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Navy Pier free

600 East Grand Avenue | Chicago, IL 60611 | Official website
Navy Pier Photo info
Rob Wilson/Shutterstock
  • Type: Amusement Parks
  • Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Overall Rating: 4.5 U.S. News Travel (4.3)
Value: 5.0 (5.0)
Facilities: 4.0 (4.0)
Atmosphere: 4.5 (4.5)
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Extending out onto Lake Michigan, Navy Pier offers plenty in the way of family-friendly entertainment. The first think you'll spot once you set foot on the pier is the towering Ferris wheel; you'll also find a swing-seat ride and a carousel. Once the kids have had their fill of thrill rides, you can spend some time practicing your putt at the 18-hole miniature golf course, wander through the Funhouse Maze or spend a few hours exploring the Chicago Children's Museum, with hands-on exhibits ranging from treehouses to firetrucks.

But you don't have to be a kid to enjoy a visit to Navy Pier. Grown-ups can catch a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, flex some credit card muscle at a variety of shops or grab a drink at the Landshark Beer Garden. Just be sure to check Navy Pier's calendar of events: Concerts are often held here, and during the summer (and New Year's Eve), impressive fireworks displays are the norm.

The Navy Pier complex is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, though some attractions may be closed during the winter months. You don't have to pay to enjoy the pier (or its evening fireworks); however, individual attractions along the pier charge their own fees. For specific pricing information and to see a calendar of upcoming events, check out the Navy Pier website. Navy Pier extends east of the Streeterville neighborhood just north of the Chicago River. The closest "L" train station — Grand-Red, serviced by the Red Line — is located just less than a mile due west of the pier's entrance. There are also several buses servicing Navy Pier, including route Nos. 2, 26, 65, 66 and 124.

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