy Pier’s IMAX showcases both 2D and 3D films including documentaries and Hollywood blockbusters. If that’s too modern for you, Chicago Shakespeare Theater has staged what are arguably the finest Shakespeare productions in town. These offerings, buttressed by state-of-the-art technical design, showcase some of the finest Shakespearean actors in the Midwest.
Visit three floors of hands-on fun at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Children 10 and under can climb on a ship, hide in a treehouse, construct a building, invent a flying machine, dam up a river, drive a fire truck, make art to take home and so much more. Check out the free dates to visit!
Experience one of the cruise boat rides departing from Navy Pier’s South Dock. A wide range of vessels offers visitors everything from elegant dinner cruises that include dancing and live entertainment to speedboat rides along Lake Michigan and water taxi rides between lakefront attractions.
Grab a bite to eat. The majority of the restaurants at Navy Pier are located right at the front in the Family Pavilion. You’ll find restaurants with themes inspired by the early Legends of Jazz, Southern Creole and your neighborhood saloon. There are also plenty of fast food choices for visitors on the go.
Kick back and enjoy your favorite form of entertainment at the Pepsi Skyline Stage, Dock Street Stage, Landshark Beer Garden or Family Pavilion Stage, many of which are complimentary. Navy Pier produces hundreds of free shows, concerts and special events for all ages featuring The Buccaneer Pirates, Navy Pier’s mascot Patch, jugglers, magicians, marching bands, as well as cultural groups performing music and dance from around the globe. And don’t forget the fireworks show on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer months!