Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier seen from the Ferris Wheel, Chicago

Located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, the 3,300 foot long Navy Pier was originally built in 1916 as a multi-use public facility and was the largest of its kind in the world at that time. Its main function was for lake freighters’ cargo space, using the warehouses that lined the pier. It could also be used for the docking of passenger steamers.



The furthest point of the pier was designed for the public to use as a cool gathering place during the warm weather. Initially known as the Chicago Municipal Pier, it became known as the Navy Pier after having housed soldiers, the Red Cross and Home Defense personnel during World War I. Over the years, the pier has been utilized as an education center by the University of Illinois, for cultural exhibitions and circuses, music and art festivals.

Today some of the pier’s attractions are a one-hundred-fifty-foot-high Ferris wheel, IMAX theater, several museums and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. There is a large lawn fronting the pier that displays art sculptures and an animated fountain. The pier itself continues to be a docking space for tour boats and a gathering place for visitors to view the events that take place on the water such as air and water shows and boat parades.

There are a variety of dining places and retail shops, including the Landshark Beer Garden. Firework displays are scheduled all summer on Wednesday and Saturday nights and on the Fourth of July. Attracting almost nine million visitors annually, the Navy Pier has become the Midwest’s premiere tourist attraction.

Navy Pier location and hours

Navy Pier
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Sunday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight

Summer (Friday before Memorial Day - Labor Day)
Sunday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight

Fall (Tuesday following Labor Day through October)
Sunday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Winter (November 1 - March 31)
Monday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Spring (April 1 - The Thursday before Memorial Day)
Sunday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

* Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25

Photo by nouQraz on flickr

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Last updated by Ginny on 24 October, 2011 in Destinations.

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