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new virtual expierences help guests stay connected 1

Apr. 14, 2020

Navy Pier’s New Virtual Expierences Help Guests Stay Connected

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate.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 and several of its on-site partner establishments have banded together to create Virtual ExPIERences, a collection of digital programs designed to help the community stay connected and experience the Pier from home during the temporary COVID-19 closure. From music and fitness to theater and cocktails, these happenings will bring the Pier to you and offer fun ways to be engaged, encouraged and inspired during these trying times until the Pier can re-open its doors and safely welcome guests back to Chicago’s treasured lakefront.



During this time of uncertainty, Navy Pier is putting a ‘positive spin’ on things by using its iconic Centennial Wheel to display daily messages of encouragement and hope for the city. The Pier encourages all to join in by sharing photos and inspirational words on social media using #PierInspiration for a chance to be featured on Navy Pier’s channels and to continue spreading positivity.

Imagine a Time

As part of its new digital video series, Navy Pier looks to inspire Chicagoans to “imagine a time” when our resilient and vibrant city returns to full vitality. This multi-part campaign kicked off this week on Navy Pier’s social media channel (@navypierchicago) and highlights the beauty and offerings of Navy Pier, its on-site partners, Lake Michigan and Chicago. Be sure to continue checking Navy Pier’s social media pages in the coming weeks to catch the full five-part series of inspiring videos. Here is a preview.

Wheel Talk Wednesday

This new, weekly music series on Navy Pier’s Instagram Live (@navypierchicago) connects followers and community members to local artists and musicians as a means to provide entertainment to viewers at home and extend support to Chicago’s talented arts community, which has been immensely impacted by COVID-19. Navy Pier, which proudly showcases the work of local artists through more than 250 public programs year round, is now using its digital platform to feature live interviews and performances by a different talent every Wednesday at noon throughout its closure and encourage its followers to provide Venmo tips to the artists as a show of support. Since its launch on April 1, the series has featured folk artist Ana Everling and singer/songwriter Brian Allison. Follow along on Navy Pier’s Instagram page for details on upcoming performances.


Bollywood Groove

Looking for a fun at-home workout? One of Navy Pier’s cultural organization partners, Bollywood Groove, is offering online Bollywood workouts, with a free 7-day trial. The organization also provides free cultural e-learning for kids via YouTube.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Chicago Children’s Museum has created an online resource of fun and educational activities for children and families at home as part of its Recipes for Play at Home campaign. Try the activities at home with your little ones and share the experience on social media by tagging Chicago Children’s Museum. The popular cultural attraction also recently launched a new digital program, Parenting Playbook. This resource provides ideas, strategies and fun curated by the Museum to help make playtime easier for caregivers, and includes expert tips, at-home activities and more.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago’s innovative performing arts venue is offering audiences a means to bring the magic of Shakespeare to their homes through its brand-new online content platform, Shakes @ Home. This virtual program allows theater lovers to continue engaging with the power of Shakespeare through educational tools, centuries of critical thinking, artistic interpretation and more, and stay connected to the arts virtually.


Join the world’s largest rooftop bar (confirmed by the Guinness World Records) for Virtual Happy Hour every evening! Offshore invites followers to pour themselves a drink (any cocktail of their choice), take a photo/video, and share on social media using #VirtualHappyHour. Tag Offshore (@drinkoffshore) and your virtual happy hour friends to keep the fun and festivity alive during this difficult time.

One Earth Film Festival

Navy Pier was slated to be one of the host venues of the 2020 One Earth Film Festival, which was postponed due to COVID-19. The sustainability-focused organization is now offering a mini virtual film festival in honor of Earth Day this month, so that people can catch a special environmental film at home and celebrate Earth Day. Please visit here to register for a free film screening, with various showings available from Monday, April 20 – Sunday, April 26.

Virtual Pier Partner Support

Navy Pier is home to more than 70 businesses—many of which are small and local. These businesses have been severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic and could use some virtual support as they navigate these challenging and uncertain times. If you are in a position to help, please consider aiding their businesses through gift card purchases, online shopping, donations, etc. Click here to view options to support the small businesses on the Pier and here to support the on-site restaurants.

As a result of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the statewide “stay-at-home” order, Navy Pier is closed to the public through Thursday, April 30 based on the revised city and state guidelines and to continue to help curb the COVID-19 outbreak. Please note, this date may change again as the situation remains fluid and the Pier continues to follow the guidance of local government and public health officials. Please click here to view Navy Pier’s official COVID-19 statement. For more information, please visit

PHOTOS: Virtual ExPIERences | Credit: Navy Pier

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 welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. 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 recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2020, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with a year-round rooftop bar, Offshore (now open), and more – in addition to 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 free public programs. For more information, visit

Navy Pier Mission Statement

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

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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