All You Need to Know Before Visiting Navy Pier

Over a century old, Navy Pier is one of the quintessential destinations in Chicago. The iconic lakefront pier has a host of attractions including the nearly 200-foot-tall ferris wheel, a number of dining options, museums, and enough activities to keep you entertained all day. With so many options, it can be difficult to plan out what you want to do when visiting this iconic destination. To help you plan a perfect visit, here is everything you need to know before visiting Navy Pier.

Set aside a few hours

With so many options, try to set aside at least a few hours of your day before going to Navy Pier. Whether you want to spend your afternoon enjoying the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Children’s Museum, or going on a boat tour, it can easily turn into an entire day’s worth of fun. If you’ve set aside a few hours to explore Navy Pier, you won’t need to feel rushed. Enjoy the food, take a tour—either self-guided or official—and soak one of the best locations in Chicago.

Check the weather forecast

One of the best parts of Navy Pier are all of the views it offers. It’s recommended to check the weather before you take your trip to Navy Pier and try to go on a clear, sunny day where you can make the most of these views. The walking tours, boat rides, and other attractions will be more enjoyable on a warm day. However, if it is bad weather on the day you’ve planned to go, there are plenty of indoor locations where you can stay dry and warm throughout your visit.

Decide how much you want to spend

A day of shopping, buying tickets for various shows, and fine dining can really add up! Luckily, Navy Pier can be enjoyed whether you are looking to splurge or are on a tight budget. Free things to try include a self-guided tour of the pier, seasonal firework shows, and concerts at the Miller Lite Beer Garden. There are also food options to accommodate any budget. Enjoy Giordano’s Pizza, the Billy Goat Tavern, or go to the food court for inexpensive fast food options. All in all, setting a general budget for the day will make your experience at Navy Pier more enjoyable and help you plan out your day.

Research cruise options

It can be hard to resist taking a cruise while visiting Navy Pier since it is located right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. There are a number of cruise options whether you are visiting solo or have a large group of people. Sea Dog Cruises offer a speedboat cruise around the city, along with an architecture tour that will show you some of the best parts of Chicago’s skyline and lake views. Tall Ship Windy is a slower option on a boat resembling a pirate ship, which kids will enjoy—and there is also a full bar if you’re traveling with adults. To see more of the Chicago River, Shoreline Sightseeing is another option that leaves from Navy Pier. The tour guides tell stories of the history’s architecture and offer a deeper dive into the history of Chicago.

Planning your trip

Whether you’re visiting Chicago now or in the future, your experience at Navy Pier will be one to remember. Consider booking a room in a boutique hotel like Hotel EMC2, located in the heart of the city in Streeterville and just a short walk, bike ride, or drive away from Navy Pier. Now you’re ready to enjoy a spectacular day at Navy Pier!

Need a place to stay when visiting Chicago? Book your reservation here.