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summer programming with new summer sampler event 1

Mar. 10, 2022 | First-time event to feature performances, food sampling, significant discounts including half-price parking and a spectacular fireworks display

Navy Pier Previews Summer Programming With New Summer Sampler Event on March 26

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate.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.

Centennial Wheel will display faces of smiling Chicagoans and offer half-price rides

CHICAGO—Navy Pier will showcase its upcoming summer programming and events lineup with its first ever Summer Sampler event, beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 26. The Pier-wide celebration will feature live performances from artists who will play at one of the Midwest’s most-visited venue this summer. The daylong event includes discounts from Pier restaurants, retailers and attractions; and free food and drink samples. The event will conclude with the season’s first fireworks display at 9 p.m. As a special added bonus, all parking in Navy Pier’s garages will be half price.

Rides on the iconic 200-foot Centennial Wheel will also be half price as the hub of the Wheel displays the images of notable Chicagoans and 2,000 recent guests of the Pier. The guest images were taken at Navy Pier’s Smile to Ride event that took place Feb. 28, when face mask requirements were suspended in Chicago.

“Summer in Chicago is always something to smile about, and it can never come too soon, so we’re getting a jump on it by previewing exciting events scheduled for the season,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to this special preview of our joyfully crowded summer calendar.”

Performances are scheduled every half hour and will preview the events and series planned for this summer, including:

  • Wave Wall Moves, dance performance, 2 p.m.
  • Wave Wall Wax DJs, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 p.m.
  • Pier Dance, dance lesson, 3 p.m.
  • School of Rock—Chicago West, youth performance. 4 p.m.
  • Chi-Soul Fest artist, 5 p.m.
  • Skyline Sessions, acoustic performance, 6 p.m.
  • Water Colors, jazz series, David Scott Quartet presented by Southside Jazz Coalition, 7 p.m.
  • Live on the Lake, pop music series, Melody Angel, 8:15 p.m.
  • Navy Pier Fireworks, 9 p.m.

DJs from the Wave Wall Wax series will go live at 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. LatiNxt DJs, curated by Future Rootz, perform at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:45 p.m.

Participating Navy Pier partners, retailers and restaurants will offer live music, significant discounts and free samples. Highlights include:

  • Half-price river boat cruises, Seadog, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather permitting)
  • Craft beer brewing demonstration, Tangled Roots, 4:30 p.m.
  • Classic rock music by Max Koepke, Margaritaville, 5 p.m.
  • Country music by Isabella Maria and Dan Reyes, Harry Caray’s, 7 p.m. (free Holy Moley chips)
  • Sangria shot sample, Lirica
  • Street art by Hebru Branley and street art craft project (ages 3 and up), Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Free souvenir jars with purchase of vodka lemonade, Lettuce Entertain You at Big City Chicken
  • Party Hat Challenge and dance party (ages 4 and up), Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Free mini chocolate bars, Kilwin’s
  • Free sample cups of cinnamon-roasted almonds, Completely Nuts
  • Complimentary sample of Garrett’s Mix, Garrett’s
  • Mini hot dog flights, $5, America’s Dog and Burger
  • Free empanada with purchase of Margarita, Beat Kitchen
  • Free samples of Wisconsin cheese curds and a delicious “Henry’s Holiday” frozen cocktail sample, Tiny Tavern
  • Free garlic bread samples, Giordano’s

In alignment with the City of Chicago, Navy Pier will no longer require face masks or proof of vaccination to dine indoors. Navy Pier supports any guests who prefer to continue wearing face masks. Individual restaurants, shops and attractions may have stricter rules. Navy Pier will follow the city’s mandates as they arise.

All events subject to change or cancellation.



About Navy Pier

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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