Chicago – The Navy Pier
If you are visiting in Chicago then you can't miss the Navy Pier. It should definitely be on your list of "must-sees" in the incredible windy city. The Navy Pier lines Lake Michigan and there is literally something for everyone along this 50 acre stretch of restaurants, bars, theatres, exhibitions, various festivals, boat rides, parks, gardens, shops and of course the Ferris wheel.
The Navy Pier was built in 1916 originally as just a "pier". After World War II it was used as a college classroom for a while and finally after renovations costing $200 million it became one of the world's most popular tourist attractions with over 8.5 million visitors every year throughout the year. The pier is 3300 feet long and it cost $4.5 million to build.
The Four Seasons at the Navy Pier
During the winter months the Ferris wheel and other outdoor rides are closed but there is still plenty to do at the Navy Pier. There is the IMAX movie theatre where you can see both 2D and 3D movies on the huge flat movie screen which is six stories high measuring 60 x 80 feet. The theatre seats 440 people. You can also enjoy the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows or have some laughs at the Chicago Funhouse Maze. And there is even a Shakespeare Theatre for the culture buffs out there.
During the spring and summer months the outdoor attractions come alive and there are many of them to choose from. There are refreshing boat rides throughout the day and night and of course if you choose a night cruise you will be able to enjoy the many firework displays that take place during various festivals at different times of the year. You can also take an architectural cruise along the historic Chicago River where you can learn about the magnificent building of this amazing city. Visiting the Navy Pier does not have to cost a lot of money. In the heat of the summer the children will enjoy a free run in the park or a splash in the fountain (and maybe you will too!).
If you are lucky enough to visit Navy Pier during the autumn months then you will enjoy the daily events and special firework displays which take place around Halloween. Halloween events include a Haunted House, the Carnival of Curiosities and the unique Howl-o-Ween for pets.
How to Get to Navy Pier
There are several convenient options:
METRA commuter rail – on weekends and some holidays up to three children under 12 travel free when accompanied by one full-fare paying adult.
City Buses (CTA) – there is a very big choice of city buses that will transport you to and from Navy Pier.
The RTA system – this is a transport system that combines CTA, METRA and Pace bus systems and it is good for visitors staying in the Chicagoland region.
Trolley – there is a free daily trolley service between Navy Pier and State Street.
By taxi – there are three convenient pick-up points and drop-off points at Navy Pier.
By sightseeing bus – if you go on a sightseeing bus tour you can stop off at Navy Pier and hop on again when you want to continue with the tour. There are three sightseeing bus companies to choose from.
By boat – during the summer months you can enjoy a slower
more relaxing type of transportation by boat between the Navy Pier and the
Museum Campus. There is also a taxi-boat shuffle service that is provided along
the Chicago River between the Pier and the Loop (near Sears Tower and Adams Street).
Chicago Hotel Reservations – Find hotel rooms in Chicago
Cheap Flights – Find cheap flights to Chicago