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Navy Pier Entrance

Apr. 23, 2024

Summer at Navy Pier Heats Up with New Sporting Events, Live Music, Cultural Celebrations, and Award-winning Fireworks

Summer at Navy Pier Heats Up with New Sporting Events, Live Music, Cultural Celebrations, and Award-winning Fireworks

CHICAGO – Navy Pier today released details of what promises to be one of its most exciting summers of music, art, dance, sport, cultural celebrations, and neighborhood-style experiences. Visitors can swing into summer with pickleball, softball, and golf-themed challenges, relive the ’90s at South Dock Block Parties, revel in Pier Pride, learn a different style of dance each week, marvel at the country’s best fireworks, and so much more – all free-of-charge.

“If you haven’t been to Navy Pier in the past five years, you haven’t been to Navy Pier,” said President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “From our newest attraction, Flyover Chicago, to an ever-changing barrage of dynamic and eclectic cultural events, we’re reimagining what it means to be ‘The People’s Pier,’ ensuring every Chicagoan and visitor can be inspired and affirmed by the Pier’s curated experiences.”

Summer 2024 highlights include:

Chicago: Home of House Exhibit (May 1 – Oct. 31) – Commemorating the 40th anniversary of House music, this one-of-a-kind exhibit will pay homage to the energy, music, and dance of Black and Latino youth on Chicago’s south and west sides that laid the critical foundation for Chicago House music. Presented in partnership with the Design Museum of Chicago and The Vintage House Show Collective, the exhibit will explore the history of the artists, clubs, and labels that built the style of House pioneers and practitioners.

Mexico Fest (May 3-5) – Presented in partnership with Consulado General de México en Chicago and the governments of Chihuahua, Nayarit, and Queretaro, this free event will feature authentic music and dance performances, compelling workshops, and more than 30 vendors creating a one-of-a-kind mercadito shopping experience. Performing groups include Mariachi Estrellas de Chicago, Ballet Folklorico Sones Mexicano, Pachanga DJs, and Caballo Dorado, among others.

Lakefront Loop 5K (May 5) – Presented by Navy Pier’s Associate Board to support the Pier’s cultural programming, the Lakefront Loop is the only 5K contained entirely on Navy Pier and utilizing Northwestern Medicine’s Wellness Way. 2024 marks the first year this popular run will be a timed event.

Swing Into Summer (May 18) – From pickleball to wiffle ball, baseball, softball, and golf, Navy Pier will transform into a hub of swinging-sports fun for all ages during this day-long celebration. Coaches and trainers will be stationed throughout the Pier to offer instruction, while mini-golf competitions will take place at the new Pier Park Mini Golf Course.

Live On The Lake! (May 25 – Sept. 2) – Navy Pier’s free weekend music series features Chicago’s best bands, along with regional and national acts, performing live in Navy Pier’s outdoor Beer Garden (2 p.m. to closing) every Saturday and Sunday, plus Memorial Day and Labor Day Mondays. Music lovers are invited to take in the Pier’s magnificent lakeside views, while enjoying a wide range of genres, from soul and blues, to reggae, rock, country, Latin, and funk.

Summer Fireworks (May 25 – Aug. 31) – Selected as the country’s Best Place to See Fireworks in the 2023 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, Navy Pier hosts Chicago’s favorite, free summer sky spectacle every Wednesday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 10 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Wave Wall Moves (May 25 – Aug. 31) – Presented in partnership with See Chicago Dance, this live outdoor performance series showcases a diverse selection of Chicago dance companies, ensembles, and choreographers. Guests can enjoy two free performances every Saturday afternoon (4 – 5 p.m.) on Navy Pier’s Wave Wall Stage. Featured groups include Chicago Ballet Arts, Uptown Rockers, Ruth Paige School of Dance, Chicago Korean Dance Company, and Perpetual Motion, among others.

Wave Wall Wax (May 25 – Aug. 31) – Chicago’s top DJs mix it up with house and dance music every Saturday night (5:30 – 10 p.m.) on Navy Pier’s Wave Wall Stage. The free outdoor music series features Chicago icons including Steve “Miggedy” Maestro, TRQPiTECA, DJ Iggy, Mo Mami, Joe Smooth, and many more.

Skyline Sessions (May 30 – Aug. 30) – Navy Pier guests can enjoy a variety of live music genres and styles every Thursday and Friday evening (5 – 9 p.m.) at the Wave Wall Stage. Among featured solo and ensemble artists are Larry Anthony, Lydia Cash, James Gedda, MER’s Music Showcase, Daniel Chavez Organ Quartet, and Meg & The Wheelers.

Pier Fitness: Rush Hour Workouts and Sunset Yoga (June 4 – Aug. 27) – Free exercise classes led by professional fitness instructors focusing on a Cardio-centric fusion of Zumba and Jazzercise at 6 p.m. and Yoga at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at the City Stage in Polk Bros Park, supported by Northwestern Medicine.

Pier Dance (June 5-26) – Pier Dance will return this summer with free dance lessons every Wednesday in June (6 – 7:30 p.m.) at the City Stage in Polk Bros Park. Each week a different style of dance, from Bollywood to salsa, contemporary to swing, will be taught by the most sought-after instructors in the city. After some focused lessons, the floor will be opened to free dance.

Chi-Soul Fest (June 15-16) – This outdoor, two-day music festival celebrates Black History Month with free performances by Chicago’s best established and rising local soul artists across multiple stages. Featured artists will include Jamiah Rogers, Bumpus, Manny Torres, Ariel Posen, Chibrations, and many more.

Summer Block Party (June 26 and July 31) – Celebrating a classic Chicago tradition, this new summertime event will feature live bands, DJs, and a Beer Garden stage with 90’s music. There’ll also be free family-friendly activities including arts and crafts, video games, physical movement activities, interactive spray paint murals, and friendly games of corn hole and hop-scotch, all along the South Dock. Starting at 3 p.m., both parties will conclude with fireworks at 9 p.m.

Navy Pier Pride (June 29) – This free, full-day event celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Pier-wide festivities will include live music, dance, and storytelling, educational programs, on-site resources from community partners, and more. The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, The Lakeside Pride Marching Band, and Party Noir will be among dozens of notable acts.

Water Flicks (July 1 – Aug. 26) – Navy Pier’s popular outdoor film series returns this summer with free movies every Monday night in July and August (starting at 6:30 p.m.) at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. This summer’s theme is science, featuring movies including Back To The Future, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Interstellar, Big Hero 6, Weird Science, and Oppenheimer (rated R), among others.

Fresh Fest (July 11-12) – Fresh faces, fresh voices, and fresh ideas will take over the Pier during this two-day performance showcase celebrating young musicians, dancers, and artists. Performances will take place from Noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, across three stages.

Bastille Day (July 13) – The Committee of French Speaking Societies invites the French community and all friends of France to celebrate the French national holiday of Bastille Day in Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park. It will be an evening filled with live music, free family friendly entertainment, and tasty French treats.

Noche Caribeña (Aug. 17) – Puerto Rican Arts Alliance will present a free evening concert spanning the genres of Puerto Rican and Afro-Caribbean folk, popular Latin American, big band, salsa, ballads, bomba, and plena interpretations performed by some of Chicago’s most prominent local artists, at the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park.

LatiNxt (Aug. 24-25) – This free, two-day festival will feature a variety of cutting-edge music from the Latin American diaspora with a focus on new musical trends. Curated in partnership with Future Rootz, performances will take place across three Pier stages, complemented by an array of artisan vendors. Special performances this year include AnanTijoux and Pahua.

Guests should check out Navy Pier’s many permanent, year-round attractions, including Flyover Chicago, an immersive, 4-D flying experience that uses awe-inspiring aerial photography and leading-edge drone technology to showcase Chicago from perspectives never seen before. Visitors can also soar to new heights on Navy Pier’s iconic 200-foot Centennial Ferris Wheel, get some exercise on the 1.5-mile Wellness Way Fitness Trail, created in partnership with Northwestern Medicine, tee it up on the new, nine-hole Pier Park Mini Golf Course, catch a boat tour, and enjoy a range of unique dining and shopping experiences.

The newly launched Navy Pier Passport offers discounts on parking, free fast pass tickets for the Centennial Wheel, and other exclusive discounts and perks at a range of annual donation levels. All proceeds go toward supporting Navy Pier’s free public arts, culture, and engagement programming and maintaining the architectural beauty of the Pier.

All artists and dates are subject to change. Programming schedules are updated regularly at



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 8 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. Today, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing Pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including Sable, a 223-room Hilton hotel, new restaurant and retail partnerships, and thrilling new attractions such as Flyover Chicago. The Pier is proud to present free, year-round 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. For more information, visit

Navy Pier Press Kit: Click here to access Navy Pier’s press kit, including b-roll, photos, media parking map and logo.


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