Another must see in Chicago. I like coming here when the weather is great .. I love the vibe and all the activity, Sometimes theres street performers which can be fun .. there are restaurants and shops inside ... some of the best is Garretts popcorn which is amazing and makes like cheap gift to take back to family and friends ... One of the top 10 Chicago style pizza places etc.
Of course the famous huge Farris wheel and other rides . . carousel ect. watching the boats and being by the water is also fun. I fun place to go inside and browse especially if it's hot or rainy ... there are usually geese and ducks in the water if you want to toss them food.
2014 update: unfortunately the Smith closed this year, and the pieces will be finding new homes. Will update this review once it has been announced where most of them will land. The adjoining Richard H. Driehaus Gallery - with 11 Tiffany windows - will remain open for now.
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.
The Smith Museum was closed in 2014, one less reason to go to Navy Pier
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.
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.
Located on Navy Pier is the Smith Stained Glass Museum. The Smith contains a number of stained glass works salvaged from various locations around Chicago. It isn't your typical museum - the exhibits are just located along the halls of one of the exhibition halls on the pier. There is no admission fee and a careful viewing off all the works takes only about an hour. Featured among the works are a number of windows by Tiffany & Co. and Frank Lloyd Wright
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.
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?