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13+ Reasons to Spend a Day at Navy Pier

Is a trip to Chicago complete without a visit to the iconic Navy Pier? The skyline views from Lake Michigan are an absolute must-see for first-time visitors to the city and returning guests alike. But there’s so much more to the Pier than grabbing a seat to watch the water.

From popular restaurants to shops and entertainment that will keep any member of the family busy, you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more than a couple of hours here.

Ready, Set, Explore!

As soon as you step on the Pier, you’ll see so many opportunities to explore! As you head through the Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, you’ll see Polk Bros Park with a large fountain ready for play and for kids to burn some energy. Then you can grab a beer at the Navy Pier Beer Garden and take a leisurely stroll, drink in hand, to take in all the attractions before you decide which ones are for you.

It’ll be impossible to miss the Centennial Wheel at Pier Park, but make sure to head up the Wave Wall stairs and check out the new rides now open: Drop Tower and Tea Cups. If you’re traveling with kids they’ll also love exploring Chicago Children’s Museum so make sure to add time for that!

Navy Pier will also be hosting a variety of free programming and events throughout the summer. One of the most popular ways Chicagoans love to spend a Wednesday night is by watching fireworks from the Pier. They happen all summer long on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but make sure to get there early to grab the best spot to view!

Visitors can also take advantage of:

Free fitness classes Tuesdays at 6 pm

Wiggleworms youth music classes Fridays at 10 and 11 am

Live bands at Live at the Lake! every Saturday and Sunday

Wave Wall Moves dance showcase and Wave Wall Wax DJ series every Saturday at 3 and 5 pm

And so much more!

Eat, Play, Shop

For families, couples, and friends, making Navy Pier an all-day destination is easy to do. You can eat at Chicago favorites like Billy Goat Tavern and Harry Caray’s. If a Chicago-style pizza is what you’re craving, there’s a Giordano’s right there! You can even visit the Guinness World Record holding rooftop bar, Offshore. It’s the largest rooftop bar in the world! Those are just a few of the dozens of options. Even picky eaters will find a restaurant they love here.

Head inside the Pier and you’ll find tons of fun shops for souvenirs like Making History and Oh! Yes Chicago where you can pick up unique memories for yourself and gifts for friends and family back home. There’s even a Chicago Sports Store for all you sports fans out there!
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With so much to do, you’ll want to plan your day ahead of time! Make sure to head to to view full opening details, dates, and safety guidelines.

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