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free centennial wheel rides 1

Feb. 24, 2022 | Guests’ smiling faces will become part of Chicago’s skyline in March when displayed at the center of the Centennial Wheel

Navy Pier Celebrates Lifting of Mask Mandate by Giving Free Centennial Wheel Rides in Exchange for a Smile on Monday, Feb. 28

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate.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 will celebrate the City of Chicago lifting its face mask requirement by giving free rides on the iconic Centennial Wheel to guests who flash their long-hidden smiles from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. Each participating guest at the Smile to Ride event will receive a free souvenir photo of their smiling face, provided by Photogenic Inc. Those happy faces will then be displayed in rotation on the hub of the Centennial Wheel in March.

“The lifting of the COVID mandates, which helped keep us safe for so long, is worthy of a big smile,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “We could all use a smile, so Navy Pier is encouraging guests to show off their toothy grins, sly smirks, and all-out ear-to-ears for the entire city to see.”

“Being able to safely lift COVID-19 mandates and take a ride on the famous Centennial Wheel is certainly something to smile about,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “I thank President and CEO Gardner and her team for taking initiative and helping to bring some joy to residents and visitors alike. I also look forward to seeing Navy Pier’s attractions, restaurants and businesses be patronized by visitors once more.”

Guests will be required to sign a photo release granting Navy Pier permission to use their photo on the hub of the Centennial Wheel and other screens at Navy Pier.

Additionally, guests will no longer have to show proof of vaccination to dine or drink indoors at Navy Pier, effective Feb. 28.

City officials this week announced that Chicago will align with the State of Illinois’ previously announced easing of restrictions. Navy Pier has strictly adhered to the City’s COVID safety mandates and will continue to do so should the need arise. Individual businesses on the Pier may still require such mitigations. Navy Pier will be supportive of visitors and employees who choose to continue wearing masks.

All events subject to change or cancellation.

To learn more about Navy Pier’s COVID protocols, 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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