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Navy Pier Fountain

May. 18, 2023 | Midwest’s top nonprofit tourism destination announces Memorial Day to Labor Day programming

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

Please be aware that the content on this webpage was authored more than 6 months ago, so some information may be outdated or no longer accurate.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 today released its Memorial Day through Labor Day cultural programming in one of the most highly-anticipated summers of music, art, dance, cultural celebrations, and neighborhood-style experiences. Guests can expect the adrenaline-charged racing action of SailGP, Black Music Month’s Chi-Soul Fest, Pier Pride, Pier Fitness, the country’s best fireworks, and so much more. Navy Pier lives up to its legacy as Chicago’s Lakefront Treasure.

Thanks to generous philanthropic support of its community, the majority of Navy Pier’s summer programming is free and open to the public. Highlights include:

Live on the Lake! (May 27 through Sept. 4) – The Pier’s summer weekend music series, with live performances in the Navy Pier Beer Garden, showcasing an eclectic mix of musical styles from Chicago’s best bands, along with regional and national acts. Free event, Saturdays (2 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and Sundays (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.), plus Memorial Day and Labor Day Mondays.

Summer Fireworks (May 27 through Sept. 2) – Voted Best Fireworks in the Nation by readers of USA Today, Chicago’s favorite, free sky spectacle is set to popular and special occasion soundtracks every Wednesday (9 p.m.) and Saturday (10 p.m.).

Wave Wall Wax (May 27 through Sept. 2) – Chicago’s top DJs in house and dance music mix it up every Saturday, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Wave Wall Performance Platform. Featuring Chicago icons such as Tribe, Steve “Miggedy” Maestro, TRQPiTECA, DJ Iggy, Sandra Suave, and many more!

Summer Night Markets (May 31 through Aug. 30) – Travel to the past and future of Chicago during immersive Night Markets, themed around the 70s, 80s, 90s and the Future. Each market features eclectic and one-of-a-kind wares for sale by local small businesses, free music and dance performances, retro board and video games, vinyl record listening areas, drink specials from Pier restaurant partners, interactive arts and craft stations, and a Chicago history scavenger hunt. 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month.

Skyline Sessions (June 1 through Sept. 1) – Live music every Thursday and Friday evening, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Wave Wall Performance Platform against the backdrop of spectacular skyline views and Navy Pier’s Centennial Wheel. Featuring notable local acts such as Algo Ritmo, Blood Club, Chris Pierce, Donna Herula Trio, MER’s Music Showcase and The Nettes.

Pier Fitness: Rush Hour Workouts and Sunset Yoga (June 6 through Aug. 31) – Free exercise classes led by professional fitness instructors focusing on Cardio at 6 p.m. and Yoga at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the City Stage in Polk Bros Park, sponsored by Northwestern Medicine. There will be no classes on July 4 and Aug. 1.

Pier Dance (June 7, June 14, June 21, and June 28) – Featuring free instruction in a new dance style each Wednesday in June, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Wave Wall Performance Platform. Chicago’s top dance instructors demonstrate the moves, followed by free dance time for participants to show off what they’ve learned.

Wave Wall Moves (June 10 through Sept. 2) – Live dance performance series presented in partnership with See Chicago Dance, showcasing a diverse selection of Chicago dance companies and choreographers. Saturdays, 3 p.m. at the Wave Wall Performance Platform.

Chi-Soul Fest (June 10 and 11) – Celebrating Black Music Month with free performances by Chicago Soul musicians in the Navy Pier Beer Garden, Wave Wall Performance Platform, and the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns. 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sunday. Featuring Isaiah Sharkey, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Aniba & The Sol Starz, Chi-Brations, Ivan Singh, Chi-Soul Old School R&B Comedy, Next Showcase USA and many more!

Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix (June 16 and 17) – A fan-focused, adrenaline-charged spectacle of exhilarating SailGP racing set on Lake Michigan. Race times are 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Navy Pier Stadium viewing opens at 3 p.m. both days, with tickets starting at $35. For additional information, visit the Chicago event page.

Navy Pier Pride (June 24) – Free live music, dance, storytelling, and family activities Pier-wide, all day and night, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, sponsored by Ørsted. Featuring the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, The Lakeside Pride Marching Band, Ariana DJ, and many more notable acts!

Fresh Fest! (July 13 and 14) – A two-day, Pier-wide youth performance showcase featuring young musicians, dancers, and spoken word artists on the Wave Wall performance platform, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday.

Water Flicks (July 10 through Aug. 28) – Guests can watch movies for free at Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park every Monday from July 10 through Aug. 28. The full lineup of films will be released later this summer.

Water Colors (July 14 through Aug. 25) – Live jazz music series on the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. Friday nights, 6:30 p.m. Featuring Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Sam Thousand and Acoustic Audile, Natural Information Society presented by Hyde Park Jazz Festival and partnerships with the Jazz Institute of Chicago and South Side Jazz Coalition.

Retro Rides (July 28 through July 30) – Retro Rides rolls 150 classic cars into Navy Pier, fueling car enthusiasts across the Midwest. Klairmont Kollections Automotive Museum highlights some of the most stunning, historically innovative, and clever vehicles. This is a ticketed event open to guests of all ages.

LatiNxt (Aug. 5 and 6) – Navy Pier’s fifth annual celebration of modern Latin music in the Beer Garden and the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. The festival features artists from the Latin American diaspora as well as from Chicago’s burgeoning Latinx music scene.

Derrick Adams’, Funtime Unicorn (through June 25) – A public art installation by famed artist Derrick Adams, unveiled in partnership with the 10th anniversary edition of EXPO CHICAGO. The four-sculpture installation is a continuation of Adams’ focus on play and leisure in the Black community, on display in Polk Bros Park. For more information visit

The State Of Sound: A World Of Music From Illinois (through Aug. 27) – In partnership with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, this one-of-a-kind exhibit showcases the achievements and contributions of Illinois’ finest in music, from Muddy Waters to REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick to Earth, Wind & Fire and Chance the Rapper.

The Tangled Roots Beer Garden opens May 26, and features cold craft beer and some of the best views of the lakefront. While at the beer garden, enjoy tasty bites, lawn games, and free live music.

Year-round, Navy Pier encourages guests take a stroll down the Wellness Way Fitness Trail, created in partnership with Northwestern Medicine. The 1.5-mile walking path encircles the historic lakefront destination with checkpoints and fitness tips, posted as QR codes, along the way.

Other year-round Navy Pier experiences such the iconic 200-foot Centennial Ferris Wheel, Pier Park rides, dining, retail, boat cruises are enjoyed by millions of annual guests.

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

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


Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is the top nonprofit tourism destination in the Midwest, stretching six city blocks and welcoming 8 million annual guests. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases 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. Navy Pier is proud to provide 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. For more information, visit



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