There is so much to see and do at the Navy Pier! This is an extremly diverse place to visit. it's part amusement park, part ship yard, part shopping destination and all tourist destination!
Harry Carry's is a great restaurant! They have a macaroni & cheese that'll knock you out! Thye steak I had was one of the most tender EVER. Well worth the wait for a table, and not over the top price wise. Service/wait staff needed some work.
If you like stained glass, this is an extremely nice museum of stained glass and it's free!!!
The thing I like best about stained glass are the vibrant, rich colors. Stained glass can be traditional (religious) or contemporary. Often it tells a story. In every case the artwork is unique.
For $6 (2012 prices) you can hop on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier for a view of the city. Probably would look really cool up top, but since I have an aversion to any type of Ferris Wheel (stems from a childhood ride which scared me a lot) I won't be doing this ride any time soon.
However, I can take pictures and play with some photo editing software which is what I did to create this shot of the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel one Saturday afternoon in August, 2012. The shot itself was kind of plain. Lots of competing images with the docked boats in the foreground, so I thought I would try some different effects.
We didn't have the time to experience the Navy Pier section by day. We went there during our last night stay. Friendly place! As we know it Navy Pier is the Midwest's #1 tourist and leisure destination, attracting more than 8 million visitors a year. Lots of restaurants, exhibitions to entertainment. We did take 15-story tall Ferris wheel.
It screams "Tourist Trap" and is the type of place I usually avoid like the plague but amid the sweaty throngs, cheap tchotchke shops and mediocre restaurants are a couple of reasons to make the walk. Waaaay down on the end - past the amusement rides, buskers, beer garden and river-tour kiosks - the century-old Grand Ballroom towers majestically over the water. On the open terrace you can catch Lake Michigan breezes and watch the boat traffic with an ice cream or hot dog picked up from vendors along the way: a nice break on a hot afternoon.
The beer garden offer lives music in the summer, and a family stage has all sorts of free entertainment for the wee folk: juggling, clowns, magic acts, puppets shows, etc. Catch the fireworks on summer or holiday evenings, an IMAX show on a rainy day, or take the tots to the Children's Museum.
An outstanding bargain for art lovers is the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. This fascinating collection includes a wonderful selection of Tiffany works and impressive creations from lesser-known artisans. The pieces were largely collected from structures within the Chicago area so are a colorful piece of the city's architectural past. The museum is free and highly recommended: see my next review.
A printable map for Navy Pier attractions may be downloaded here, and see the website for more info on events, hours, amusement ride prices, restaurants, etc.
We stumbled into this one by mistake and were so glad we did: what a gem!! The Smith Museum of Stained Glass, an excellent display of 150 windows collected largely from Chicago buildings, was the first of its type in the United States and is entirely free for exploring. Appropriately darkened rooms glow with brilliant, backlit color, and of special interest are 13 gorgeous works by Louis Comfort Tiffany and a few designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Architectural eras exhibited include Victorian, Prairie, Art Nouveau and contemporary, and themes from religious to purely decorative.
This is a must for visitors with a love or art and/or architecture, and even those less interested will enjoy a walk through the beautifully illuminated halls. Bring your camera: snaps of the windows make gorgeous screen-savers!
A map of museum's location at Navy Pier can be found here and the website has 2 nice brochures which can be browsed online or downloaded to bring along. Open Sundays through Thursdays 10 a.m. - 8 p.m; Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
I think by far this is the best family attraction in Chicago as far as whole family having fun. It has rides farras wheel, boat rides, dinner cruises, and many other attractions. The reason I like Navy Piers is because it has something for everyone.
Located on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, NAVY PIER is a 3,300 foot long pier, which was built in 1916. Its primary purpose was as a cargo facility for lake freighters and also warehouses were built along the Pier. The Pier was also designed to provide docking space for passenger excursion boats. But the Pier proved to be much more successful as a public gathering place, with recreational facilities including picnic areas, dining pavilions, a dance hall and children's playground.
Today main attractions include a 150-foot tall ferris wheel and an IMAX Theater.
Navy Pier is Chicago's number one tourist attraction.
more pictures of my 2 part Navy Pier Tips.
The World Famous Chicago Navy Pier is conveniently located on Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago Area. The Navy Pier has been an unmistakable Chicago landmark since 1916. Designed as a shipping and recreational facility, Navy Pier also served as a military training site during two world wars, a venue for concerts and exhibitions, and the temporary home for the University of Illinois's Chicago campus. Today, this downtown Chicago attraction showcases many exciting things to do, including a unique collection of restaurants, shops, entertainment, and exhibition facilities. There are lots of various things to do and activities happening at the Navy Pier like the Chicago Children's Museum, an IMAX theater, Crystal Gardens, an indoor botanical park, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. For outdoor fun and Chicago history, Navy Pier has a 150-foot-high Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, an old-fashioned swing ride, an 18-hole miniature golf course, the Skyline Stage outdoor performance pavilion, and exciting boat cruises plus don't forget the Beer Garden located inside the complex where you can savor assorted seasonal local Michigan and Illinois Beers and local craft microbrewskies plus lots of souvenir items to shop. Need I say more?
Actually, I am contemplating on writing the tips at Navy pier to the tourist traps hehehe but I won't. This is a two part tip with more pictures around the Navy Pier Area. The World Famous Chicago Navy Pier is conveniently located on Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago Area. The Navy Pier has been an unmistakable Chicago landmark since 1916. Designed as a shipping and recreational facility, Navy Pier also served as a military training site during two world wars, a venue for concerts and exhibitions, and the temporary home for the University of Illinois's Chicago campus. Today, this downtown Chicago attraction showcases many exciting things to do, including a unique collection of restaurants, shops, entertainment, and exhibition facilities. There are lots of various things to do and activities happening at the Navy Pier like the Chicago Children's Museum, an IMAX theater, Crystal Gardens, an indoor botanical park, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. For outdoor fun and Chicago history, Navy Pier has a 150-foot-high Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, an old-fashioned swing ride, an 18-hole miniature golf course, the Skyline Stage outdoor performance pavilion, and exciting boat cruises plus don't forget the Beer Garden located inside the complex where you can savor assorted seasonal local Michigan and Illinois Beers and local craft microbrewskies plus lots of souvenir items to shop. Need I say more?
Navy Pier's famous Icon, the huge ferris wheel is the main attraction of the huge complex and you can see it away for miles away from the Navy Pier. The ferris wheel is patterned after the ferris wheel attraction of the 1893 world columbian exposition that was done here in Chicago. and the height is about 148 ft (45m) high. the Navy Pier Ferris wheel provides unparalleled views of the World Famous Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan lakefront. The Pier's Ferris wheel has 40 gondolas, each seating up to 6 passengers. In the evening, the Ferris wheel's 40 spokes, spanning a diameter of 140 feet, are illuminated by thousands of sparkling lights. It is open daily except in extreme winter conditions and the ride will cost $ 6 per person and goes around for 7 minutes on the average.
The 800m-long (half-mile) pier, built in 1916, was once the city’s municipal wharf and a military pier – the only pier actually completed out of several proposed under the Burnham Plan of 1906.
Chicago's most visited tourist attraction is located on Lake Michigan, just East of Chicago’s Downtown. Navy Pier is a unique collection of restaurants and shops with recreational and exhibition facilities.
May to September
Monday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
October to May
Monday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Although I've included Navy Pier on my tourist trap tips, there are actually several things about Navy Pier that I really enjoy.
One is the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, a free museum featuring 150 windows by well known artists such as Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge, windows with religious themes and some contemporary subjects such as Martin Luther King and Michael Jordan.
The museum is free to visit and every Thursday at 2 pm there is a free tour of the museum.
I was told that the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel is the world's first Ferris wheel and still the largest ever built. The ocasion was the World Columbian Exposition in 1893.
It is 150 feet high (I was told by I friend of mine and I never bother to convert it in meters but it was HIGH) and gives a wonderful view to the lakefront and Lake Michigan.
In the evening, thousands of lights illuminate the Ferris wheel's spokes.
Friday and Saturday: 10.00 h -24.00 h
Sunday to Tuersday: 10.00 h -22.00 h
- Adults $4;
- Seniors $3.50;
- Children Free
Here is a correction I recived by Dabs (Kristi):
"The ferris wheel at Navy Pier is not the original one from the 1893 Columbian Exposition. The first Ferris wheel was much larger, and held over 2,160 people at one time. It was shipped to St. Louis for their fair and then dismantled in 1906. The Ferris wheel at Navy Pier only holds 240 people."
I also took the liberty to add the link she recommended in case people are interested in more detailed information.
Thanks for the comment, Kristi. I really find it helpful :)
Things to do in Navy Pier:
1. boats/cruises-you can take the architectural cruise, lunch cruise, dinner cruise, or the speedboat ride along the Lake Michigan
2. The Smith museum of stained glass windows
3. Ride the 150 foot high Ferris Wheel
4. the food, the music, the shops
5. the Children's museum
6. relax, sit on the bench and enjoy the breathtaking view of the skyline and the lakefront before you