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Navy Pier Entrance

Mar. 16, 2023 | Midwest’s top nonprofit tourism destination unveils free programming lineup

International Artists, Chicago Soul, and Spectacular Fireworks Set to Take Center Stage at Navy Pier This Spring/Summer

Wave Wall Moves

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate. Please visit our event calendar for information on current events.

CHICAGO – Navy Pier today announced its free public programming for April through June, featuring a jam-packed roster of music, art, dance, cultural celebrations, and sky-illuminating fireworks. From EXPO Chicago, an international exposition of contemporary and modern art from 36 countries, to Black Music Month’s Chi-Soul Fest, and Navy Pier Pride, the lineup lives up to Navy Pier’s mission of inspiring, educating, and connecting communities across the city and globe.

“Whether stopping by for a free, rush hour workout in Polk Bros Park, learning a few new Salsa moves from one of Chicago’s top dance instructors, or relaxing to live music in the Navy Pier Beer Garden, we want Chicagoans – and out-of-town guests – to think of Navy Pier as an accessible hub for vibrant, neighborhood-style experiences, as well as a gateway to many of our city’s top cultural treasures,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “Thanks to ongoing philanthropic support of Navy Pier’s nonprofit mission, we are proud to provide our extended community with more than 250 free arts, culture, and engagement programs during 2023, all set against the backdrop of Chicago’s most spectacular skyline views.”

Navy Pier’s free public programming highlights for spring and early summer 2023 include:

Derrick Adam’s, Funtime Unicorn (April 13 – June 25) – A public art installation by famed artist Derrick Adams, unveiled in partnership with the 10th anniversary edition of EXPO CHICAGO. The four-sculpture installation will be a continuation of Adams’ focus on play and leisure in the Black community, on display in Polk Bros Park. For more information visit

State Of Sound: A World Of Music From Illinois (April 27 – Aug. 27) – In partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, this one-of-a-kind exhibit showcases the achievements and contributions of Illinois’ finest in music, from Muddy Waters to REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick to Earth, Wind & Fire and Chance the Rapper.

Mexico Fest (May 5 -7) – Mercadito booths and performances celebrating the Mexican state of Jalisco, birthplace of mariachi. The event will be presented in partnership with the Mexican Consulate’s celebration of “Mexico Week 2023.”

Live on the Lake! (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) – Navy Pier’s free summer weekend music series, with live performances in the Navy Pier Beer Garden, showcasing an eclectic mix of musical styles from Chicago’s best bands, along with regional and national acts.

Summer Fireworks (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) – Chicago’s favorite sky spectacle, set to popular and special occasion soundtracks every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Skyline Sessions (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) – Live music every Thursday and Friday evening, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Wave Wall Performance Platform against the backdrop of spectacular skyline views and Navy Pier’s Centennial Wheel.

Wave Wall Wax (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) – Chicago’s top DJs in house and dance music mixing it up every Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Wave Wall Performance Platform.

Wave Wall Moves (June 3 through Labor Day weekend) – Live dance performance series presented in partnership with See Chicago Dance, showcasing a diverse selection of Chicago dance companies, ensembles, and choreographers. Saturdays at 3 p.m. at the Wave Wall Performance Platform.

Pier Fitness: Rush Hour Workouts and Sunset Yoga (June 6 through Aug. 31) – Exercise classes led by professional fitness instructors focusing on Cardio at 6 p.m. and Yoga at 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the City Stage in Polk Bros Park.

Pier Dance (Wednesdays in June) – Featuring instruction in a new dance style every Wednesday at 6 p.m., at the Wave Wall Performance Platform. Some of Chicago’s top dance instructors demonstrate the moves, followed by free dance time for participants to show off what they’ve learned.

Chi-Soul Fest (June 10-11) – Celebrating Black Music Month with performances by Chicago Soul musicians in the Navy Pier Beer Garden, Wave Wall Performance Platform and the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns.

Navy Pier Pride (June 24) – Music, dance, storytelling, and family activities Pier-wide, all day and night celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community.

All artists, dates, and prices are subject to change. Programming schedules are updated regularly at

Navy Pier Press Kit: Click here to access Navy Pier’s press kit, including b-roll, photos, media parking map and logo.


Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is the top nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and typically welcoming nearly 9 million annual guests. 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. The Pier celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016 with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2021, Navy Pier continued to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts—including Sable, a 223-room Hilton hotel, new restaurants and partnerships, and thrilling additions to Pier Park. The Pier is also proud to continue providing free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate, and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a mission-driven 501(c)(3) organization, in support of the organization’s post-pandemic revival and free public programming. For more information, visit



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