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A look into one of Chicago's most popular attractions. Dive into the history of Navy Pier, a travel guide, things to do, popular events/celebrations, and all the best attractions!

Navy Pier

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Navy Pier Statistics Coming in as the second-most visited attraction in Chicago, Navy Pier brings in a shocking nine million tourists a year! Since its reopening in 2000, the pier has welcomed in over 186 million guests both locally and internationally. Since there is no shortage of attractions including fantastic restaurants, live theatre, performances, and parks, Navy Pier has become the one of the most visited spots in the entire Midwest.

Things to Do/Centennial Wheel Navy Pier has over 3,000 feet of space, making it the longest public pier in the world! One of the biggest attractions that you can see from miles away is Centennial Wheel. The original ferris wheel was built on July 1, 1995 but the current one was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Navy Pier in May 2016. It stands at 200 feet high! While admission into the pier itself is free, it does cost around $20 for adults to ride on the wheel. The attached video is a tour and travel guide of Navy Pier which goes into depth about how to get there, costs, and things to do.

Events and Celebrations Navy Pier has many different event venues such as Aon Ballroom, Lakeview Terrace, and Festival Hall, so there are numerous cultural and seasonal events all year. One great example is the celebration of the Hindu festival, Holi. It is held on March 23 this year at the Ballroom and Beer Garden and this free event will feature a live DJ, performances, and food. Other fun events and celebrations include St. Patrick's, Easter, Circusville and Expo Chicago 2024.

History of Navy Pier Navy Pier opened on July 15, 1916 under the name of Municipal Pier, and it's main purpose was originally for shipping and distributing. It played a key role in World War 1 as it helped in military preparations, housed soldiers, and served as a detention center. After the war, it's name was then changed to Navy Pier in honor of the veterans since it also served as a naval training center. Additionally, it had a critical role in World War 2 as a military training center and was used as a home port for aircraft carriers and ships.

Festivities - Winter Wonderfest Throughout the year, Navy Pier is used as an exhibition facility so there are many exciting events held there. One big event is Winter Wonderfest where they have "Light up the Lake" which includes an Alpine skating rink, kids train ride, gift market, food, and more! Since 2000, it has contiued to attract record-breaking crowds so it is certainly worth checking out! They also display fireworks at Navy Pier several times a year such as on New Year's, 4th of July, and all throughout summer which are definitely a sight to see!