Spotlight On: Navy Pier

May 26, 2014

Navy PierIn 1914, construction began on what would one day become Navy Pier – Chicago’s number one tourist attraction. Located on the Lake Michigan shore, Navy Pier is home to more than 50 acres of entertainment, shopping and dining, attracting more than 8 million visitors per year. The all encompassing convenience of the pier makes for a one-stop day of fun, and an experience unlike any other.

Though the pier was originally developed as a shipping and recreational facility, the space has been used for a variety of other purposes throughout the past century. In 1941, the pier was converted into a Navy training center where classes were administered for aviation machinist mates, metalsmiths and diesel mechanics. Five years later, Navy Pier was handed over to the University of Illinois to use as a Chicago campus for an undergraduate program primarily serving returning veterans. In the 1990’s, the pier was rebuilt to become what it is today.

At Navy Pier, guests will be entertained by a wide range of attractions. For a traditional theme park experience, guests can visit Pier Park. Within the park lies the iconic Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, where riders can view the city from 150 feet in the air. The park includes other classic amusement park rides, including a carousel and the Wave Swinger – a forty foot lakeside swing ride. The Links Mini Golf is also located within the park, where visitors can putt through 18 holes of Chicago-themed miniature golf.

For a fun afternoon outing with the little ones, head out to the Chicago Children’s Museum. Families with children ages 10 and under can explore three stories of fun. Children will have an engaging sensory and educational experience playing, creating and discovering through a series of exhibits and activities. A few of the museum’s exhibits include digging for dinosaur bones at Dinosaur Expedition, discovering the wonders of water at WaterWays and learning about fire safety at Play It Safe.

Throughout the summer, Navy Pier’s Pepsi Skyline Stage will be featuring the latest installment of Cirque Shanghai: Warriors. The performance brings forth a unique and exciting fusion of acrobatics and martial arts that will have you on the edge of your seat. The show will be open May 23 through September 1 from Wednesday to Sunday. After the show, be sure to check out the Navy Pier Fireworks Schedule and catch one of the twice weekly shows. Navy Pier’s firework displays are synchronized to music over Lake Michigan, and are sure to end your day with a bang.

Other opportunities for fun at the pier include a visit to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Landshark Beer Garden and Navy Park’s own IMAX Theatre.

For Chicagoans and tourists alike, a summer in the Windy City is not complete without a trip to the Navy Pier. For more information about the pier and everything it has to offer, visit their website at


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