Chicago’s treasured lakefront destination kicks off the season with the popular Aon Summer Fireworks and Live on the Lake! music series, followed by several other free programs, including the new Wave Wall Wax series.
CHICAGO – Navy Pier, Chicago’s year-round lakefront destination, is kicking off a new season of free arts and cultural programs with the return of the popular Aon Summer Fireworks and Live on the Lake! music series at the Miller Lite Beer Garden, plus a new live DJ music series, Wave Wall Wax, starting Memorial Day weekend. These programs launch a 15-week arts and cultural extravaganza at the Pier, complete with top local talent and world-renowned works in cinema, dance, music, public art, theater and more – all of which serve as the perfect complement to the many dining, retail and leisure experiences across the Pier.
“Navy Pier is steadfastly evolving into a year-round destination for arts, culture, entertainment and education, serving as a premier platform for local artists to showcase their work and positioning the Pier as a go-to destination for guests to experience the diversity of the city’s rich cultural scene,” said Navy Pier Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer Michelle T. Boone. “We look forward to continuing to deliver dynamic experiences this summer and beyond as we bring back many of the popular programs from last year and introduce some new ones that are sure to enhance the guest experience.”
Aon Summer Fireworks
It is always a sure sign of summertime in Chicago when the Aon Summer Fireworks return to Navy Pier. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, catch the Pier’s signature 10-minute firework display synchronized to music every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10:15 p.m. This year, there will be a number of special soundtracks to accompany fireworks, including traditional patriotic music for the Fourth of July Fireworks presented by Miller Lite; Latin music for the new music festival, LatiNxt presented by Sol, on June 16; house music in celebration of Navy Pier Pride presented by American Airlines on June 23; and soul music for the new music festival, Chi-Soul Music Fest, on June 30.
Live on the Lake!
Beginning Friday, May 25, enjoy the sights and sounds of Live on the Lake!, the Pier’s free music series held in one of the city’s most idyllic outdoor venues along the lakefront, the Miller Lite Beer Garden. With a wide selection of entertainment, food, MillerCoors products and more, Live on the Lake! provides guests with a well-rounded outdoor music experience between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Every Wednesday, catch classic blues performances, courtesy of Buddy Guy’s Legends. On Thursdays, move and groove to different styles of music at Pier Dance, led by some of the city’s top dance instructors. Fridays and Saturdays feature various genres of music each week – from country and pop, to R&B and rock – while Sundays spotlight reggae and other international music. With an eclectic mix of musical offerings, this year’s Live on the Lake! series is sure to entertain guests as top local artists – such as the JC Brooks Band, Sixteen Candles, Tinsley Ellis and more – hit the Miller Lite Beer Garden stage. Click here to view the full schedule.
Wave Wall Wax
New this year, Navy Pier guests will be treated to live DJ music at the Wave Wall Platform on the South Dock every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Enjoy different genres of music by Chicago’s top spin masters while taking in unparalleled views of the iconic Chicago skyline and serene Lake Michigan from the center of the Pier. The DJ lineup includes premier local talent, including Sadie Woods, Rae Chardonnay, Jesse de la Pena, Steve “Miggedy” Maestro and more. Click here to view the full lineup.
These series are just a few of many free arts and cultural programs offered at the Pier this season and beyond. See below for the full listing of Navy Pier’s summer programming. Events are subject to change.
Live on the Lake! May 25 – September 2 Wednesdays – Sundays
Water Colors Presented in partnership with Jazz Institute of Chicago July 6 – August 24 Fridays | 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Aon Summer Fireworks May 26 – September 1 Wednesdays | 9:30 p.m. Saturdays | 10:15 p.m.
Water Towers by Ivan Navarro Presented in partnership with EXPO Chicago July 7, 2018 – April 30, 2019
Wave Wall Wax May 26 – September 1 Saturdays | 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fresh Fest! Presented by Allstate Insurance Company July 12 | 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. • July 13 | 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Summer Fitness Presented by LifeStart June 5 – August 28 Tuesdays | 6 p.m. (Rush Hour Workout); 7:30 p.m. (Sunset Yoga)
Nkulee Dube & The Lucky Dube Celebration Tour Presented in partnership with Old Town School of Folk Music July 14 | 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
LatiNxt Presented by Sol Presented in partnership with Future Rootz June 15 – July 16
Chicago Human Rhythm Project Tap Fest July 18 | 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Quinceañera Presented in partnership with National Museum of Mexican Art June 15 | 6 p.m. • July 15 | 2 p.m. • August 15 | 6 p.m.
Soapbox Science July 21 | 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Water Flicks Presented in partnership with Chicago International Film Festival and Broadway in Chicago June 18 – August 20 Mondays | 7 p.m.
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream July 25 – July 28 | 7 p.m.
Wiggleworms Presented in partnership with Old Town School of Folk Music June 20 – August 24 Wednesdays and Fridays | 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
After School Matters Youth Showcase August 7 | 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Make Music Chicago Presented in partnership with International Music Foundation June 21 | 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Noche Caribeña Presented in partnership with Puerto Rican Arts Alliance August 11 | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Navy Pier Pride Presented by American Airlines June 23 | Noon to midnight
Special Consensus Presented in partnership with Old Town School of Folk Music August 12 | 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Chi-Soul Fest June 25 – 30
Korean Independence Day Celebration Presented in partnership with Asian Arts Improv Midwest August 15 | 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
For more details, visit www.navypier.org or download the Navy Pier app on any Android or iOS device.
About Navy Pier
Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit cultural destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming more than 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. In 2018, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion, Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, 220-room hotel and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. For more information, visit www.navypier.org or download the free Navy Pier app for Android and iOS device users.
Navy Pier Mission Statement
Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.