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summer 2022 events and free programs 1

Mar. 24, 2022 | Family-friendly events from a global sailing race to outdoor concerts mean there is always something different to do at Navy Pier this summer

Navy Pier Announces Summer 2022 Events and Free Programs

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate.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 a full slate of summer programming from May through early September 2022, featuring a staggering array of arts, entertainment, sporting, fitness, and family events—not to mention spectacular fireworks displays every Wednesday and Saturday night. From Live on the Lake!, the SailGP racing competition and thrilling new Pier dance classes, to Water Flicks featuring family favorites like Disney’s “Encanto” and more – there is no shortage of exciting activities to discover this summer at Navy Pier.  Admission is free to most summer events thanks to ongoing philanthropic support of the Pier’s nonprofit mission. Performance schedules will be updated regularly at

“For travelers enjoying a vacation or Chicagoans making the most of a staycation, Navy Pier tops the must-do list with a jam-packed calendar of entertainment, culture and tons of excitement for all to enjoy,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “With so many one-of-a-kind events and free programming lined up for the season, we look forward to welcoming guests from across Chicagoland and beyond and encourage them to return to the Pier throughout the summer to discover what’s new each week.”

Navy Pier’s 2022 summer programming roster includes, but is not limited to:


Navy Pier 5K (Sunday, May 15)

The Navy Pier 5K sponsored by the Associates Board is the only 5K completely contained on the Pier, using the Northwestern Medicine Wellness Way fitness trail that encircles the North and South Docks. The fundraiser, supporting Navy Pier’s nonprofit mission, ends with prizes and reception in the Navy Pier Beer Garden. A Kids Dash for ages 2-12 accompanies the run.

Free Family Day at Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier (Friday, May 19)

With generous support from the Pritzker Foundation, the final Free Family Days event, for children through age 10, features live music, crafts, interactive mosaic making with guest artist Norma Rios Sierra and an add-on street-art mural. Admission to the Chicago Children’s Museum will be free and parking will be discounted with museum validation.

Live on the Lake! (Saturdays and Sundays, May 28-Sept. 4)

Navy Pier’s summer weekend music series returns with live performances by accomplished Chicago-area bands and national acts in the Navy Pier Beer Garden. The series is famous for its eclectic mix of musical styles from rock to reggae. Performance schedule will be posted at

Wave Wall Moves (Saturdays, May 28-Aug. 27)

Partnering with See Chicago Dance, Navy presents a weekly showcase of Chicago’s wide variety of dance companies, ensembles, and choreographers at the Wave Wall Platform.

Wave Wall Wax (Saturdays, May 28-Sept. 3)

Guests can get their groove on with some of Chicago’s most popular DJs spinning mixes live weekly at the Wave Wall Platform.

Summer Fireworks (Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 28-Sept. 3)

Navy Pier’s celebrated summer fireworks displays return every Wednesday and Saturday. The spectacular shows are accompanied by special themed playlists for all to enjoy.


Pier Dance Lessons (Thursdays in June)

New this summer, Navy Pier guests can participate in a series of free dance lessons on the Polk Bros Performance Lawn City Stage. A different style of dance will be taught each week by some of the most sought-after instructors in the city. After some focused lessons, the floor will be opened to free dance.

Skyline Sessions (Thursdays and Fridays, June 3-Aug. 26)

With the Chicago skyline as a scenic backdrop, this aptly named outdoor concert series features every genre, offering two different live acts every Thursday and Friday on the Wave Wall Platform.Check listings at

Pier Fitness: Rush Hour Workouts and Sunset Yoga (Tuesdays, June 7-Aug. 30)

Guests can nourish their heart and soul when professional fitness instructors lead cardio workouts followed by yoga training at the Polk Bros Performance Lawn City Stage.

Chi-Soul Fest (Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12)

Navy Pier’s annual two-day festival celebrates Black Music Month with the biggest artists from Chicago’s soul scene in both the Navy Pier Beer Garden and the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawn.

SailGP (Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19)

Navy Pier is the only U.S. destination for the adrenaline-pumping global freshwater racing competition, SailGP. Guests can get close to the action from viewing areas on both land and water as teams from around the world race F50 catamarans—highly technical hydrofoiling boats with speeds exceeding 120 miles per hour. Led by champion Jimmy Spithill’s United States SailGP Team, the international competition features highly skilled teams from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. Tickets, including VIP Packages, are on sale now here.

Wiggleworms (June 24-Aug. 26)

Chicago’s legendary Old Town School of Folk Music presents its popular live music and movement program for young audiences at the Polk Bros Park Lake Stage. Performance schedule will be posted at

Navy Pier Pride (Saturday, June 25)

Navy Pier will host a fun-filled day of family-friendly activities pier-wide to celebrate Pride, including storytelling, concerts, dance and crafts. Generously supported by Ørsted.


Fourth of July (Monday, July 4)

When it comes to Independence Day celebrations, Navy Pier is the place to be. The daylong celebration ends with a dazzling fireworks show where every spark feels like a grand finale.

Joffrey Academy’s “Rita Finds Home” (Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10)

Navy Pier will host three free performances of the Joffrey Academy’s family-friendly Rita Finds Home, a collaborative project with the Miami City Ballet. The world premiere production, from the creative team of choreographer Amy Hall Garner, author Karla Rivera, and illustrator Elsa Chavarria, will be performed on the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. 

Water Flicks: Families on Film (Mondays, July 11-Aug. 29)

Navy Pier’s popular outdoor film series Water Flicks returns with a special focus on families—the ones we forge or the ones we’re born into. Featured titles include “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Mi Familia,” “Rent,” “Are We There Yet,” “Minari” and the instant Disney classic, “Encanto.” 

Bastille Day (Wednesday, July 13)

Guests are invited to pack a picnic and dine en plein air in celebration of France’s independence holiday, led by the Committee of French Speaking Societies, on the Lake Lawn in Polk Bros Park. The celebration features traditional French cuisine and live performances.

Fresh Fest! (Thursday, July 14-Friday, July 15)

Fresh faces, fresh voices, and fresh ideas will take over the Pier in this annual young-performers’ showcase, featuring musicians, dancers and spoken word artists on the Wave Wall performance platform and Polk Bros Park Performance Lawn.

Water Colors (Fridays, July 15-Aug. 26)

Chicago’s famous jazz scene will take center stage in this waterfront series at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. The full list of singers and musicians  will be posted at Navy Pier acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Rhythm World (Wednesday, July 20)

Chicago Human Rhythm Project presents its annual tap showcase of local dancers — both amateur and professional — on the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park.


LatiNxt (Saturday, Aug. 6-Sunday, Aug. 7)

Navy Pier will host its fourth annual celebration of the cultural diaspora and its ever-evolving styles with the next generation of Chicago’s Latin music artists. The two-day LatiNxt festival will feature a variety of performances in the Navy Pier Beer Garden, on the Wave Wall Platform and on the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. 

Noche Caribeña (Saturday, Aug. 13)

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance returns with its popular music and dance celebration of Caribbean sounds on the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. Performance schedule will be posted at


Bitter Jester Music Festival (Monday, Sept. 5)

The 16th annual summer-long Bitter Jester Music Festival rounds up its “Best Of” bands for a 6-hour concert at the Navy Pier Beer Garden on Labor Day. Half the members of any competing band must be under age 21. Prizes for the winning bands include paid, professional gigs.

More at Navy Pier

“Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory.” will run April 7 through June 30. This landmark exhibit, in partnership with Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, that showcases more than 60 personal artifacts brought to America by Survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Exploring the relationship between objects, their meaning to the original owner and subsequent significance, each artifact is dramatically paired with oversized photographs by renowned documentarian Jim Lommasson and with handwritten responses by survivors or their family members.

All Summer Long

Navy Pier encourages guests to get outside and take a stroll down the NM Wellness Way Fitness Trail, created in partnership with Northwestern Medicine (NM) The 1.5-mile walking path encircles the historic lakefront destination with checkpoints and fitness tips, posted as QR codes, along the way.

Guests are also encouraged to check out other Navy Pier experiences such the iconic 200-foot Centennial Wheel, the new Drop Tower ride and other Pier Park rides, dining, retail, boat cruises and more. Guests can now extend their visit with an overnight stay at the Sable hotel, offering unparalleled views of Lake Michigan from every room. Visit Navy Pier’s website for a full list of open and available establishments.

All events subject to change or cancellation. Currently, face masks and proof of vaccination are not required to attend Navy Pier events. Navy Pier will align with the City of Chicago’s COVID mandates as updated.

To view the full Navy Pier events calendar, click here.


About Navy Pier

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.

Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million guests have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. In 2022, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.


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