Navy Pier

Vacation Travel Guide
Navy Pier which includes rides and a sunset

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.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Chicago page.

Top things to do in Navy Pier

Top Hotels Close to Navy Pier

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 $107 per night from Dec 5 to Dec 5
Located in Near North Side, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Michigan Avenue, Chicago Riverwalk, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Grant Park and State ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (1,696 reviews)
"I love the way it look very pretty I like that I felt safe will definitely book again the staff at check in was very helpful and it was just a pleasant experience"

Reviewed on Nov 23, 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
4.5 out of 5
221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is $112 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 20
Located in The Loop, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Chicago Riverwalk and Grant Park. Michigan Avenue and Chicago Theatre are also within 10 ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (1,513 reviews)
"The property is in a great location. All the shops, restaurants, and attractions are within walking distance, or short commute. The staff was great and attentive. I was a bit disappointed that the TV didn’t work, and the table that the TV was on was a bit rusty. Overall, the hotel was great! I would ..."

Reviewed on Nov 24, 2021

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
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 $154 per night from Dec 19 to Dec 19
Located in Near North Side, this hotel is steps from Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. Chicago Riverwalk and Grant Park are also within 1 mi (2 km). Grand Station ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (324 reviews)
"Great stay and view at Sable!"

Reviewed on Nov 27, 2021

Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
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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Best Lodging Options Near Navy Pier

The Whitehall Hotel
The Whitehall Hotel
4 out of 5
105 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL
The price is $84 per night from Dec 16 to Dec 16
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 $107 per night from Dec 5 to Dec 5
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
4.5 out of 5
221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is $112 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 20
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
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 $154 per night from Dec 19 to Dec 19
Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
4.5 out of 5
85 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL
The price is $105 per night from Dec 19 to Dec 19
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
Loews Chicago Hotel
Loews Chicago Hotel
4.5 out of 5
455 North Park Drive, Chicago, IL
The price is $139 per night from Dec 12 to Dec 12
Loews Chicago Hotel
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
505 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
The price is $118 per night from Dec 21 to Dec 21
InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, an IHG Hotel
Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile
Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile
4 out of 5
511 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL
The price is $114 per night from Dec 26 to Dec 26
Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile
Swissotel - Chicago
Swissotel - Chicago
4.5 out of 5
323 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is $111 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 20
Swissotel - 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.