Chicago's Navy Pier is a once-abandoned wharf on Lake Michigan that has been converted into one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. While it plays host to the Chicago Children's Museum and a bevy of sightseeing tours on both land and sea, the most iconic feature of the Pier is probably the Ferris Wheel. It's a tribute to the world's very first Ferris wheel, which was built in Chicago for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The current wheel, known as the Centennial Wheel, is 194 feet tall, which actually makes it 70 feet shorter than the 19th-century original.
“Midwest's #1 tourist & leisure destination”
Historic Navy Pier is Chicago's lakefront playground. And it's the Midwest's #1 tourist and leisure destination, attracting more than 8.6 million visitors a year. Navy Pier is the place where all of Chicagoland and tourists from around the world have come together since 1995 to enjoy the beauty and the thrills of a day on Lake Michigan. From rides to restaurants, exhibitions to entertainment, shopping to dining cruises and tour boats, Navy Pier has it all - in a location unlike any other! There's so much to do in our 50 acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, eateries and attractions. Take a ride on our 15-story tall Ferris wheel. Catch a movie at the IMAX® Theatre. Visit three floors of hands-on fun at the Chicago Children's Museum inside the Family Pavilion. Experience any one of the cruise boat rides departing from Navy Pier's South Dock. Or just kick back and enjoy the incredible feats of talented chinese acrobats in Cirque Shanghai at the Pepsi Skyline Stage or groove to the sounds of live music at the Bud Light Stage at the Navy Pier Beer Garden. Navy Pier also offers dining opportunities as diverse as Chicago itself. Dine at one of the fine restaurants or sample a variety of great tastes to be found at the food court in the Family Pavilion. You can find everything from bikes to books and from souvenirs to sunglasses at the retail shops in the Family Pavilion open year-round. Come experience all that Navy Pier has to offer year-round!
Contrary to all the fun-haters posting poor reviews, there is something magical about Navy Pier. Yeah, cliche be damned: it is magical. Maybe its just a nostalgia thing, I admit. But, come on: you're walking in late September on Navy Pier. You've got on that jacket that is one stage before you dig out the winter coat. You probably find an old piece of gum or a movie ticket to Jurassic Park 2 or some other movie you completely forgot you saw in the pocket. The cityscape is all around you and the breeze chills you just a bit. With your arm around your steady, you look up to see a smattering of stars and fireworks exploding above the lit up ferris wheel. You'd sneak a kiss but you don't want to ruin the moment--so, instead, you pull her closer and smile to yourself.
I get it... I've been watching too much Friday Night Lights. But gosh guys, is it isn't that bad.
An absolute tourist trap. The only benefits it has to offer are its Ferris Wheel rides (you've got to try it at least once in your life), the view from the end of the peer, fireworks, and overpriced knick-knacks. I think if you go to Navy Pier with the understanding that it will be a touristy experience then you'll have an okay time. Just please don't associate it with genuine Chicago.
Navy Pier has its charm but overall is just "ok" in my opinion. Grab some expensive Garretts popcorn and wander around for a bit. A group of us did see a Cirque du Soleil performance here that turned out to be a fun time. Worth a visit, but don't plan to spend too long here-- there are much cooler sights in Chicago.
On a summer night in Chicago, with the bright lights of the ferris wheel and the fire works... I know Chicagoans are over this place, but as someone from outside the city, it is definitely worth seeing
Althoughy Navy Pier is a very "touristy" place to go in Chicago I do think it something that you have to do. That being said it was my favorite part of my trip to Chicago. I absolutely loved it. I had so much fun just walking and people watching. I didn't spend much time in the park but the time I did spend up there was so much fun. I only went up there so that I could go on the Ferris Wheel (another thing everyone should do) the view from even half way up made me completely fall in love with the city. Definetly take a day out of your trip to walk the pier
I lived in Chicago for 3 years and went here once. Way too busy, way too overpriced, way too many tourists, and for the most part if you've been once you never really need to go again. If you're coming to Chicago for the first time it's worth a visit, if not save yourself some time and look for a place that's less of a tourist trap.
Don't waste any money by adding Navy Pier to the Chicago "Go Pass." The pier is currently being renovated and the only charge is the $21 parking. I recommend parking at a cheaper location and walking. Not much really going on at the pier, right now (Sept 2014), worth seeing.
It was under construction when I went this past Spring, which included no ferris wheel. No doubt pretty touristy, but for me it was more about the different view of the city and being way out on the water. Oh, and the greedy seagull defending its right to upset it's bowels. Anyway, I think it's worth checking out at least once if you like long walks with a cool breeze and a view, especially if you're in tourist mode.
Yeah, as everyone mentioned, it's touristy as hell, but it's a must see if it's your first time in the city. The only time I really enjoy visiting is during their Christmas festival which basically packs the place full of incredible Christmas trees. Unless there's an event you want to see here, might as well skip Navy Pier on most visits to Chicago.
The only thing that appeals to me are the twice-weekly fireworks. I'm a sucker for fireworks. Aside from that, pretty touristy. Not as a good as SF's Fisherman's Wharf (which is also touristy, but slightly more palatable).
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