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Our History

Historic Navy Pier is among the most visited destinations in the world. Since its reopening in 1995, the Pier has welcomed more than 186 million guests, including a record-breaking 9.3 million guests in 2016.

Navy Pier has enjoyed a remarkable evolution. Originally designed for shipping and recreational purposes, the facility has evolved into a premiere entertainment and exposition center. 

A couple watch the Navy Pier fireworks at night

Explore 100 Years of Navy Pier

Discover Navy Pier's history from Daniel Burnham's original vision, to today's lively meeting place. Follow the timeline at, and watch WTTW's documentary, Navy Pier: A Century of Reinvention.

Daniel Burnham, 1909

“The lakefront by right belongs to the people… it should be made so alluring that it will become the fixed habit of the people to seek its restful presence at every opportunity.”

Photo Credit: Chicago HIstory Museum, ICHi-79033_24; Chicago Architectural Photo Co., photographer

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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Navy Pier

1-800 595-PIER (7437)

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