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27+ Top Navy Pier Chicago Things to Do & Best Restaurants [2019 Guide]

It’s REALLY onerous to visit Chicago with out testing the inspiring Navy Pier. Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, the huge indoor/outside area has long been one of many Midwest’s prime destinations. Current renovations have definitively reworked its fame from loveable vacationer mecca to an area foodie and entertainment hotspot.

With over 50 acres of pure leisure awaiting, you need to benefit from it, proper?

Though Navy Pier can really feel like a metropolis within a metropolis, it doesn’t have to feel quite as massive as it appears. We’re going to assist you to navigate all the perfect insider activities, tours and occasions so that you spend your money and time correctly. Immediately, we’re going to deliver 27+ Navy Pier tours, occasions, watering holes, eating places, actions and far more that guests and families absolutely shouldn’t skip.

Let’s get began!

We may be referred to as the Metropolis of the Massive Shoulders, nevertheless it wouldn’t be too far off to say that we’re also the Metropolis of Massive Appetites. As Chicago has rightfully been named as top-of-the-line food cities by USA In the present day, Bon Appetit and Conde Nast Traveler, guests to the town are understandably hungry to uncover the perfect bites we’ve to supply.

The most effective part?

Navy Pier, laid out over 50 acres of indoor and outside area, is residence to arguably the most effective Chicago eating places, bars, food artisans and specialty food outlets to help offer you an authentic, local style of our iconic “Chicago-style” cuisine.


1. Eat Your Means By means of Navy Pier with a Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour

Photograph Supply: Chicago Meals Planet

There’s no better means to bask in Chicago’s biggest culinary hits and uncover superb historic and cultural tidbits than via a Meals Tour of Navy Pier. As the unique Food Tour associate with Navy Pier, Chicago Meals Planet’s Navy Pier Signature Meals Tour provides you a taste of Chicago’s most famous dishes, in addition to a take a look at newer mainstays while enjoying some adult beverages alongside the best way.

Why does this matter?

It’s a delicious, informative method to achieve an inside look into not solely Navy Pier’s illustrious history, architecture and tradition — however to lastly study why we don’t put ketchup on our scorching canine. (Don’t you dare!)  These occasions are provided year-round in summer time and winter, with all meals, drinks and your native food information included.

Insider Tip: Meals Tours are an ideal choice for households traveling with youngsters.  You don’t have to be an grownup, foodie or culinary skilled to recognize Chicago’s iconic dishes, including Chicago-Type popcorn, pizza, scorching canine and Italian beef sandwiches. You only want to come hungry, which anybody at any age can do!

2. Dig into the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Debate at Giordano’s

navy pier best restaurants

Photograph Supply: Chicago Meals Planet

Pizza or casserole?

Whatever it is, Chicago deep-dish pizza is delicious — and Giordano’s serves up the most effective slices within the metropolis. Higher yet, they have a location proper on Navy Pier, so grab a fork and discover out for yourself.  Attempt to get a reservation prematurely as as strains and ready occasions get incredibly long.

Excellent news: Giordano’s is included on the Signature Meals Tour, so there shall be no strains as you’ll receive VIP access and private seating.  Just sit back, chill out and nosh!

3. Uncover How Candy the South Aspect Can Be at Brown Sugar Bakery

Chicago Navy Pier Things To Do

Photograph Supply: Yelp

In case you have a candy tooth, Brown Sugar Bakery is here to help give it some love. The unique South Aspect location was so widespread that it gained the Steve Harvey Show’s Best Bakery in America Award in 2013. At Navy Pier, you’ll find specialty sweets like sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, and the decadent caramel cake.

Want to meet the proprietor and hear she obtained began?

You’re in luck- a visit to Brown Sugar Bakery is a part of the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour, so prepare to decide which sweet deal with you want to attempt!

4. Attempt a Burger from a James Beard-nominated Chef at DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar

Navy Pier Chicago Restaurants

Photograph Source: DMK Burger Bar

Helmed by five-time James Beard Award nominee Chef Michael Kornick, DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar stands out in a metropolis that has high quality burger joints in each neighborhood. Friends rave concerning the 100% grass-fed beef patties, topping choices, and artisanal buns that make up their burgers.

The Navy Pier menu caters to each sort of eater, from the adventurous bison-fanatic to the health-conscious vegetarian.

5. Get a Nice View of the Recreation at Harry Caray’s

Navy Pier Bars Harry Caray's Tavern

Photograph Source: The Magnificent Mile

Come pay homage to the eponymous native legend and sports announcer at this waterfront BBQ tavern. Sports followers will love the scrumptious smoked meats, craft beers, and assortment of sports activities memorabilia discovered at Harry Caray’s Tavern.

The most effective part?

The patio is outfitted with HDTVs, making it the right summer time spot to watch Caray’s beloved Cubs or absorb the great thing about Lake Michigan.

Chicago is blessed to have an amusement park proper in the midst of the town.

Why does that matter?

Navy Pier’s rides and points of interest may give you somewhat of every part: from a fast rush of adrenaline to memorable experiences that may take your breath away.

6. Soar to New Heights on the (Ferris) Centennial Wheel

Chicago Navy Pier Ferris Wheel Tickets

Photograph Source: Wikipedia

It’s only applicable that Chicago, the birthplace of the Ferris Wheel on the 1893 World’s Truthful, has one to call its personal. Dotting the town’s skyline at almost 200 ft, the Centennial Wheel is considered by many the crown jewel of Navy Pier.

It will get better:

The enclosed gondolas supply 360-degree views of the town and the Lake. Also, they can be enjoyed both in the summertime and the winter because they function air con and heating methods.

Navy Pier tickets to the Centennial Wheel might be bought on the spot at Navy Pier Park’s field workplace. There are special discounts for Illinois residents, army members, and youngsters. Youngsters underneath three get to experience free of charge.

More of a high roller or celebrating one thing main?

The Centennial Wheel also gives a premium VIP gondola experience. It consists of admission to up to four friends, plush seating, a trademark glass backside and other perks that you simply’ll have to see to consider—or experience to describe.

7. Get Lost in Superb Chicago’s Funhouse Maze

Chicago Navy Pier Family Friendly Activities

Photograph Supply: CertifiKID

In the event you like to squeeze, stomp, and squeal your method via tunnels, mirrored hallways and lightweight sequences, then this experience is for you. Extra fun than scary, and tougher than you’d anticipate, the Superb Chicago’s Funhouse Maze is the sort of place you’ll be able to roam for hours.

Plus — it’s positive to entertain adults and households with youngsters visiting Navy Pier.

8. Attain New Levels on the Climbing Walls

Navy Pier Chicago Amusement Rides

Photograph Source: Twitter

Navy Pier’s climbing walls started as a Chicago winter attraction and activity, but have since moved outdoor — making them a great attraction for the summer time months too. The interactive walls are geared in the direction of experienced and newbie climbers alike.

Topping out at 24 ft, the walls additionally function an automated belay safety system, which means that even your little ones can be snug making an attempt it out.

9. Find all the Thrills You Need at Navy Pier’s IMAX 3D Theater

There isn’t any shame in being the sort of person who prefers the electrifying expertise of popcorn and a movie. The IMAX Theater at Navy Pier is residence to Chicago’s largest flat movie display and a state-of-the-art laser projection system.

The most effective half, though?

Reclining. Seats.

Chicago Navy Pier Winter Things to Do

Photograph Source: Facebook

Open year-round, Navy Pier is ready for any type of fall and winter weather which will befall our truthful metropolis.

Don’t let the polar vortex stop you: There are plenty of indoor points of interest at this landmark!

Listed here are a number of we highly advocate:

10.  Keep in mind Why Snow Days Rocked at Winter Wonderfest

Navy Pier Chicago Events

Photograph Source: The Local Vacationer

Decked out in a shocking array of winter decorations, Winter Wonderfest will convey a smile to even the most important Scrooge. Over 170,000 square ft, you’ll discover carnival rides, tubing and even an ice skating rink — all indoors.

And in case you’ve received youngsters?

This event is household friendly by means of and thru: Tots can adorn cookies, take a practice experience, and meet Santa all underneath one roof.

11. Take pleasure in a New Take on a Holiday Basic with the Q Brothers Christmas Carol

The award-winning Q Brothers Collective have infused Dickens’ masterpiece with a ton of hip-hop flair.

How do they accomplish that?

Their version of a Christmas Carol uses reggae, dancehall, and even epic rock to have fun the spirit of the holiday and Christmas season in Chicago. You’ll be able to catch their annual show on the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier in the course of the month of December.

12. Rejoice Chicago Christmas with Odyssey Cruises

Navy Pier Chicago Cruise and Boat Tours

Photograph Supply: Odyssey Cruises

Feast this holiday season aboard certainly one of Odyssey’s Lakefront Vacation Dinner Cruises. The boat sails on Lake Michigan for over two hours, supplying you with ample time to take within the nighttime views of the town. Friends feast on a three-course plated holiday menu before dancing the night time away onboard.

13. Ring in the New Yr at Navy Pier

Chicago New Yr’s Eve is certainly one of Navy Pier’s major occasions, with celebrations happening all through the day and ending with a splashy display of fireworks at midnight. Guests can select to get together at Crystal Gardens, the AON Grand Ballroom, choose Lake Michigan and riverboat cruises, or in one of many many eating places on the waterfront.

Want to end with a bang?

Stake out a spot and be dazzled by one among Chicago’s greatest fireworks exhibits.

14. Take a Break from the Cold at Crystal Gardens

Navy Pier Chicago Crystal Gardens

Photograph Supply: Flickr

Chicago is a vibrant city even in probably the most frigid temperatures; still, even those of us who love Chicago winters will invariably yearn for hotter temperatures.

And in the event you’re missing the solar?

The Crystal Gardens can transport you to extra tropical climates. The indoor botanical backyard is all lush, with not one of the outside slush of the town’s streets.

Chicago Navy Pier attractions

Photograph Supply: PxHere

What gets us via Chicago winters?

The promise of Chicago spring and summers, in fact. Navy Pier really comes alive through the warm months and has much more to make your visit unforgettable.

Take a look at these awesome Chicago summer time activities and issues to do:

15. Cruise Round Lake Michigan on Navy Pier Boat Excursions

Navy Pier Boat Tours

Photograph Source: Mystic Blue Cruises

Grab your flippie-floppies and get ready for you greatest Titanic impressions. If Lake Michigan beckons, there’s not better method to heed its calling than by happening a Chicago boat tour. Or several. Or all your sea legs can probably muster.

Right here’s the thing:

Navy Pier gives dozens of sightseeing, food-centric, fireworks-specific, thrilling, specialty and vacation boat cruises to maintain your internal captain glad. Architecture buffs ought to set their anchors on Shoreline’s award-winning Chicago river tours of the town’s major landmarks.

Brunch bros, women who lunch, and couples keen to be wined and dined will need to set sail with either Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago, or Mystic Blue. All three supply delicious Chicago eating cruises in an upscale surroundings.

Not afraid to get a bit of moist or just a little wild?

Then Seadog’s excessive thrill rides and lakefront speedboat tours are simply what you’re in search of. Not solely will you’re taking a spin around the metropolis however you’ll actually experience 360° spins.

All of Navy Pier’s river and boat cruise companions, together with Tall Ship Windy, additionally supply firework cruises in the course of the summer time months. There’s no better method to get on board with summer time than this.

16. Merrily Roll Along the Lake on a Chicago Bike Tour

Chicago Bike Tours

Photograph Source: Pixabay

One of many perks of dwelling in Chicago is that you simply don’t need a automotive to discover some of our biggest sights.

The most effective part:

Bike and Roll provides several bike tours that start off in Navy Pier and make their method by means of the town’s architectural wonders. Feeling zany? Then attempt their Segway tours for some giggles.

Extra of a DIY-er?

You possibly can all the time lease a Divvy bike by means of Chicago’s superior, reasonably priced bike-share program, to glide by way of Chicago at your personal tempo with numerous bike stations situated all through the complete city.

17. Overlook Lollapalooza: Come Jam at Navy Pier Music Live shows

Navy Pier Chicago Music Concerts

Photograph Source: Facebook

Reside music could be heard all over the place on Navy Pier. You’ll hear all genres at play, from basic Dad rock to thumping house music to vigorous Latin beats. There’s one thing for everyone, regardless of how eclectic your music tastes.

The Miller Lite Beer Garden options the delightful Stay on the Lake! of their outside area. In the course of the summer time months in Chicago, yow will discover visitors grooving to the sweet sounds of local musicians and bands. Wednesdays are devoted to Chicago blues whereas Thursday night time’s dance collection maintain the great occasions going. Those hips don’t lie, in any case.

However wait, there’s extra:

Polk Bros Performance Lawns maintain two venues for stay music, the Lake Stage and the Metropolis Stage. Several of Chicago’s particular events are held right here, like the World Music Pageant and Water Colors, a free stay jazz music collection that includes a few of our city’s biggest skills.

Should you’re wanting to social gathering, then sashay over to the Wave Wall Performance Platform for Wave Wall Wax. This summer time collection brings a few of the metropolis’s dopest DJs to the Pier every Saturday afternoon. Watch as they rework this landmark right into a dance flooring.

18. Have fun the fourth of July in All Its Glory

Navy Pier Chicago Fireworks Fourth of July

Photograph Supply: Facebook

Come early to snag a spot in what is by far Navy Pier’s largest annual celebration. The 4thof July Aon Summer time Firework sis really a must-see spectacle that Chicago seems forward to yearly.

For those who can’t make it, worry not. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Navy Pier holds a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. every Wednesday and 10:15 p.m. each Saturday.

Insider Tip: Get there early, the Pier will get very busy for fireworks.  So do the eating places and bars, so you undoubtedly need to make a reservation ahead of time.

19. Watch a Film Beneath the Stars

One among our favourite issues to do in the course of the summer time is Water Flicks, the free outside film collection at Navy Pier. In partnership with the Chicago Worldwide Film Pageant, Navy Pier rigorously curates a line up of ten films that fall underneath a certain theme. Final yr’s “Sing-along Summer” introduced a few of our favorite musicals to the large display like Pitch Good, Selena, and Grease.

This summers theme in 2019?

“Super Hero Summer”! Seems like an explosive good time.Deliver a blanket, some garden chairs, your favorite snacks, and catch a family-friendly movie. That’s in case you can take your eyes off the beautiful lakefront, tbh.

20. Get Artsy with Public Artwork Reveals

Navy Pier Chicago Art Exhibitions

Photograph Source: nARCHITECTS

Navy Pier is proud to current an ever-revolving array of public art and cultural installations — offering you a number of opportunities to capture a photograph to keep in mind.

So- Take the right selfie on the Wave Wall Stairs. Then head to a few of the short-term reveals like Chakaia Booker’s: Four Sculptures and do it for the ‘gram.

Or higher yet, put your telephone down and absorb Navy Pier’s hanging beauty for yourself.

Chicago Navy Pier Family Kids Children

Photograph Supply: Fb

Have youngsters in tow at Navy Pier?

Navy Pier is overwhelmingly geared in the direction of family friendly actions and is tailor-made for even the youngest of youngsters — not to mention, those who stay younger at heart.

21. Fake You’re Pirates on Tall Ship Windy Cruises

Climb aboard Tall Ship Windy’s schooner for a visit around Lake Michigan that’s extra buccaneer than bougie. Although they provide architecture excursions and seasonal firework cruises, Tall Ship Windy really shines in their themed sails. Adventurous youngsters will love the “Tales of Real Pirates of the Inland Seas,” the place they’ll hear well-known pirate tales set towards the town’s lovely skyline.

22. Get a Sugar Rush at Navy Pier’s Food Courtroom

Have you ever needed to see how a child would behave in an actual sweet retailer?

Now’s your probability! The meals courtroom offers all types of sweets, desserts, and sugar goodies for the well-behaved youngsters in your life. Surprise them with the Dippin Dots’ burst of taste, or give them a taste of some old style kettle corn at Garrett’s. And don’t forget- youngsters of all ages love to eat delicious, Chicago-style foods.

That’s not all:

Think about signing up the family on a Navy Pier Food Tour to visit the Food Courtroom and different native eating places and hear the intimate tales of how they have been created while skipping the strains with VIP service out of your tour information.

23. Study and Play at Chicago Youngsters’s Museum

If the word “museum” brings again reminiscences of boring area trips and indoor voices, the Chicago Youngsters’s Museum flips that each one on its head. Any institution that has a Play Manifesto is nearly guaranteed to supply its visitors a great time.

Right here’s the kicker:

Youngsters are encouraged to run, discover, create, contact, and play in its many halls. A few of their most popular reveals are the Dinosaur Expedition, WaterWays, and the Pritzker Playspace.

24. Splash into Summer time at Polk Bros Park

Chicago Navy Pier Summer Things to Do

Photograph Source: Navy Pier

In the summer months, the Polk Bros Park has all of the feels of a neighborhood block social gathering. Its signature fountain is one among Navy Pier’s most well-known water points of interest, and types a dramatic backdrop to any family image. If your youngsters want to cool off, they will run via the park’s greater than 150 programmable jets. Deliver a picnic and loosen up to the sounds of The Wiggleworms and different reside bands on one of the park’s many lawns.

Long after the solar has set, Navy Pier still has lots to supply in the night.

In case you’re in search of a enjoyable night time on the town, look no further then these ideas!

25. Toast to a Nice Day at Navy Pier Bars

Loosen up after an extended day together with your beverage of selection.

Holding it informal?

The Miller Lite Beer Garden has a big choice of beers, cocktails and frozen drinks. Additionally they supply pub grub to aid you take in the environment in a energetic environment.

Craving one thing more upscale?

Tiny Tavern gives refined craft cocktails of their flagship location and can also be included on the Navy Pier Signature Food Tour as a tasting location.

26. Have a Romantic Dinner on the Waterfront

Navy Pier Chicago Romantic Dinner Date Night

Photograph Supply: Facebook

Whether you’re out with a particular someone or simply wanting to give yourself a well-deserved treat, Navy Pier is the right setting for an intimate dinner at a special restaurant. Considered one of our prime decisions is Riva Crabhouse, Chicago’s only seafood restaurant on the waterfront.

27. Have a Slumber Get together at Navy Pier’s Latest Lodge

Chicago Navy Pier Hotels and Accommodations

Photograph Source: KOO Structure

This previous summer time, builders broke floor on Navy Pier’s first-ever lodge. Tourists can anticipate 222 luxurious rooms, a 30,000 sq. rooftop bar, and floor-to-ceiling views of the skyline. Whereas the opening date has but to be set, maintain your eye out for updates!

This latest Navy Pier function is about to reinvent the ever-evolving Chicago vacation spot.