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Eating and Entertainment at Navy Pier

A children's museum, Ferris wheel, Shakespeare Theater and great grub
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.7 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Navy Pier has been through a lot since it opened in 1916 as an entertainment venue and Great Lakes cargo facility. During its life,... more »

Tips:  Bring a jacket if you want to stroll the outdoor promenade. There is rarely a day when the winds aren't blowing in off of Lake... more »

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Points of Interest

Here you'll find the Chicago Children's Museum, one of the best children's museums in the country, and the Navy Pier IMAX theater.

There's also a food court featuring chain restaurants such as McDonald's and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. as well as a local favorite, the upscale sports-themed Harry Caray's Tavern, founded by the legendary Chicago... More

2. Crystal Garden

This is a gorgeous, quiet place out of the madding crowds to sit and think.

3. Pier Park

Home to the seasonal Pepsi Skyline Stage, an outdoor theater under a tent, and the most recent additions to Navy Pier: a mini amusement park with traditional rides, such as a Ferris wheel and carousel, both upsized to serve the City of Big Shoulders.

Grab an ice cream at Haagen Dazs, wade through the crowds and browse the shops and kiosks that line the walkways and sell everything from tourist tchotchkes to clothes.

If you want something more substantial to eat, pop into Billy Goat Tavern, a Chicago icon, for a "cheezborger, cheezborger, no fries—chips, no Pepsi—Coke." This is the greasy... More

The first floor of Festival Hall is home to a treasure of a free museum: the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.

This 800-foot-long museum is tucked along the sides of the walkway. It is a permanent exhibit of 150 stained glass windows, many of them taken from Chicago-area houses or churches, including windows created by Louis Comfort Tiffany... More

6. Grand Ballroom

This is the eastern most point of the Pier. The Grand Ballroom is often the site of expos and other convention-type events, but peek inside if you can. The structure was built in 1916 and boasts a magnificent 80-foot domed ceiling.

Venture outside for an unparalleled view of the city's skyline while you brave the stiff winds off of Lake Michigan... More

7. Take a boat ride on Lake Michigan

You're on Lake Michigan, after all. If you happen to be there during the warmer months, take a ride on the water.

The south side of Navy Pier is lined with boats, so pick the one that matches your water personality and family budget—the 148-foot Tall Ship Windy, the flashy speedboat Seadog, sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises or private charters... More