Navy Pier, Chicago’s Best Family Day Out

navy pier shopping district


Should you find yourself travelling in Chicago and unsure of where to go, ask any local and chances are they will point you towards Navy Pier. This sprawling ensemble of museums, activities, restaurants, amusements and shops is truly a fabulous day trip for the entire family, and definitely one of the must-see places when travelling in Chicago.

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is a fantastic place to visit when sightseeing or setting off on a holiday cruise, however those heading into the city on city transit can avoid the crowds by arriving by boat via the IRT route. Additionally, a boat ride guarantees a relaxing ride as opposed to the packed streets of the street.

Boating on the pier is a great way to spend a summer afternoon. Depending on the time of year, boat tours can be hired and the boats vary in size and range in size and price. If you are travelling in Chicago on a budget, do be sure to consult the Chicago Park District’s website for information on nearby picnic areas and green spaces or visit one of the district’s websites for more detailed descriptions of these parks.

wooden Pier 39 has been providing holidaymakers in Chicago for 70 years now and stretches across 108 acres of the marshy marsh with trees taken care of by a consulting arborist behind the city, it is one of the most popular of the city’s seasonal boat parks. Most people will recognise it instantly as they have probably seen it on postcards and photos from their childhood; it even appeared in the James Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun‘, and is now the home of a popular fireworks display.

In addition to the wooden pier, the park also boasts a rock pier and a modern pier, which is currently under construction. These days, the park also boasts a gift shop and a restaurant, so those travelling in Chicago with an appetite for delights can indulge in a very pleasant leisurely meal in the park.

Navy Pier is an official part of the Chicago Cultural Center, which is one of the city’s largest single venues, containing a museum, gallery and restaurant. The pier itself was built on the city’s Lakeshore in 1958, though the original was constructed in 1891 and used see a lot of traffic for a while. In 1979, the pier was seriously damaged by a fire believed to have been caused by a uninsured boat.

In addition to the fire and the repair work, two new pier structures were constructed in 1983, 1997 and 2004, adding to the pier’s originally fragile hull. Now the Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular places – it estimates over 50 million visitors a year.

The construction of the second pier began in 1983, and was officially opened in 1985, however, due to the increasing number of festivals held in the area, the pier was closed for several years. In 1994, the pier returned to festival status, and held its first ever Fringe Festival. Since then the pier has been used to host a variety of festivals, including the famed ‘anti-artists’ festival, ‘ blurred by media’ and ‘ancorpitals unknown’. It is also used as a venue for live performances, including an October 2006 reenactment of the Second World War, as well as ‘Diwali’, a Hindu festival currently in its 15th year.

Much of the Navy Pier’s popularity derives from its ability to provide a venue for a wide variety of musical, visual art and cultural experiences. Many bands have emerged in the years following its construction, including the influential alternative heavy metal band Death Metal, spanning several decades of musical history. The band’s early albums floundered without continued interest, however, Death Metal’s follow-up effort, ‘ Conqueror’ sold more than a million copies worldwide, cementing the group as one of the rock Industry’s most iconic bands.

imaginations that gestate from fairy tales, mythology and folklore tales, have also contributed to the popularity of the pier. The building was originally portrayed as a palace in the rich Edwardian style, and its architecture stylistically mirrors that of many older structures; a timeless and memorable sight. Additionally, the pier’s many preservations – from its crescent landing to its surrounding 79 islands – were also designed to resemble well-preserved buildings of the past, including those of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The pier itself is within walking distance of downtown; therefore, nearby accommodations are easily accessible for tourists. The nearby shopping district is also within walking distance, and most of the city’s best restaurants are located just a short walk away. A majority of these restaurants offer a premier dining service, ideal for both intimate and family dining. In addition, amenities such as high-speed internet, high-speed Wi-Fi, and handicap access are typically available onsite.