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5 Things You Didn't Know About Navy Pier

At Navy Pier, there is more than meets the eye. From historical facts to on-site perks, here are the top 5 things you might not know about Chicago’s lakefront treasure. Impress your friends, family and more with this hidden gem knowledge!

An early photo of Navy Pier

1. History

Did you know that Navy Pier dates all the way back to 1916? Navy Pier began as part of Daniel Burnham’s vision to transform the lakefront into an attractive public space for recreation and social interaction. Since its reopening in 1995, the Pier has welcomed over 186 million guests, including a record-breaking 9.3 million in 2016. The Pier continues to evolve with exciting developments and new venues. If you want to learn more, check out WTTW’s documentary “Navy Pier: A Century of Reinvention.”

Performers dressed in colorful costumes

2. Non-Profit Status

In 2011, Navy Pier became a not-for-profit corporation to maintain the Pier and oversee the redevelopment of one of the most important civic landmarks in the U.S. As the People’s Pier, Navy Pier welcomes all and offers dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder. To support one of the top-visited leisure and cultural destinations in the world, visit here.

A young girl marvels at the view from the Centennial Wheel

3. Year-Round Destination & Programming

The Pier is a great summer spot for Chicagoans and other guests to enjoy. However, Navy Pier is also a wonderful year-round spot for city views, amazing attractions, cultural programming and more. With climate-controlled and enclosed gondolas, the Centennial Wheel is open all year, as well as the retail and dining in the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion. Also, don’t forget about the free year-round programming of events to attend!

A couple takes a selfie on a sunny day at the Pier

4. Free WiFi

Presented by Impact, Navy Pier offers free WiFi throughout the Pier. This complimentary service helps guests stay connected and enjoying the internet during their visit.

A couple enjoys a beer on a sunny day

5. Drinks to Go

At various restaurants around the Pier, guests can take their drink to-go. From happy hour to weekends, enjoy this perk both indoors and outdoors. There's nothing quite like a stroll by the lake with a refreshing drink!

Share your favorite Navy Pier memory on social media and don’t forget to post it with #NavyPier for a chance to be featured on our social media channels. Don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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About Navy Pier

More Than You Imagine

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 2021, Navy Pier continues to evolve into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures.

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