Navy Pier is located on Lake Michigan near the Chicago River, in the Near North Side neighborhood of Chicago ( Illinois ). This is a 1,010 m long pier with the most beautiful boardwalk in Chicago, which extends into Lake Michigan.
Navy Pier is metro Chicago ‘s premier attraction with the Ferris Wheel, carousel, miniature golf, tour boats, Chicago Childrens Museum, an IMAX theater, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, the Shakespeare Theater, and the fireworks display over the pier. With 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and entertainment, Navy Pier attracts more than 8 million visitors a year.
Navy Pier in Chicago was designed by architect Daniel Burnham and planned and built as Municipal Pier 2.
Upon completion, Navy Pier was intended to be used as a cargo handling facility for large ships, freighters, and warehouses. On one side of the Navy Pier was the transhipment point for ships and on the other side pleasure boats drove off.
An air-conditioned passenger room, entertainment and exhibitions at the very tip of Navy Pier were also made available for the visitor.
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Construction period and history of the Navy Pier in Chicago
In 1914, construction of the Navy Pier began under the direction of Charles Sumner Frost. It took two years and $4.5 million to complete the Navy Pier. Visitors are likely to set foot on the bridge for the first time in 1916. At that time, Navy Pier was the largest pier in the world. It was intended to serve as a transhipment point for ships and for entertainment for visitors.
Burnham’s original plan was to create five piers, but only this one was built.
During World War I from 1917 to 1918, the Chicago Navy Pier was used to house the Army, Navy and Red Cross. A small area was used as a prison for conscientious objectors.
In 1920, Navy Pier added a streetcar line, a theater, and an emergency room.
In 1927, Chicago’s pier was officially named Navy Pier. At this time, Navy Pier is widely used by visitors as a recreational facility. There were children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, an auditorium and a dance hall.
The global economic crisis in 1930 means that the Navy Pier is used less and less as a transhipment point for ships. However, recreational use of Navy Pier did not diminish.
In 1933, the Century of Progress Exposition World’s Fair also drew many visitors to the Chicago Pier.
Due to World War II, Navy Pier was closed to the public in 1941 for use as a naval training center. West of the pier, a large hangar building and a drill hall were built on 20 hectares. In addition, two aircraft carriers were docked at the Navy Pier to train pilots. Several plane wrecks on the bottom of Lake Michigan bear witness to this.
In mid-1946, Navy Pier reverted to the City of Chicago. The City of Chicago used Navy Pier as a campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago until 1965. At the same time, the pier continued to be used as a transhipment point for overseas freighters. But over time, Navy Pier became too small and the port was moved to Lake Calument. Navy Pier began to deteriorate.
Chicago listed it as a historic monument in 1977. In 1990, it was redeveloped after modeling it on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and New York’s South Street Seaport. Since the redevelopment it has been considered a Chicago landmark.
Sights at Navy Pier on Lake Michigan in Illinois
Today the Navy Pier in Chicago has the following attractions: Ferris Wheel, Carousel, 18-hole miniature golf course, IMAX Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze, Chicago Children’s Museum with many activities for Children and adults, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows and at the entrance to Navy Pier is a statue of Oak Park comedian Bob Newhart.
The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows contains a permanent collection of 150 stained glass windows in an 800-m-long series of galleries. Housed along the lower level in the Festival Hall. Showing both secular and religious windows, it is divided into four categories by artistic theme: Victorian, Prairie, Modern and Contemporary. The windows offer a unique insight into Chicago’s culture and art history.
The Ferris Wheel is 150 feet tall and has 40 gondolas. It is illuminated at night and you have a breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline from the gondolas.
At the end of the Chicago Navy Pier is an anchor from the warship USS Chicago (CA-136/CG-11). There are many restaurants and shopping opportunities from the beginning of Navy Pier to the end.
At the entrance to Navy Pier is Gateway Park, a large garden that features numerous artworks and sculptures. In the middle of Gateway Park is an interactively animated fountain. The pier in Chicago is also used as a dock for tours and boat trips and is a popular spot for watching Chicago lakeside events.
Regular fireworks are held at Navy Pier. In summer every Wednesday and Saturday evening. In autumn only on Saturday evenings.
Seasonal celebrations such as Oktoberfest, Halloween and Christmas are also celebrated on Navy Pier.
Currently, the Navy Pier is being improved in part according to James Corner’s design concept plans. The streetscape will be revised, wider pedestrian spaces will be created and moving boat berths will be created to improve the view of the Ferris wheel. Work started in the winter of 2013-2014 and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015.
Chicago Navy Pier opening hours
Navy Pier is open year-round. General hours of operation vary by season and are subject to change. During the summer, Navy Pier is mostly open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. During the winter, Navy Pier is mostly open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The fireworks are always on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m.
Thursdays are always “Family Fun Night” with free entry to the Children’s Museum and other discounts.
Address of Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611