Chicago River and Navy Pier

Navy Pier opened in 1916 as an amusement area and shopping district. After a major renovation in 1995, it became one of Chicago’s largest tourist attractions. It’s one of the most visited attractions in the state and the rest of the Midwest. You’ll find Navy Pier at 600 E. Grand Ave. There’s no fee to enter, but some of the shows and attractions may charge an admission fee. Here’s some more information about what you can do at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Check Out Pier Park’s Rides and Games

Pier Park is an amusement park at Navy Pier with a variety of fun rides for kids and adults. The Centennial Wheel is a Ferris wheel that’s nearly 200 feet high. It offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. You can reserve an enclosed gondola online or at the Pier Park box office. It can accommodate up to four people, and it has a glass bottom and plush seats.

There’s also a carousel with a whimsical 1920s style that was designed exclusively for Pier Park. It has 36 hand-painted animals, including horses, a playful frog, and chariots. Another carousel has teacups for seats.

The S&S DoubleShot is a tower that sends riders soaring toward the sky, lets them fall, and then launches them upward again before gently sending them back to the ground. The Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze covers 4,000 square feet. It includes a mirror maze, a spinning tunnel, and more. You can also try the Amazing Chicago’s Time Freak Game, where players compete against the clock to press buttons as they light up. This game is great for all ages.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Enjoy Great Food

There are many excellent restaurants at Navy Pier, and you can enjoy a variety of classic items. Snow Dragon Shavery offers delicious frozen yogurt that it calls snow cream. Most flavors are non-fat, and many toppings are available. Flavors include Blueberry Burst, Cappuccino, Irish Mint, and Eggnog. You can also try bubble tea or a fruit smoothie. Snow Dragon Shavery is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

City Cruises offers delicious brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises from Navy Pier. The Spirit of Chicago Lakefront Breeze dinner cruise lasts for two hours. You’ll get a private table where you and your friends or family members can relax while you with an excellent view of the city skyline from Lake Michigan. There’s also a DJ, a dance floor, and several fun games, including shuffleboard and giant Jenga.

You can visit the rooftop lounge on the top deck or spend time on one of the three climate-controlled lower decks. There’s a full bar, and the menus include fresh, organic ingredients and a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. You can choose cruise dates between May and September, and many times are available.

See Spectacular Fireworks

From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, Navy Pier has beautiful, free fireworks displays. You can watch from anywhere on the amusement area grounds, and the fireworks will explode to dramatic, popular music. They take place at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 p.m. on Saturdays. Each fireworks show lasts for about 10 minutes.

Check Out Free Art

There are many pieces of temporary and permanent artwork around Navy Pier. Funtime Unicorns by Derrick Adams is a set of four unicorn sculptures that kids can ride, and they’ll be on display until June 25.

The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois is in the lobby of Festival Hall A. This free, one-of-a-kind exhibit showcases music from a variety of artists, including Muddy Waters, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Chance the Rapper, and Earth, Wind & Fire. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum sponsors it, and it will be on display until Aug. 27. The exhibit’s hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Barry Butler is a world-renowned photographer with a 22-image exhibit. You can see beautiful views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Buckingham Fountain until December. There’s also a life-size statue of Bob Newhart created by Studio EIS in New York. It was commissioned by TV Land in 2004. An 8-ton anchor from the U.S.S. Chicago sits on Navy Pier as well. The ship was dismantled in 1984, and it was installed on Navy Pier in 1995.

Explore Millennium Park

Millennium Park is next to Navy Pier, and it has several interesting sculptures, tranquil gardens, interactive fountains, rock climbing areas, and skating rinks. Cloud Gate, also called “The Bean,” is one of the largest permanent outdoor art exhibits in the world. The Boeing Galleries are two paved outdoor spaces with free, modern art installations that rotate through the year.

Public restrooms and changing tables are available, and you can bring your own food or non-alcoholic beverages to the park. There’s a concession stand with a wide range of food and beverage options, and tours are available on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Location: Go in using the general entrance on Michigan Ave. and Washington St. or the one on Michigan Ave. and Madison St. You can drop off visitors at 201 E. Randolph St.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

You Can Find Lots of Fun Activities and Great Food at Navy Pier

These are just some of the great attractions at Navy Pier. How did you like our list? Did we miss any of your favorite activities? Contact us at Pequod’s Pizza and let us know about your favorite activities. You can stop by and enjoy some of our classic Chicago deep-dish pizza, and you can check out our ultimate tourist guide to Chicago. We’re open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Sunday. We have locations in Morton Grove and Chicago.