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Discovering The Fun Of Chicago's Iconic Navy Pier: A Tourist's Guide

By Nick K, Posted on 04 Jan, 2023 at 09:41 am

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Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan that has been one of Chicago’s top attractions since its completion in 1916. Free and open to the public year-round, this destination comes alive with entertainment venues, restaurants, and theme park rides.


Discover Historic Landmarks

Navy Pier is full of historic landmarks that are sure to take your breath away. From the iconic Ferris wheel (which was the largest in the world when it opened in 1995) to the replica of Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria ship, there's something for everyone at Navy Pier. Take a stroll along the mile-long boardwalk and admire breathtaking views of Lake Michigan as you make your way from one landmark to another.


Enjoy Themed Events

Throughout the year, Navy Pier hosts a variety of themed events that draw crowds from all over Chicagoland. For example, during springtime visitors enjoy activities like an Easter egg hunt and carnival games. Summertime brings live music performances, craft bazaars, fireworks shows and more. If you're looking for something fun to do in Chicago - look no further than Navy Pier!


Shop & Dine Onsite

Navy Pier - Shop & Dine Onsite

After checking out some of the attractions at Navy Pier, be sure to explore some of its shopping and dining options as well. With over 50 stores available ranging from souvenir shops to art galleries, you won't have a shortage of things to browse through! And when it comes time for dinner or dessert? Don't worry - there are plenty of delicious food options onsite too (including several waterfront eateries).


Top Experiences:

Chicago River Architecture Cruise 

The Chicago River Architecture Cruise is a great way to explore some of the city’s most impressive landmarks. During this 90-minute cruise, visitors have the chance to see over 40 iconic buildings, including Willis Tower and Merchandise Mart. The knowledgeable tour guides provide fun facts and anecdotes about each building as well as its history. Plus, guests get stunning views of the city skyline from the river. It’s an experience like no other! 


Chicago Crime Tour 

For those who want something a bit different, there’s the Chicago Crime Tour. This two-hour tour takes visitors through some of the city’s most notorious neighborhoods and tells stories about famous gangsters such as Al Capone and Bugs Moran. The tour also includes stops at several important crime sites throughout the city, bringing history alive in ways that can only be experienced on this tour. It’s sure to be an adventure that will leave you wanting more! 


Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise

If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, try out the Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise! This two-hour cruise offers stunning views from Lake Michigan while providing guests with an informative narration about all of the sights along the shoreline. Guests will have plenty of time to take photos or just take in all of the beauty that Lake Michigan has to offer. It’s sure to be a memorable experience! 


Chicago Full Day Bike Rental 

Finally, for those who want to explore on their own terms, there’s the Full Day Bike Rental option from Navy Pier Experiences. This allows people to rent bikes for up to 8 hours so they can explore downtown Chicago or some of its many neighborhoods on their own time. It’s perfect for those who want a little independence while exploring this amazing city! 


Places to stay near Navy Pier:

Navy Pier Hotels:

W Chicago - Lakeshore
8.3 Very good 1123 reviews
0.83 km
Sheraton Grand Chicago
8.5 Very good 1197 reviews
1.24 km

Navy Pier Apartments

Navy Pier Bed & Breakfasts

The Sono Chicago
9.7 Superb 190 reviews
3.42 km
Villa D' Citta
9.0 Superb 54 reviews
4.88 km
Wicker Park Inn
8.7 Very good 15 reviews
5.76 km



A trip to Navy Pier is sure to be filled with unique sights and experiences that will stay with you long after you've left. From admiring historic landmarks to attending events throughout the year - this popular destination is definitely worth exploring! So why not make plans for an upcoming visit today? Whether you're a local or just visiting Chicago - we guarantee you won't be disappointed by what awaits at Navy Pier!

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About Author

Nick K

Nick K, a travel blogger based in Europe, has been a solo traveler for over 15 years. He always has had his head over the skies and his backpack all over the world. He has traveled to over 30 countries and has penned down his experience with the motto of "on the next destination." He has written over 300+ blog posts written with a combo of videos and photography.