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Fun and Free Things to do in Chicago at Navy Pier

Looking for fun and free things to do in Chicago? There’s always something going on at Navy Pier! From cultural programming and seasonal celebrations to special events, festivals, fireworks and more, discover fun and free Chicago events at Navy Pier all year long.

See also: free events & public programs

Navy Pier, Chicago’s mission-driven cultural district, proudly offers free events and public programming year-round. See a full listing of Navy Pier’s ongoing free events and public programs

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

May 30 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 2 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 6 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 9 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 13 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 16 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jun 20 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 20 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jun 22 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 23 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jun 27 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 27 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jun 29 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jun 30 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jul 6 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jul 7 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jul 14 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Quinceañera

Quinceañera

Jul 15 @ 2:00 pm - 3:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on July 15, 2018 at 2:00pm

One event on August 15, 2018 at 2:00pm

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jul 18 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jul 18 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jul 20 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jul 21 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jul 25 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Free Public Program

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Jul 25 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 7:00pm, repeating until July 28, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jul 25 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Free Public Program

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Jul 26 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 7:00pm, repeating until July 28, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Jul 27 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Free Public Program

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Jul 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 7:00pm, repeating until July 28, 2018

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Free Public Program

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Jul 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every day that begins at 7:00pm, repeating until July 28, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Jul 28 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 1 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 1 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 3 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 4 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 8 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 8 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 10 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 15 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 17 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 18 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 22 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 22 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Wiggleworms Free Public Program

Wiggleworms

Aug 24 @ 10:00 am - 11:45 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:00am on Wednesday and Friday, repeating until August 24, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 25 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Aug 29 @ 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Aon Summer Fireworks Free Public Program

Aon Summer Fireworks

Sep 1 @ 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:15pm on Saturday, repeating until September 1, 2018

An event every week that begins at 9:30pm on Wednesday, repeating until August 29, 2018

Upcoming Events

Chakaia Booker: Four Sculptures

Free Public Program

Friday, April 20, 2018 - Tuesday, April 30, 2019

View four sculptural works by artist Chakaia Booker, on display in locations throughout Navy Pier starting April 20, 2018.

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Since 1994 Chakaia Booker has made abstract sculptures from discarded rubber tires salvaged from city streets, auto body shops, and dump sites. Cutting, shredding, bending, and transforming them into wild organic shapes, she creates objects that evoke the human body and spirit, without being literal representations.  Today, she works almost exclusively with recycled tires—slicing, twisting, stripping, weaving, and riveting rubber and radials to create and exaggerate the textures, prickled edges, and torqued forms of her radical refashioning. Whether she is creating small-scale wall reliefs resembling ballistic blowouts, suggestively hairy and ovoid pedestal sculptures, or colossal landscape-like tableaux, Booker transforms tires—iconic symbols of urban waste and blight—into extraordinary compositions of renewal.

Booker received a B.A. in sociology from Rutgers University in 1976, and an M.F.A. from the City College of New York in 1993. She gained international acclaim at the 2000 Whitney Biennial with It’s So Hard to Be Green (2000), her 12.5 x 21 foot wall-hung tire sculpture. Booker received the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2002 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. She has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally.

Six sculptures by Booker have been on view in Millennium Park since 2016; four of those works will come to Navy Pier this April (two sited on Illinois Street just outside the entrance of Navy Pier; one on the south dock at the entrance; and one in Pier Park).

Pass the Buck

2008; Rubber tires and stainless steel, 102 x 96 x 84 inches

Booker’s inspiration for this sculpture was Madam C. J. Walker–best known for developing a successful line of hair-care and beauty products for black women–and considered by many to be the first African American businesswoman and philanthropist. For the artist, this sculpture evokes the pursuit of success and giving back to society.

Take Out

2008

Take Out is a whimsical piece embellished with large, looping, swirling tendrils of tire. Evoking photographs and reflections through its frame- or mirror-like rectangular shape, Take Out invites viewers to explore and engage in the Chicago cityscape and alternately, views of the Centennial Wheel in Pier Park.

Shape Shifter

2012; Rubber tires and stainless steel, 192 x 102 x 78 inches

 

Gridlock

2008; Rubber tire and stainless steel, 2 pieces, 100 x 48 x 20 inches

Gridlock represents a symbol of human journey and life—shows an interplay of concave and convex spaces. The title references travel patterns in cities.

“My work challenges the notion that tires are uniformly black. I want to encourage people to examine assumptions about color, patterns, textures, and functions…. Also, our assumptions about most subject matter, including people, their diversity, and the diversity of ideas and perceptions.” – Chakaia Booker

Macbeth
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - Sunday, June 24, 2018
Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Magic, witches, dark moors, and stunning sights will delight and trick the eye.

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The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
By William Shakespeare
Adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller

The famed creators behind Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s sold-out The Tempest, Aaron Posner and Teller (of Penn & Teller), reunite for a new, enchanted take on “the Scottish play.” Diving into the psyches of Macbeth and his Lady, Shakespeare’s seductive, twisted text delivers an explosive, unforgettable examination of what drives a person to risk utter destruction for power. Magic, witches, dark moors, and stunning sights will delight and trick the eye. Presented in the flexible performance space of The Yard, a unique configuration specifically designed for this show will perfectly match Teller’s and Posner’s wild imaginings in a thrilling culmination to the season.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com.

Waiting for Godot
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - Sunday, June 3, 2018
Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Ireland’s prestigious Druid Theatre is back with an enthralling new interpretation of Beckett’s seminal work.

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Chicago Shakespeare Theater‘s Courtyard Theater
A World’s Stage Production from Ireland
By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Garry Hynes

Ireland’s prestigious Druid Theatre is back with an enthralling new interpretation of Beckett’s seminal work, Waiting for Godot.

In one on the most acclaimed plays of the 20th century, two friends wait at the end of the world for the arrival of the mysterious Godot. To pass the time, they debate life’s great unanswered questions, until two figures appear at dusk. Druid, recognized as one of the world’s greatest acting ensembles, returns after their previous CST engagements of The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Walworth Farce with this universally acclaimed production of Beckett’s classic. Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Odyssey Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises
Friday, May 25, 2018 - Monday, May 28, 2018
Odyssey

Jump-start summer with a Memorial Day Weekend Cruise featuring creative cuisine, a live DJ and stunning views of Chicago’s skyline on the Odyssey Chicago.

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With Memorial Day Weekend’s arrival comes the beginning of summer. Start the season on a high note with a cruise aboard Odyssey Chicago. Sailing all weekend long, join us out on Lake Michigan for creative plated cuisine, DJ entertainment, gracious service and stunning views of Chicago’s famous skyline. Can you think of a better way to jump-start summer.

Odyssey Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises

Available May 25-28: 

• Two- to three-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• A three-course plated dinner with attentive tableside service
• Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea, water and well-stocked cash bar
• The most breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline and attractions
• Curated music selection from our onboard DJ and dance floor
• Cruise times and prices may vary. Check the details for your specific date.

For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or book your cruise online.

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises
Friday, May 25, 2018 - Monday, May 28, 2018 | 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Spirit of Chicago

Celebrate the summer season with spectacular views of Navy Pier’s summer fireworks by booking a Memorial Day Weekend cruise aboard Spirit of Chicago!

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Kick off the start of summer and Navy Pier’s Fireworks season with a Memorial Day Weekend cruise aboard Spirit of Chicago! Taste Spirit’s new buffet menu, dance to music from our onboard DJ and take in amazing views of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan. 

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises

Available May 25-28: 

• Two- to three-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Delicious buffet with a wide variety of freshly prepared cuisine
• Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea, water and well-stocked cash bar
• The best views of the Chicago skyline
• DJ music, dance floor & deck games (giant jenga, shuffleboard etc.)

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Available May 26: 

• 3-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Buffet-Style Dinner Menu + cash bar
• Incredible views of the skyline & fireworks display (weather permitting)
• Onboard entertainment with live DJ, dance floor & interactive games
• Board 7:45pm | Cruise 8:30 – 11:30pm | Price from $109.90*

For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or book your cruise online.

Mystic Blue Memorial Day Weekend Cruises
Saturday, May 26, 2018 - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Mystic Blue

Begin summer with a fun and exciting cruise aboard Mystic Blue! You’ll enjoy tasty buffets, DJ entertainment and amazing views of the Chicago skyline!

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Memorial Day Weekend will be here before you know it. This year, kick off the summer with a fun and exciting cruise aboard Mystic Blue! You’ll enjoy tasty buffets, dance to energetic DJ entertainment and be treated to incredible views of the stunning Chicago skyline.

Mystic Blue Memorial Day Weekend Cruise

Available May 6: 

• Two- to three-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Delicious buffet with a wide variety of freshly prepared cuisine
• Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea, water and well-stocked cash bar
• Amazing views of the Chicago Skyline
• DJ music, access to shared spaces & interactive games

Mystic Blue Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Available May 26: 

• A three-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Buffet-Style Dinner Menu + cash bar
• Incredible views of Navy Pier’s fireworks display (weather permitting)
• Onboard entertainment with live DJ, dance floor & interactive games
• Board 7:45pm | Cruise 8:30 – 11:30pm | Price from $109.90*

For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or book your cruise online.

bubly Sparkling Water Sampling
Sunday, May 27, 2018 | 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Polk Bros Park Promenade

Taste bubly, a new product that combines refreshing, crisp sparkling water with great tasting, natural flavors.

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Navy Pier is giving consumers the opportunity to taste bubly, a new product that combines refreshing, crisp sparkling water with great tasting, natural flavors perfect for any occasion. Each package comes with a different smile and greeting to match the unique personality of the flavor. bubly brings you those unexpected, spontaneous moments where you can’t help but crack a smile. No calories, no sweeteners, all smiles.

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises
Sunday, May 27, 2018 | 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Spirit of Chicago

Celebrate the summer season with spectacular views of Navy Pier’s summer fireworks by booking a Memorial Day Weekend cruise aboard Spirit of Chicago!

Read More

Kick off the start of summer and Navy Pier’s Fireworks season with a Memorial Day Weekend cruise aboard Spirit of Chicago! Taste Spirit’s new buffet menu, dance to music from our onboard DJ and take in amazing views of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan. 

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises

Available May 25-28: 

• Two- to three-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Delicious buffet with a wide variety of freshly prepared cuisine
• Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea, water and well-stocked cash bar
• The best views of the Chicago skyline
• DJ music, dance floor & deck games (giant jenga, shuffleboard etc.)

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Available May 26: 

• 3-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Buffet-Style Dinner Menu + cash bar
• Incredible views of the skyline & fireworks display (weather permitting)
• Onboard entertainment with live DJ, dance floor & interactive games
• Board 7:45pm | Cruise 8:30 – 11:30pm | Price from $109.90*

For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or book your cruise online.

Live on the Lake!: Gizzae

Free Public Program

Sunday, May 27, 2018 | 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Miller Lite Beer Garden

Playing a free, all ages show with special guests DJ Papa G and Sonex.

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Join us in the Miller Lite Beer Garden for a free, all-ages show with reggae band, Gizzae, and special guests, DJ Papa G and Sonex, part of Navy Pier’s free music and dance seriesLive on the Lake! 

Performance Schedule

Gizzae
Raggae
5:30pm – 6:30pm & 7pm – 8pm

DJ Papa G
Reggae/Dancehall
4:30pm – 5:30pm & 6:30pm – 7pm

Sonex
World Music
2pm – 3pm & 3:30pm – 4:30pm

About the Performers

Gizzae

Gizzae is truly a band of the world – With musicians hailing from the four corners of the Earth, Rocket and Gizzae have been playing for crowds across the country for over 35 years! Their musical experiences have collectively earned them Grammy® awards, Chicago Music Awards and they have opened for some of the biggest names in Reggae. They have also recorded and played professionally with such acts as:

Ziggy Marley, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Third World, Toots and Maytals, Burning Spear, Carly Simon, The Talking Heads, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Chachi, Michael Black, Moja Nya, Dallol, Rude Beat Society, The Mighty Baron of Trinidad, Bell Combo and many others.

Working and playing with such a vast array of musical styles and talents has enabled Gizzae to create a unique blend of Roots Reggae.

Gizzae’s brand of jam-reggae is always backed with strong guitar solos and riffing, warm pads and ambient vibes from the dual keyboardists.

Some songs are heavily influenced by Soca and Calypso and other genres such as jazz and even rock. Just when you think you’ve heard everything Gizzae has to offer, the band instinctively and seamlessly transitions into Bob Marley reggae/blues finale to satisfy the keyboard and guitar solo fans. This is the way to see a Chicago reggae band!

Formed in 1992 after the breakup of Dallol (Ziggy Marley’s Touring Band) and Moja Nya (New York), Gizzae soon became a fan favorite in the Chicago and Midwest reggae scene. A Sunday night staple at the fledgling Wild Hare, fans started to come out to hear this new reggae band in force and 25 years later, they still rock the house.

If you like live jams and wicked solos, come dance the night away with Gizzae!

Learn more at gizzae.com

DJ Papa G

Learn more at facebook.com/papa.george.33

Sonex

Sonex was formed in 2005, combining the tradition of the Son Jarocho from Doña Elena Ramírez, Don Arcadio Hidalgo, Don Andrés Vega, their dances, verses, melodies and chord progressions with rhythms and sounds influenced by different musical genres like the traditional African Music, Afro-Peruvian Music and Venezuelan music, others like Flamenco, Salsa music, and the urban tendencies: Blues, Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, Rock, Reggae, among others like World Music.

Learn more at facebook.com/sonex

About this Series: Live on the Lake!

This free, all ages concert is presented as part of Live on the Lake!, Navy Pier’s free summer music series in the Miller Lite Beer Garden

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises
Monday, May 28, 2018 | 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Spirit of Chicago

Celebrate the summer season with spectacular views of Navy Pier’s summer fireworks by booking a Memorial Day Weekend cruise aboard Spirit of Chicago!

Read More

Kick off the start of summer and Navy Pier’s Fireworks season with a Memorial Day Weekend cruise aboard Spirit of Chicago! Taste Spirit’s new buffet menu, dance to music from our onboard DJ and take in amazing views of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan. 

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Cruises

Available May 25-28: 

• Two- to three-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Delicious buffet with a wide variety of freshly prepared cuisine
• Unlimited coffee, hot tea, iced tea, water and well-stocked cash bar
• The best views of the Chicago skyline
• DJ music, dance floor & deck games (giant jenga, shuffleboard etc.)

Spirit of Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Available May 26: 

• 3-hour cruise on Lake Michigan
• Buffet-Style Dinner Menu + cash bar
• Incredible views of the skyline & fireworks display (weather permitting)
• Onboard entertainment with live DJ, dance floor & interactive games
• Board 7:45pm | Cruise 8:30 – 11:30pm | Price from $109.90*

For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or book your cruise online.

Live on the Lake!: The Last Revel

Free Public Program

Monday, May 28, 2018 | 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Miller Lite Beer Garden

Playing a free, all ages show with special guests Adrian+Meredith.

Read More

Join us in the Miller Lite Beer Garden for a free, all-ages show with front porch Americana band, The Last Revel, and special guests, Adrian+Meredith, part of Navy Pier’s free music and dance series, Live on the Lake

Performance Schedule

Last Revel
Front Porch Americana
5:30pm – 6:30pm & 7pm – 8pm

Adrian + Meredith
Americana
2pm – 3pm & 3:30pm – 4:30pm

About the Performers

The Last Revel

From the budding music scene of the Upper Midwest comes the cutting edge Front Porch Americana soundscapes of The Last Revel. This powerfully talented trio of multi-instrumentalists from Minneapolis, Minnesota so naturally blends the genres of Folk, Rockabilly, Old Time String-Band and Rock to create a sound that is as equally original as it is timeless.

The Last Revel trio utilizes their multi-instrumental abilities to bring the acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, 5-string banjo, harmonica, kick drum and three-part vocal harmonies together to consistently deliver “Bombastic live performances”, as well as delicate and haunting folk ballads.

Having released their third album Hazard & Fate in April of 2017, The Last Revel further demonstrates their ability to create rich and delicately textured recorded material with a modern “tip of the hat” to the storied history of American folk music.

Learn more at thelastrevel.com

Adrian+Meredith

In a city filled with country cowboys and sit-on-a-stool songwriters, Adrian+Meredith make a different sort of roots racket. More Than A Little, their debut record, finds the East Nashville-based duo putting its own spin on Americana music, roughing up the genre’s edges with the rule-breaking spirit of punk, the vintage twang of old-timey folk, the sneer of rock & roll, and even the frenetic bounce of early Swing and Jazz manouche.

Both coincidently from the Detroit area, Adrian was raised on punk-rock in the DIY history of Washington DC, with a carnival barker’s croon and an off-the-wall “clawhammer banjo” approach to the acoustic guitar. Meanwhile, Meredith was Michigan-music native who cut her teeth in the old-time music scene, where she played traditional fiddle and clogged. Since then, the pair’s have been touring relentlessly, swapping harmonies, trading solos, and acting as co-pilots throughout their debut album, and US and UK tours.

“Adrian+Meredith’s music produces a rallying cry from two road warriors who, after more than a dozen combined years in the music business, are too smart to play by the industry’s rules and too enthralled to turn their backs.”

Learn more at adrianplusmeredith.com

About this Series: Live on the Lake!

This free, all ages concert is presented as part of Live on the Lake!, Navy Pier’s free summer music series in the Miller Lite Beer Garden

Odyssey Chicago Prix Fixe Dinner Cruise
Monday, May 28, 2018 | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Odyssey

Odyssey Chicago presents a special prix fixe menu and evening cruise, your opportunity to try one of Chicago’s most unique dining experiences at an incredible price.

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Odyssey Chicago presents a special prix fixe menu and evening cruise. It’s your opportunity to try one of Chicago’s most unique dining experiences at an incredible price. Enjoy Odyssey’s distinctive atmosphere, engaging DJ entertainment and a delicious menu as you watch the sun set on the city – the perfect way to start or end your week.

Odyssey Chicago Prix Fixe Dinner Cruise

• A 2-hour dinner cruise featuring gorgeous views, at an incredible price
• Prix Fixe Plated Dinner Menu
• Onboard entertainment with DJ music
• Board: 6:30pm | Cruise: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
• Price: starting from $69.90 per person*
• Cruise times and prices may vary. Check the details for your specific date.

For reservations, call 888.957.2634 or book your cruise online.

Live on the Lake!: Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

Free Public Program

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 5:15 pm - 9:30 pm
Miller Lite Beer Garden

Playing a free, all ages show with special guest Lauren Mitchell.

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Join us in the Miller Lite Beer Garden for a free, all-ages show with blues band, Morry Sochat & The Special 20s, and special guest, Lauren Mitchell, part of Navy Pier’s free music and dance series, Live on the Lake

Performance Schedule

Morry Sochat & The Special 20s
Blues
7pm – 8pm & 8:30pm – 9:30pm

Lauren Mitchell
Blues
5:15pm – 6:15pm

About the Performers

Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

Morry Sochat and The Special 20’s are bringing a fresh sound to the Chicago Blues scene. They mix classic Chicago Blues with Swing and Rock N’ Roll from the 1950’s. The band is influenced by the best in blues history. Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Louis Jordan, Junior Wells, and all of the Chicago greats.

Morry Sochat (pronounced Socket) moved to Chicago from Texas in 1990. He started playing harmonica in 2000, taking lessons from renowned teacher, Joe Filisko at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He played with The Shakes and Tongue & Groove before starting The Special 20s in 2005. Their first, self-titled release, recorded in 2006, was received with great reviews, taking the 20s from playing one or two nights a month to constant bookings all over the city. Morry has been playing around the city learning from the greats in Chicago, playing with Dave Specter, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Billy Flynn and Barrelhouse Chuck.

In 2007, Sochat took the next step and went out on his own. He hired some of the best musicians in Chicago to round out The Special 20s. In 2008, they returned to the studio to record a new CD. The recording Swingin’ Shufflin’ Smokin’ was produced by Nick Moss and featured Ted Beranis, Kenny Smith, Dave Ross, Nick Krebs, Shoji Naito, and Jim St. Marie. The CD was also met with rave reviews. This opened up doors for the band across the US.

In 2010 Morry took the band back to the studio to release Eatin’ Dirt. The CD was produced by Jimmy Sutton, and features 10 original songs. The band has grown in both skill level and size, adding a horn section on a lot of the songs. Eating’ Dirt was a sound expansion for the band.  It was the first CD that brought in the horn section.  The recording featured the line up of  Marty Binder, Doug Corcoran, Shoji Naito, Chris Neal, Jim St. Marie and Ted Beranis. It has special guests Billy Flynn, Dave Hererro, and Brother John on the CD.  The sound is vintage with a modern feel.

The new album, Dig In was released on November 24th, 2015.  It was recorded with the same band as Eatin’ Dirt with the addition of Billy Flynn.  Tim Bluhm, from the Mother Hips, produced the CD.  It was a crazy recording session.  We got 19 inches of snow on the first day.  The album came out great!!!

The band is cooking on all cylinders so get out and see them live.

Learn more at special20s.com

Lauren Mitchell

The year 2016 was one of large-scale and unexpected change for Tampa Bay area blues and soul vocalist Lauren Mitchell. During a tumultuous time in both her personal and professional life, she was given the opportunity to rise from the challenges she was facing and make the album of her career with producer Tony Braunagel. Mitchell took the leap of faith because she is a true student of the blues, a music that’s all about finding a way to transform difficult experiences into something cathartic. The timing was perfect. She had an album to record.

That album, “Desire,” is her most fully realized musical statement to date. Through a bold mix of her own original material, songs she hand-picked from the repertoires of her friends, and select covers of tunes first performed by Etta James, Bettye Lavette, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Betty Davis, Mitchell tells a blues story that’s been a lifetime in the making. It’s a stylistically varied set of 13 songs expertly recorded by drummer and Grammy-winning producer Tony Braunagel, whose work with Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and Robert Cray have made him one of today’s most in-demand blues industry professionals.

Recorded during a ten-day trip to Los Angeles, Braunagel brought out the best in Mitchell, highlighting every nuance in her powerful vocals and helping her craft an emotionally resonant album that’s destined to go down as one of the year’s highlights. Besides Braunagel, the band features guitarists Johnny Lee Schell and Josh Sklair, keyboardist Jim Pugh, bassist Reggie McBride, sax player Joe Sublett, trumpet player Darrell Leonard, and percussionist Lenny Castro. “The blues is a song of victory,” Mitchell says. “It’s a way to say, ‘I’m over it,’ and now I’m turning it into this beautiful thing that can help someone else heal. That’s what this record is for me.”

Learn more at laurenmitchellband.com

About this Series: Live on the Lake!

This free, all ages concert is presented as part of Live on the Lake!, Navy Pier’s free summer music series in the Miller Lite Beer Garden

Aon Summer Fireworks

Free Public Program

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm
Navy Pier

Enjoy a dazzling fireworks display over Lake Michigan twice per week at Navy Pier!

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Navy Pier is Chicago’s bi-weekly destination for spectacular, free fireworks displays perfectly synchronized to music on Lake Michigan. Navy Pier’s Aon Summer Fireworks occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  

View Full Aon Summer Fireworks Schedule

Live on the Lake! Pier Dance: Fat Babies

Free Public Program

Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Miller Lite Beer Garden

Playing a free, all ages show with a special swing dance lesson with instructor Nicolle Wood.

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Join us in the Miller Lite Beer Garden for a free, all-ages show with classic jazz band, The Fat Babies, and a special swing dance lesson with Nicolle Wood, part of Navy Pier’s free music and dance series, Live on the Lake

Performance Schedule

The Fat Babies
Classic Jazz
6:30pm – 7:15pm & 7:45pm – 8:30pm

Swing Dance Lesson with Nicolle Wood
Instructor
6pm – 6:30pm and 7:15pm-7:45pm

About the Performers

The Fat Babies

The Fat Babies are a seven piece jazz band interpreting classic styles of the 1920s and 30s. Founded in 2010 by string bass player Beau Sample, its members include Andy Schumm (cornet), John Otto (reeds), Dave Bock (trombone), John Donatowicz (banjo and guitar), Paul Asaro(piano), and Alex Hall (drums).

“Ensembles that play early-period jazz are in perpetually short supply, and those that handle repertoire of Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and other pioneers at a high technical and artistic level are rarer still. That makes Chicago’s Fat Babies a band to be treasured, these musicians dispatching pre-bebop music with the passion and respect it deserves but rarely receives.” – Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune

Learn more at thefatbabies.com

Nicolle Wood

Nicolle has been teaching American social dance forms of the swing era since 1996, and has taught and performed in Paris, Toulouse, Stuttgart and Munich in addition to across the US. 

Founder and Director of The Galaxie and The Galaxie Girls, she has created events and entertained audiences in the many tens of thousands over the years. Most often she runs a one woman show backstage creating costumes, choreography, hair and make-up, music edits, training her students and performers in tap, Charleston, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Shag and Blues, serves as the contract writer, the booking agent, the web designer, the historian and the accountant. She’s even been know Chef on occasion (If Chef is actually a verb).

Her idea to host  Chorus Girl University and The International Chorus Girl Championships emerged out of decades of hosting events related to the social dance and performance community, starting off as one of the main producers of the world’s first Lindy Exchange in 1998, and continuing on throughout the years with dozens of unique nationally attended events and original concepts related to the Vintage Music and Dance community.

Learn more at galaxiechicago.com

About this Series: Live on the Lake!

This free, all ages concert is presented as part of Live on the Lake!, Navy Pier’s free summer music series in the Miller Lite Beer Garden

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