Best Attractions & Activities: This downtown pier that extends into Lake Michigan was once used by the military. Today, it's Chicago's largest tourist hub. You can just walk up and down the pier, taking in the gorgeous skyline and lake views. Or you can visit the excellent children's museum, the IMAX movie theater, the Broadway-quality Shakespeare plays, dance in the grand ballroom, or ride their new Centennial Wheel, a 200-foot-high ferris wheel with enclosed gondolas. There are plenty of boat ride options, too, including the Tall Ship and dinner cruises. In the evening, if the weather's nice, you can watch a free fireworks show synchronized to music on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Free Things to Do, Attractions near United Center, Sightseeing: Since 1916, Navy Pier has been home not only to the military but to scores of special attractions. Now purely commercial, the Pier offers everything from an IMAX theater to performances by a Shakespeare troupe. You can view dancing in a grand ballroom, ride the splendor of a fifteen-story Ferris Wheel (a replica of the one at Chicago's 1893 World's Fair), or relax to the sounds of waves quietly lapping on the lakeshore. The Chicago Children's Museum is on the second floor and there are dining options on the premises. A series of special events happen throughout the year including seasonal celebrations, festivals and cultural events to public shows in the exhibition hall space. The website has an up-to-date calendar worth checking out in advance of a visit.
Local Expert Megy Karydes Says:
Best for Free Things to Do, Attractions near United Center, Sightseeing Because: Navy Pier is home to an IMAX theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Children's Museum and year-round special events.