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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

Upcoming Events

Aon Summer Fireworks

Free Public Program

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 9:30 pm - 9:40 pm

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

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Breath of Hope Yoga and Social 2019
Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The third annual Breath of Hope Yoga and Social event will be held at the Navy Pier. Join fellow yogis as we stretch and pose along Lake Michigan, followed by a fun social hour.

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The third annual Breath of Hope Yoga and Social event will be held at the Navy Pier on Thursday, August 22. Join fellow yogis as we stretch and pose along Lake Michigan and towards one of the greatest skylines in the world, Chicago. Relaxing guitar and our favorite DJ will accompany our gurus through yoga and meditation. Following yoga, social hour will take place where you can bid on our silent action items and enjoy bites and beverages. Alcoholic beverages will also be available for purchase from Navy Pier’s Beer Garden.

Don’t yoga? There is a lounge area for you to sit back and watch your friend’s yoga as you take in the lake.

BYOM (Bring You Own Mat) is strongly encouraged!

Come join us for this fun filled night and spread awareness. 100% of the proceeds go towards funding LAM Research, supporting LAM patients and providing expert healthcare.

About

Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, also known as LAM, is a progressive lung disease that typically strikes women during the prime of their lives. Although great strides have been made in researching the disease, there is no cure. The LAM Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization which urgently seeks safe and effective treatments, and ultimately a cure, for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) through advocacy and the funding of promising research. 100% of funds raised at this event will go to The LAM Foundation to help find effective treatments, supply important patient resources, and help to raise awareness of this rare, often misdiagnosed disease.

Tentative Schedule:

6:00 pm: Check in and LAM Challenge

7:00 PM: Mindful Yoga Flow with Sophia Williams and Cage & Aquarium DJ, Ed Clemons

7:30 PM: Restorative Meditation and Soundscape with Kristin Urbanus and Sophia Williams

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Silent Auction and Social

Wiggleworms

Free Public Program

Friday, August 23, 2019 | 10:00 am - 11:45 am

Free public program! Experience Old Town School of Folk Music’s celebrated early childhood music program at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park featuring Anne-Marie Akin & Lenny Marsh.

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Free and open to the public! Join us at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier for Wiggleworms, Old Town School of Folk Music’s celebrated early childhood music program. This free program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers features two back-to-back 45-minute performances, separated by a 15-minute break. Come sing, clap and play along!

Session 1: 10am-10:45am
Session 2: 11am-11:45am

Performers

Anne-Marie Akin & Lenny Marsh


View the full schedule of upcoming Wiggleworms performances at Navy Pier at navypier.org/wiggleworms.

About This Series

Since 1985, Wiggleworms, the Old Town School of Folk Music’s celebrated early childhood music program, has welcomed young children and their families to the world of music. Children sing, dance, learn finger plays and story songs, and explore rhythm instruments especially designed for little hands. For children newborn through four years, it’s the perfect time for these special experiences with the language of music. 

Learn more about Wiggleworms at Navy Pier, and be sure to check out all of Navy Pier’s free events and programs throughout the year. 

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Friday, August 23, 2019 | 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Friday, August 23, 2019 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Water Colors</br>King Oliver’s Lawn Party! 100 Years of Jazz in Chicago

Free Public Program

Friday, August 23, 2019 | 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Free public program! An all-ages concert, part of Water Colors, a free live jazz music series presented in partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

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Free and open to the public! 

The Water Colors series closes with a bang. Celebrate 100 years of Jazz in Chicago at King Oliver’s Lawn Party! The beautiful Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park Performance Lawn is the perfect setting to dance and swing like its 1919! Music and dance performances will feature The Fat Babies, the Galaxie Girls and more!

Lil' Miss Ann at Stoller Grooves at Navy Pier

About Water Colors

A live jazz music series presented in partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. This series celebrates the 100 years of jazz in Chicago with performers paying tribute to the range of eras and movements of Chicago jazz.

Shoreline Sightseeing Brew Cruises
Friday, August 23, 2019 | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Shoreline Sightseeing’s annual Brew Cruises include generous samplings fine craft beers, appetizers, live music and a 90-minute cruise complete with spectacular nighttime views of Chicago’s skyline and landmarks.

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Shoreline Sightseeing’s annual Brew Cruises include generous samplings fine craft beers, appetizers, live music and a 90-minute cruise complete with spectacular nighttime views of Chicago’s skyline and landmarks. 

Shoreline Sightseeing Brew Cruises depart at 7:00 p.m. from Shoreline’s dock at Polk Bros Park at the southwest corner of Navy Pier. Boarding will begin 15  minutes prior to departure. 

Tickets are $49 per person. Must be 21 to go on this cruise; ID required.  A cash bar will also be available for cocktails and soft drinks. For complete information and tickets, visit:  shorelinesightseeing.com or call 312-222-9328.

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Live on the Lake!

Free Public Program

Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 2:00 pm - 11:30 pm

Join us at the Miller Lite Beer Garden for FREE performances by Kellie Loder, Kat Wright and Too White Crew.

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Free live music in the Miller Lite Beer Garden will feature local favorites, national touring acts and exciting new artists all summer long.

On Saturdays, guests will be treated to an exciting variety of acts performing across all genres of popular music. In the evenings music lovers will have prime viewing of the Aon Summer Fireworks at 10:15pm, followed by another set of live music until 11:30pm.

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.

Performance Schedule

2:00PM – 3:00PM & 3:30PM – 4:30PM | Kellie Loder

5:30PM – 6:30 PM & 7:00PM – 8:00PM | Kat Wright

9:10PM – 10:00PM & 10:25PM -11:30PM | Too White Crew

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com

Wave Wall Wax

Free Public Program

Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Free public event! Get down at the Wave Wall Performance Platform with live sets from Chicago’s best DJs.

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Free and open to the public! Join us on Navy Pier’s South Dock at the Wave Wall Performance Platform for a live DJ set, part of Navy Pier’s free live DJ series, Wave Wall Wax. This year, over 50% of the DJs are women. 

About This Series

Wave Wall Wax brings Chicago’s incredible DJ culture to Navy Pier every Saturday for a new, free weekly DJ series from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Wave Wall Performance Platform. Learn more about Wave Wall Wax, and be sure to check out all of Navy Pier’s free events and programs throughout the year. 

Schedule

5/25: DJ Milty Evans LIVE on air with Vocalo Radio
6/1: Bonita Appleblunt_
6/8: DJ Dee Money
6/15: Cqqchifruit
6/22: Sean Alvarez
6/29: DJ All The Way Kay
7/6: Jimmy Munoz
7/13: Bumbac Joe
7/20: Phreaky Bionick
7/27: Lady D
8/3: Fathom Dj
8/10: DJ JEET
8/17: DJ Romasoul
8/24: DJ Gemini Jones
8/31: Ron Carroll

Aon Summer Fireworks

Free Public Program

Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 10:15 pm - 10:25 pm

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

Read More

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

Chicago Shakespeare presents: The Wizard of Oz
Sunday, August 25, 2019 | 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

July 6–August 25, 2019, take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto.

Read More

July 6 – August 25, 2019 / CST’s Courtyard Theater

by L. Frank Baum | with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
adapted by John Kane | directed by Brian Hill | choreographed by Kenny Ingram

Take an unforgettable journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the magical land of Oz with Dorothy and her trusty pup Toto as they encounter new friends—including Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion—and face unexpected challenges in the musical stage adaptation of the landmark 1939 MGM film. Audiences of all ages will be dazzled by the spectacular setting and charmed by its timeless score, featuring such cherished classics as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—ultimately to discover that there’s truly no place like home.

Learn more at chicagoshakes.com