Navy Pier

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Joel Fulleda

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  • Origins and development of the pier
  • The must-see attractions
  • Where to eat
  • Where is it and how to get there
  • Timetables and tickets

Lake Michigan is a major one natural beauty of the city of Chicago and it is on its banks that the famous one rises Navy Pier, a long pier that includes a large number of attractions for all tastes.

Here you can find shops, restaurants, gardens and natural parks, where you can spend fun days in the company of family and friends.

Navy Pier is certainly one of the best leisure spaces in the entire Midwest and attracts around 9 million tourists every year. Let's see what to do at Navy Pier, where to eat and how to get there.

Origins and development of the pier

Navy Pier is a large pier of 1.010 meters on the coast of Lake Michigan and is located in the neighborhood of Streeterville.

In all it encompasses an area beyond 20 hectares of land, on which various types of attractions were then built. Navy Pier is Chicago's second most visited destination and has a long tradition behind it.

It was opened to the public in 1916 with the name of Municipal Pier and was designed by the architect Charles Sumner Frost. It was originally intended to serve as a dock for goods, ships and various indoor and outdoor activities.

Since 1918 it has also been used as a prison for deserters from the draft and only in 1927 is renamed Navy Pier in memory of the navy veterans who had served during the First World War.

In 1941 the pier was converted into a navy training center and over 10.000 people passed through it. Since 1946 the University of Chicago he held classes at Navy Pier, but once the maximum capacity was reached, the university moved permanently to the Circle Campus in 1965.

Between the sixties and seventies the pier was opened and closed several times, with a consequent decline. Only in 1989 its management is entrusted to Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) which promotes its redevelopment.

In 1995 the Navy Pier was further redesigned and proposed as a space dedicated to entertainment and catering.

Further modernization efforts begin in 2006, when renovations include the addition of a monorail, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a floating hotel and a water park.

Cruise and fireworks display from Navy Pier

The must-see attractions

Today Navy Pier is home to restaurants, fast-food restaurants, shops, concert stages, ballroom and exhibition spaces for permanent and temporary exhibitions. Here is a list of the best things to see at the Chicago pier.

Centennial Wheel

The big Ferris wheel of Chicago dominates the skyline and is undoubtedly an unmissable experience for anyone visiting Navy Pier.

Also known as Ferris wheel, was originally built in 1893 according to the project of the engineer George Ferris to celebrate the celebrations of the Columbian Exposition. Since then it has been dismantled and restructured several times, up to its present form.

The current structure has a height of approx 60 meters and ensures a breathtaking 360 ° view. It consists of 42 air-conditioned cabins, inside which you can have a tablet to recognize the points of interest of the city from above.

The cost of the ticket is of dollars 18, but you can also buy gods group tickets for groups. The entrance times are as follows:

  • Monday to Thursday: 11am to 00pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 11am to 00pm
  • Sunday: from 11: 00 to 20: 00
Centennial Wheel Tickets

Chicago Children's Museum

This museum is perfect for families with children following. In fact, the little ones will have fun learning about the underwater world and dinosaurs.

In addition, they have the opportunity to learn how to climb mountains, take care of pets and do many other activities.

Access is allowed up to 60 minutes before closing. The ticket costs $ 19 for adults and children, while under one year of age, admission is free.

Here are the schedules of the Chicago Children's Museum:

  • Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday: from 10:00 to 17:00
  • Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

It is a non-profit theater company which produces about 650 shows a year. Mostly it brings to the stage the best works of William Shakespeare, but not only.

Each year it attracts over 200.000 spectators, many of them young and very young. It is no coincidence that the theater is committed to transmitting to school groups and fans love for literature and make minds more and more creative and open.

To book tickets for the various shows just go to box office Monday to Saturday, from 12:00 to 16:00.

Permanent installations

Walking around the Navy Pier you can find different examples of modern art that include a series of installations scattered in several points of the pier. Many of these certainly do not go unnoticed!

For example, there is the statue of the well-known psychologist Bob Hartley, star of the TV show Bob Newhart Show, fashion in the seventies.

Life-sized, the bronze sculpture portrays a man sitting on a bench with a pen in his hand, waiting for someone to sit next to him to tell him about his problems.

At the southern entrance of Navy Pier you can then admire the Captain On The Helm, the statue of the captain at the helm.

Also in bronze, it was sculpted by the artist Micheal Martino in 2000 and wants to commemorate all the captains who have faced storms and any adversity to rescue passengers and goods.

Very characteristic is also Crack The Whip, sculpture installed in 1996 and created by J. Seward Johnson Jr. It represents eight children who join hands to play the whip game.

Finally, a photo cannot be missing USS Chicago Anchor. This 8-ton anchor was installed in 1995 and comes from the navy ship of the same name.

Dismantled in 1984, the USS Chicago was born as a cruiser, to be used as a warship during the Second World War and during the wars of Korea and Vietnam.

Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze

Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze is an amusement park that will make adults and children happy. Inside they live many sensory experiences and exploration made of rotating tunnels, mirror mazes and other surprises.

The attractions are not recommended for children under 5 and those under 7 must be accompanied by an adult. Depending on the chosen path, tickets for people from 4 years old upward range from $ 13,99 to $ 15,99.

Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze can be accessed Sunday through Thursday 11am - 00pm and Friday and Saturday 19am - 00pm.

Where to eat

There is certainly no shortage of places to eat and drink at Navy Pier. In particular, there are plenty of restaurants and bars that offer the tastiest Chicago food.

The most renowned places to taste the cuisine made in the USA sono America’s Dog & Burger, Billy Goat Tavern, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Tiny Tarvern, Harry Caray’s Tavern e il Navy Pier Beer Garden.

For a touch of class, however, there are restaurants like the Lyric, which mainly offers dishes from the Hispanic tradition andOffshore Rooftop, which offers sweeping views of Lake Michigan.

Finally, those with a sweet tooth can pop into one of the many patisseries and ice cream parlors such as Kilwins Chocolates Fudge & Ice Cream, Frio Gelato, Brown Sugar Bakery, Xurro and Snow Dragon Shavery.

Where is it and how to get there

The Navy Pier is located in the area of Near North Side, in the neighborhood of Streeterville. Precisely it is located at 600 E. Grand Avenue. Being one of the most important tourist spots in Chicago, it is not very difficult to reach.

For those who travel by car there are two parking spaces available: the West Garage and the East Garage. In all, they host 1.500 parking spaces and you can park from 1 to 24 hours, with different rates depending on the length of stay.

If you prefer to arrive with the public transport there is no problem, as Navy Pier is well served. The quickest way is to take the bus, as the metro has no stations in this area. In the area there are bus stops bus lines 2, 29, 65, 66 and 124.

Timetables and tickets

To enter Navy Pier it is not necessary to buy any tickets because access is free. The only tickets you need to buy are those for the different attractions, which obviously have specific rates.

The time of opening of the pier is the following:

  • Sunday to Thursday: 11am to 00pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 11am to 00pm

For the latest updates and to know all the details it is good to refer to Official site.

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