You can’t truly experience Chicago without a trip to Navy Pier. This 50-acre playground showcases music, theater, museums. Not leaving out the restaurants, bars, shops and even the ferris wheel are all on the breathtaking lakefront.
Centennial Wheel & Pier Park
First on the list of attractions is a trip to Pier Park. Navy Pier’s Centennial Wheel is an iconic part of the Chicago skyline. And also a treasured piece of Chicago cultural history. Soaring to heights of nearly 200 feet. The Wheel offers visitors unparalleled, 360-degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan, and is open year-round, weather permitting. This is equally thanks to enclosed gondolas. Illinois residents, you can thus plan your visit on Mondays between November 1 and March 31 to take advantage of special seasonal pricing. Also, on select Wednesdays, rides are offered for free.
Also check out the whimsical musical carousel, Wave Swinger lift-and-twirl ride, miniature golf course, remote control boats, and more.
Chicago Children’s Museum
Next, grab the kids and explore the educational wonders of the Chicago Children’s Museum. Also discover dozens of lively interactive exhibits. Such as BIG Backyard, Dinosaur Expedition, Inventing Lab, and the Kovler Family Climbing Schooner. And then lose yourselves in Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze, where you’ll be entertained by the Mirror Maze, Spinning Tunnel, and more. Navy Pier.
AMC IMAX THEATRE
Furthermore, Images of immense size and striking clarity appear on towering screens, augmented with deep, sharp sound that lets you feel every vibration. IMAX is also an incredibly immersive, truly enthralling moviegoing experience. Check out the latest show schedule.
Cruises & Tours
During the warmer months, it’s boating season at the Pier. Board one of the many sightseeing and dining boat cruises lined up along the waterfront, from Seadog and Shoreline to The Odyssey. The views of Navy Pier and the Chicago skyline are unmissable. Plus evening cruises have the added bonus of an amazing vantage point from which to watch Navy Pier’s fireworks displays…Navy Pier
In addition to architecture and sightseeing cruises and brunch, lunch and dinner cruises, you can take Big Bus Tours, Bike and Roll Tours and Speedboat Tours. Pick your pace and start sightseeing!
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
The Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier has been recognized with the Regional Theater Tony Award, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards. In 2017, the Theater unveiled The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, with an innovative design that will change the shape of theater-making. Together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard positions CST as one of the city’s largest and most versatile performing arts venue.
Crystal Gardens – Navy Pier
The Crystal Gardens is a beautiful indoor, one‐acre, botanical garden. The six‐story glass atrium with a 50-foot arched ceiling holds more than 80 live palm trees, lush foliage, hanging twinkle lights and dancing leapfrog fountains. The Crystal Gardens offer beautiful views of the lakefront, Chicago skyline and Centennial Wheel (located on Navy Pier’s second level).
Miller Lite Beer Garden
Equally from May through October, the Miller Lite Beer Garden on Navy Pier is Chicago’s go-to destination for free, live, outdoor music performances. This beautiful, lakeside venue boasts some of the city’s best views of the lake and skyline. During your visit, enjoy a large menu of beers, cocktails and frozen drinks, as well as beer-soaked brats, burgers, hand-tossed pizza and more. Best of all, there is no cover to enter, and all ages are welcome!
See also this trip post about the Eiffel Tower,