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Navy Pier, Chicago, Ilinois

Posted by Jody on September 23, 2011

A trip to Chicago is never complete without a visit to Navy Pier!  Extending into Lake Michigan just east of Downtown Chicago, this 3,300 foot long historic landmark is an absolute must for your “Windy City” to-do list. You’ll be  just one of the 8,600,000 annual visitors to enjoy this incredible lakefront playground.  Why? Simply put: Chicago’s Navy Pier has something for everyone with its 50 acres of entertainment and recreation.  Navy Pier has shops, restaurants, and attractions including amusement rides, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and the 32,000-square-foot Crystal Gardens. One of the best things about Navy Pier is the amazing views of the famed Chicago skyline and the grand sprawling shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Navy Pier in Winter (©Jody Diehl)

Another “Best of Navy Pier” is that entry is free. Here are just a few of our family’s favorite free things at Chicago’s Navy Pier, straight from their very thorough website:

“Dock Street, which runs the length of the Pier’s South Dock, is reserved for pedestrians, bicyclists and joggers. In season, four performance areas feature entertainment ranging from jugglers, mimes and stilt walkers to comedians, singers and musicians. Chicago’s dinner cruise ships continue to operate from Dock Street. And, on select summer evenings, fireworks entertain the Pier’s evening visitors.” 

Photo ©Jody Diehl

Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier (Photo ©Jody Diehl)

“The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is a permanent display of 150 stained glass windows housed in an 800-ft.-long series of galleries along the lower level terraces of Festival Hall. Open since February 2000, it is the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to stained glass windows. It showcases both secular and religious windows and is divided by artistic theme into four categories: Victorian, Prairie, Modern and Contemporary.”

“At the eastern-most edge of the 3,000-foot Pier is the historic East End. Offering the city’s best view of the spectacular skyline and lakefront, the East End also is the perfect place for lunch or a sunset stroll. Period light fixtures, a myriad of flags, picnic benches and wide pedestrian promenades mirror the Pier of the past.

Another Navy Pier family favorite is the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  They put on excellent productions with stellar performances,  clever twists and very creative costuming. Tickets are rather reasonably priced for these first class presentations.

Finally, is a visit to Chicago’s Navy Pier really complete without a ride ($) on the 150-foot-high Ferris Wheel where you’ll have stunning views of the beautiful City of Chicago and its gorgeous Lake Michigan shoreline? I think not.

Navy Pier is the perfect family getaway in any season!

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