If you want to experience live music and entertainment in Chicago, look no further than Navy Pier. For decades, music has remained an essential part of the Pier’s lifeblood.
A stroll around the Pier is like a trip through a giant streaming service that stretches out onto Lake Michigan. From classic rock to reggae, heavy metal to hip-hop, big band to blues—not to mention Motown, folk, country and jazz—you can enjoy almost any music genre on any given day at Navy Pier. Some of Chicago’s top musicians and most popular bands perform here because we have some of the best live music venues in Chicago.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Miller Lite Beer Garden on Navy Pier is the place to go for free, live music in Chicago, in the most unique setting in the city. That’s right! There’s never a cover charge to sit nearly a mile from the Chicago shoreline, gaze at the breath-taking skyline, and enjoy an eclectic lineup of performers and a large menu of food, frozen drinks, beers and cocktails. In this family-friendly setting, all ages are welcome!
The newest, marquee venues for live music in Chicago are the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns’ Lake Stage and City Stage. These free, state-of-the-art, outdoor performance spaces are set against the backdrops of beautiful Lake Michigan and Chicago’s awe-inspiring skyline. Soloists, bands, orchestras and dance troupes use these exciting venues to expose audiences to an international repertoire of musical genres.
These stages also serve as the perfect spot to enjoy special events, such as the World Music Festival, and other citywide or Pier-produced music festivals.
The east end of Navy Pier is one of the most unforgettable places to enjoy live music in Chicago. That’s where you’ll find the historic Aon Grand Ballroom. Whether it’s a New Year’s Eve celebration or a private event, the elegant Grand Ballroom is unlike any other indoor space in Chicago. This section of the Pier’s original 1916 structure is, essentially, an 18,000 square foot music hall. For more than a century, its 80-foot domed ceiling, acoustics and panoramic views of the lakefront have made every music performance a memorable one.
Navy Pier’s main exhibition space, Festival Hall, measures more than 170,000 square feet and can be used as either one large music venue or divided into two separate halls. Festival Hall features 60’ ceilings and an eight-truck loading dock, making it perfect to accommodate large-scale music events. Over the past several decades, trade shows, Pier-produced events, touring exhibitions and major musical acts have entertained thousands of guests in downtown’s largest, most flexible space.
As it enters its second century, music continues to give life to Navy Pier. From the popular tunes you’ll hear as you stroll down the South Dock, to an unforgettable performance you’ll experience at one of our venues, this is a go-to destination for live music in Chicago.
Come hear—and see—Navy Pier!