Navy Pier

Holiday Travel Guide
Navy Pier showing a sunset and rides

A ferris wheel, shopping, restaurants and more can be found in this waterfront  entertainment district.

Navy Pier draws more than 8.6 million visitors each year. It has rides, restaurants, shops, parks and boat tours, all within a 50-acre pier on Lake Michigan. Open year-round, it’s busiest in the summer months when there are open-air stalls selling souvenirs and weekly firework displays.

The pier was built in 1916 as a docking and storage facility for passenger and freight ships. Back then, it was mostly filled with industrial warehouses, but there was also a theatre, dance hall and dining rooms that catered to visitors. The Navy took over the pier during World War II and it was closed to the public until 1995, when it was remodeled and reopened as an entertainment district.

Today, the centerpiece of the Pier is the 15-story high ferris wheel that provides views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline. The seven-minute ride is spectacular at night when both the wheel and the city are lit up. There’s plenty of family fun with a musical carousel, old-fashion swing ride, 18-hole miniature golf course and remote control boats. Check out the Chicago Children’s Museum for several floors of games and experiments.

Navy Pier is a major entertainment hub in the city, home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, a 440-seat IMAX Theater, and numerous stages. Watch a circus performance at the Pepsi Skyline Stage, or visit with Santa during the holiday season at the Family Pavilion Stage.

It’s easy to get around on foot, or rent a bike or roller skates. When you want to hit the lake, there are a host of boat tours to choose from, including dinner cruises and private charters, and an architectural tour of downtown Chicago.

There’s no shortage of lunch and dinner options within the area, from steaks and seafood in upscale restaurants on and near the Pier, to a food court in the Family Pavilion. Pick up souvenirs, toys, and treats at a number of kiosks and specialty shops.

As the sun sets, relax with a drink at the Landshark Beer Garden overlooking the lake. Families are welcome and it’s a good place to catch the fireworks, which light up the sky above the Pier on Wednesday and Saturday nights Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Top things to do in Navy Pier

Top Trending Hotels Near Navy Pier

Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel
3.5 out of 5
520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
The price is £102 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
Located in The Loop, this hotel is steps away from Columbia College Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography and Auditorium Building and Theatre. Fine Arts ...
3.7/5Good! (4,139 reviews)
"The historic features; awesome. Elevator doors, mail chute drop box, beautiful lobby with the antique White House donated President's chair, very friendly doormen. They said they would not clean room while we were there, came in and did things not needed anyway. Brought extra coffee at our request; ..."

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2021

Congress Plaza Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
4 out of 5
300 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL
The price is £123 per night from 30 Sep to 30 Sep
Located in Near North Side, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Michigan Avenue, Chicago Riverwalk and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Ann and Robert H. ...
4.2/5Very Good! (1,541 reviews)
"Property was close to Navy Pier. That was awesome!"

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Hyatt Regency Chicago
4 out of 5
151 East Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is £218 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
Located in The Loop, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Chicago Riverwalk and Michigan Avenue Bridge. Grant Park and Chicago Theatre are also within ...
4.3/5Excellent! (3,165 reviews)
"Excellent location!!"

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2021

Hyatt Regency Chicago
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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The Whitehall Hotel
The Whitehall Hotel
4 out of 5
105 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL
The price is £97 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
The Whitehall Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
4 out of 5
300 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL
The price is £123 per night from 30 Sep to 30 Sep
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Hyatt Regency Chicago
4 out of 5
151 East Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is £218 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel
3.5 out of 5
520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
The price is £102 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
Congress Plaza Hotel
Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
4 out of 5
900 E Grand, Chicago, IL
The price is £189 per night from 29 Sep to 29 Sep
Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
Club Quarters Hotel, Wacker at Michigan
Club Quarters Hotel, Wacker at Michigan
4 out of 5
75 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is £119 per night from 25 Oct to 25 Oct
Club Quarters Hotel, Wacker at Michigan
Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago
Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago
4 out of 5
163 East Walton Place, Chicago, IL
The price is £101 per night from 28 Sep to 28 Sep
Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
4.5 out of 5
221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is £217 per night from 28 Oct to 28 Oct
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Sheraton Grand Chicago
Sheraton Grand Chicago
4 out of 5
301 E North Water St, Chicago, IL
The price is £188 per night from 30 Sep to 30 Sep
Sheraton Grand Chicago
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.