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Centennial Wheel with a heart and pink lights.

Jan. 29, 2024 | First-ever Valentine’s fireworks, themed light installations, and one-of-a-kind experiences are just the tip of Cupid’s arrow

Navy Pier Gears Up for Biggest Valentine’s Celebration To-Date

Navy Pier Gears Up for Biggest Valentine’s Celebration To-Date
First-ever Valentine’s fireworks, themed light installations, and one-of-a-kind experiences are just the tip of Cupid’s arrow

CHICAGO—Cupid’s bow is aimed squarely at Navy Pier as the city’s most storied waterfront destination prepares for its biggest Valentine’s celebration to-date. Kicking into high gear with the Pier’s first-ever Valentine’s themed fireworks display on Feb. 10, Navy Pier and its partners are spreading the love over two full weeks of one-of-a-kind experiences, romantic photo ops, and chef-curated exclamation points. Highlights include:

Inaugural Valentines-themed Fireworks

For the first time ever, Navy Pier will commemorate Valentine’s weekend with a specialty themed rendition of its award-winning fireworks. The free public spectacular will take place at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10. Fireworks will be launched from the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park, offering great viewing vistas all along the Pier’s South Dock.

Tunnel of Love Photo Ops

Home to Chicago’s most photo-worthy views, Navy Pier will amp up the love meter from Thursday, Feb. 1, through Wednesday, Feb. 14, with an illuminated Tunnel of Love stretching along the South Dock. Adorned with giant twinkling hearts and diamonds, the installation will provide the perfect backdrop for “Instagrammable” moments…maybe even popping the big question.

Romantic Views from the Centennial Wheel

Soaring to heights of nearly 200 feet, Navy Pier’s magnificent Centennial Wheel offers unparalleled, 360-degree views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan year-round from the comfort of enclosed gondolas. A romantic ride on the Centennial Wheel, lighted in the hues of Valentine’s Day, is the perfect exclamation mark on any visit to the Pier.

Cupid-inspired City Cruises

Few experiences are more romantic than dining and dancing on Lake Michigan with magnificent views of the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. City Cruises Chicago will offer a Fireworks Valentine’s Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan, providing a dazzling, unobstructed vantage point for enjoying Navy Pier’s fireworks on Saturday, Feb. 10. The upscale evening will feature a chef-prepared plated meal, craft cocktails, a live DJ, and sweeping views from open-air decks and climate-controlled indoor spaces.

There is also a Valentine’s-themed dinner cruises planned for Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Plots and Trysts at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

With world-class theatrical events playing across two stages and breathtaking views from the Theater’s lobbies, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is raising the curtain on a perfect Valentine’s date night.

Shakespeare’s classic tale of power, greed, and ambition Richard III, stars Tony Award nominee and bilateral above-knee amputee Katy Sullivan, marking the first major U.S. production to feature a woman with a disability in the title role. In an off-beat “Bloody Valentine” stroke of casting, Sullivan will share the stage with her real-life husband Scott Aiello, plotting to kill him onstage every night in King Richard’s reign of tyranny. Directed by Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s new artistic director Edward Hall, Richard III opens Feb. 2, with performances through March 3 in the Courtyard Theater.

Illinoise, continuing its run in The Yard through Feb. 18, is a wildly inventive theatrical adaptation of Grammy-nominated Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed, cult-status album. Directed and choreographed by Tony-winner Justin Peck with a narrative crafted by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies, this thrilling new theatrical event leads audiences on a journey through the places and people of Illinois in an ecstatic pageant of storytelling, theater, dance, and music. On Thursday, February at 7 p.m., the Theater will host a special Pride Night featuring pre-show music, resources from community partners, and a post-show talkback with members of the cast.

“Romance on the Water” at The Sable Hotel

Sable, Curio Collection by Hilton’s two-night (Feb. 9-11) “Romance on the Water” package features premium room placement for the best views of Navy Pier’s Valentine’s fireworks, a complimentary, in-room bottle of GH Mumm Brut champagne, signature Sable chocolates, a beauty and wellness gift basket from Milk+Honey, and late Sunday checkout of 1 p.m.

Private Igloo Experience at Harry Caray’s Tavern

Harry Caray’s Tavern is inviting couples to celebrate a romantic evening snuggling by the patio firepit, sipping prosecco, and enjoying dessert from the comfort of their own private heated igloo. Set against the beautiful backdrop of icy Lake Michigan, the experience – available Saturday, Feb. 10, and Wednesday, Feb. 14 – includes private access to the Tavern’s curling rink and a choice between delicious DIY S’mores or Harry’s signature Breaking Ball dessert – a perfect spot for hiding a ring, should a proposal be in the air.

Rom-Coms and Comfort Food at Chef Art Smith’s Reunion

From the moment you walk through Reunion’s Instagram-worthy balloon arch entryway and see classic rom-coms playing on the restaurant monitors, it will be easy to tell Valentine’s Day is Chef Art Smith’s favorite holiday. The internationally celebrated chef has created a special prix fixe menu of his signature comfort foods for the occasion, including a cup of Gumbo and Cornbread, “Lots of Love” Fried Chicken or Sizzling Steak, and Chocolate Cake for two with champagne. Surprisingly affordable at $55 per couple, Chef Art’s Valentine’s menu is available on Saturday, Feb. 10, and Wednesday, Feb. 14.

Reunion is also offering a Galentine’s Charcuterie Board special with bottomless chardonnay on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Amor and Shellfish at Lirica

Named after the Spanish word for lyric, Lirica offers an unquestioningly romantic setting for Valentine’s dining with its unique take on Latin-inspired cuisine. The restaurant’s inventive, chef-curated Valentine’s menu – available Wednesday, Feb. 14, through Saturday, Feb. 17 – starts with a glass of complimentary champagne and Braised Short Rib and Blue Cheese Tarts over an arugula salad with candied pecans and blood orange vinaigrette. The main course offers a choice between Surf n Turf (Petite Filet and Alaskan King Crab) with brown butter asparagus and roasted corn masked potatoes, or House-made Langoustine Ravioli with wild mushrooms, baby spinach, citrus seafood velouté, and shaved black truffles. Dessert is Strawberry and Pistachio Layer Cake.

Sweetheart Special at Offshore Rooftop

Offshore Rooftop is inviting couples to enjoy a stunningly chic Valentine’s in the nation’s largest rooftop venue, surrounded by unmatched, panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the city. The world-class kitchen has prepared a Sweetheart Special prix fixe menu offering diners a choice of Faroe Island Salmon or Slow Roasted Short Rib, starting with Chips and Dip, and ending with an assortment of Mini Cheesecakes for the table. Closed on Feb. 14, Offshore will extend the celebration of love, making its special Valentine’s menu available from Thursday, Feb. 15, through Saturday, Feb. 17.

“Be My Valentine” Art Date at Women’s Live Artist Studio

Women’s Live Artist Studio, a collective of Chicago-based female artists who create, display, and sell their art year-round at Navy Pier, is inviting couples to tap into their own creativity and celebrate the season of love during a free “Be My Valentine” art workshop. Scheduled from Noon to 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 to 6 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 10, the workshop offers a rare opportunity for Valentines and Galentines to engage with and create alongside a professional artist. Painter Lois Stone will lead the workshop, sharing her passion and various techniques for creating vibrant abstract art.

Love Letter Mixology Class at Windy City Ribs

Part of Windy City Ribs’ month-long “Whiskey Wednesdays” mixology class series, the Feb. 14 event, presented in collaboration with Alexander James Whiskey, will carry a Love Letter theme. Scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m., the class is free and open to anyone age 21 or older. Advance registration is required. The first 10 guests to RSVP will receive a free branded glass.

Note: All artists, activities, and dates are subject to change.


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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