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Free Events & Public Programs

Navy Pier, Chicago’s mission-driven cultural district, proudly offers free events and public programming year-round. From free outdoor movies in the park to free jazz concerts to interactive art installations to dance performances and much more, there’s always something fun to explore at the People’s Pier. See below for a list of our upcoming free events and public programs.

Free Events Series

Navy Pier is committed to providing a wide variety of culturally enriching free programming all year long. Learn more about current events series at Navy Pier, and check back often for new offerings.

  • Stroller Grooves
    Presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum, Stroller Grooves is a free music and dance series for children and parents. 
  • Global Connections
    Presented by ComEd, Global Connections celebrates the diverse people and cultures that make up Chicago’s local character with music, dance, art, food and more. 
  • Spring into Action
    Enjoy free fitness classes to get your heart pumping, strengthen your body, lower your stress, and keep your mind and spirit energized. 
  • #WheelWednesday
    #WheelWednesday series is an initiative to make the Centennial Wheel available and accessible to all by offering the community complimentary rides on select Wednesdays periodically throughout the year. 

All events and happenings at Navy Pier

For a full list of all events and programs taking place at Navy Pier, visit our events list or events calendar.

Upcoming Free Events at Navy Pier

Prismatica

Free Public Program

February 16, 2018 - April 15, 2018

Prismatica

Polk Bros Park

Experience Prismatica, a new interactive art installation supported by Hilton, presented in partnership with the Quartier des Spectacle and RAW Design.

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Join us in Polk Bros Park from February 17, 2018, through April 15, 2018, to experience Prismatica, a new interactive art installation at Navy Pier presented in partnership with the Quartier des Spectacle and RAW Design. Admission to this exhibit is free and open to the public.

This immersive installation, comprised of 25 pivoting prisms more than six feet tall, transforms Polk Bros Park in Navy Pier into a giant kaleidoscope. The prisms are made of panels laminated with a dichronic film that transmits and reflects every color in the visible spectrum, varying with the position of the light source and the observer. The prisms are mounted on bases containing projectors. As guests wander among and manipulate the prisms, they will enjoy an infinite interplay of lights and colorful reflections. As the prisms rotate, a variable-intensity soundtrack comprised of bell sounds will play.

Read more about Prismatica here.

Supporting Partner:

Hilton. Supporting Partner of Prismatica.

Global Connections: Chinese New Year

Free Public Program

Celebrate Chinese New Year with traditional food, music and arts.

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Join us in the Aon Grand Ballroom for an afternoon celebration of Chinese New Year, presented in partnership with the Chinese Fine Arts Society.

Guests can enjoy performances by the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, the award-winning Flying Fairies dance troupe, martial arts by Bei Dou Kung Fu’s Master Wu Jing Tao and his studio, traditional Chinese music by the Eight Tones Chinese Music Ensemble, Cheng Da Drum Team, and many other luminaries from the Chicago Chinese community.

Navy Pier’s Chinese New Year Celebration is part of Global Connections, presented by ComEd, a free community event series. Learn more about Global Connections, and be sure to check out all of Navy Pier’s free events and programs throughout the year. 

Stroller Grooves: Animal Farm

Free Public Program

February 27, 2018

Stroller Grooves: Animal Farm

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Crystal Gardens

A free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum!

Read More

Join us in the Crystal Gardens Tuesdays in February and March from 12:00pm – 1:00pm for Stroller Grooves – a free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum! The series will continue every Tuesday from February 6th thru March 27th.

About Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a group of musician-educators who perform original songs and sketches for children and families. Inspired by the challenges and triumphs of the children they have taught, Seth Adams (The Sheriff) and David Ladon (Farmer Dave) write songs about community, self-expression, and growing up.

Animal Farm performs their energetic live show for elementary-aged students in public schools, park districts, libraries, and cultural centers. Blending music, educational comedy, and interactive storytelling, Farmer Dave and The Sheriff are often joined on stage by Stephanie “Sly” Young on violin and Thor Bremer on drums. The quartet is an official touring artist for Urban Gateways, the premier community arts programming organization for youth in Chicago, and was a featured performer at both the 2015 Illinois Suburban Parks and Recreation Association Showcase and the 2016 Illinois Library Association’s Reaching Forward Conference.

Animal Farm’s debut album, Run Free (2016), was mixed and mastered at Kingsize Soundlabs by Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case), and features studio versions of songs from our live show. Run Free is now available on compact disc, digital download and streaming through all major outlets.

Global Connections: Holi

Free Public Program

March 4, 2018

Global Connections: Holi

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Aon Grand Ballroom

Celebrate Holi with traditional food, music and arts.

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Join us in the Aon Grand Ballroom for Holi, a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love.” Colored powder available while supplies last from 1pm-4pm!

Holi Live Performances include: 

Funkadesi (an Indian, reggae, funk and Afro-Caribbean grooves fusion band)
Zeshan B (native Chicagoan offering Indo-Pakistani feels through soul, blues and R&B music) 
Surahbi Ensemble (Chicago-based world music group offering an eclectic mix of sounds and movements) 
Mandala Arts (Mandala connects audiences and students with the vibrancy, flavors, and colors of the performing arts traditions of South Asia)
Bollywood Groove (a Bollywood Dance, Fitness & Entertainment company in the Chicagoland area offering 35 classes throughout their various locations)
Cabinet of Curiosities (an experimental events company focused on creating new ceremonies, rituals, sophisticated puppetry and offering in-depth design consultation)
DJ Krush (“Mixing music into memories” coast to coast with his vibrant style of Bollywood, Bhangra, and International hits)

Navy Pier’s Holi Celebration is part of Global Connections, presented by ComEd, a free community event series. Learn more about Global Connections, and be sure to check out all of Navy Pier’s free events and programs throughout the year. 

Stroller Grooves: Future Hits

Free Public Program

March 6, 2018

Stroller Grooves: Future Hits

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Crystal Gardens

A free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum!

Read More

Join us in the Crystal Gardens Tuesdays in February and March from 12:00pm – 1:00pm for Stroller Grooves – a free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum! The series will continue every Tuesday from February 6th thru March 27th.

About Future Hits

Matt Baron worked in logistics sales for years until he realized cold-calling in business parks wasn’t his calling. He decided to pursue teaching to share his love of learning with students of all language backgrounds (plus some structured time off to write and perform music!).

In his first year teaching for Chicago Public Schools, Baron began writing standards-based songs with corresponding activities to teach his English as a New Language students as well as the general population of kids at his school.

This led to Future Hits, a heartfelt (yet secretly educational) band whose sound has been likened to what Yo La Tengo and the Velvet Underground would sound like if they started a band whose main audience was children, and more simply as “Death Cab for Kindergarten.”

Since 2011, Matt and his bandmates Emma Hospelhorn, Ben Sutherland, and Nick Kabat have written nearly 70 songs, released two albums (with a third one slated for a 2018 release), presented and led professional development, provided Future Hits Enrichment programs in countless classrooms and after-school settings, and played shows in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, China, and even the Galápagos Islands.

Stroller Grooves: Q Brothers

Free Public Program

March 13, 2018

Stroller Grooves: Q Brothers

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Crystal Gardens

A free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum!

Read More

Join us in the Crystal Gardens Tuesdays in February and March from 12:00pm – 1:00pm for Stroller Grooves – a free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum! The series will continue every Tuesday from February 6th thru March 27th.

About the Q Brothers

The Q Brothers have been writing plays/musicals for almost 20 years. We like to take classic works and translate them into modern contexts, while staying true to the original stories. In this way, we believe we pay homage to the original authors, and make their timeless stories more accessible to modern day audiences. Our plays are in rhyme, and performed over original music spun by a live deejay. We call them “Add-Rap-Tations”.

Stroller Grooves: Little Miss Ann

Free Public Program

March 20, 2018

Stroller Grooves: Little Miss Ann

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Crystal Gardens

A free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum!

Read More

Join us in the Crystal Gardens Tuesdays in February and March from 12:00pm – 1:00pm for Stroller Grooves – a free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum! The series will continue every Tuesday from February 6th thru March 27th.

About Little Miss Ann

Ann Torralba aka Little Miss Ann is an award winning kids musician, a former Chicago Public School teacher, a mom, a veteran instructor at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and a first generation Filipina-American.

She has made 5 kids cd’s including her latest, “Keep On” with Amy D. “Keep On” was produced by Grammy award winning producer, Dean Jones. Ann is an award winning kids musician and has received a Silver Parent’s Choice Award and a NAPPA for her music.

Little Miss Ann’s songs have been featured on Sirius XM Kids Place Live, WXPN Kids Corner, WTMD Young at Heart, WXRT Local Anesthetic, and on the NAEYC Featured songs page. Little Miss Ann and her band have brought their down-to-earth, yet upbeat, interactive and energetic performances to Millennium Park, SXSW, Lollapalooza, Pilgrimage Music Festival outside of Nashville, TN, 92Y Tribeca and Brookfield Place in NYC, Overture Center, and more.

Stroller Grooves: Muntu Dance Theatre

Free Public Program

A free children’s music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum!

Read More

Join us in the Crystal Gardens Tuesdays in February and March from 12:00pm – 1:00pm for Stroller Grooves – a free children’s dance and music series presented in partnership with the Chicago Children’s Museum! The series will continue every Tuesday from February 6th thru March 27th.

About Muntu Dance Theatre

In the Bantu language, “muntu” means “the essence of humanity.” It’s what the Company seeks to express in its work and to touch in its audiences. Through its performances, Muntu strives to create an atmosphere of communal participation, encouraging and inspiring audiences and participants to join in the celebration! 

Founded in 1972, The Chicago-based Muntu Dance Theatre performs authentic and progressive interpretations of contemporary and ancient African and African-American dance, music, and folklore. A colorful and dynamic Company, Muntu brings its audiences out of their seats and into the aisles with its unique synthesis of dance, rhythm and song. 



The Company is highly regarded for its innovative repertory, preserving traditional African dance while creating new works that build on African, Caribbean and African-American cultural traditions. We carefully research the cultural and historical significance of the dances and the societies from which they originate. 

Muntu is more than just a performing company. We are also a company of teachers: an essential element to the perpetuation of our art form and its accurate transmittal to our audiences. Muntu’s core programs include professional performances both at home and abroad, comprehensive community arts programs, classes for the public and professional training for emerging new young artists.

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

April 3, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

April 10, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

April 17, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

April 24, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

May 1, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

May 8, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

Free Public Program

May 15, 2018

Spring Into Action: Circuit Training

7:30 am - 8:30 am

Free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions at Navy Pier

Read More

Join us at Navy Pier on Tuesday mornings this spring for free, high-intensity body conditioning sessions. Led by top instructors, these hour-long, outdoor circuit training sessions will combine endurance training and resistance training using the natural landscape of Polk Bros Park. Whether you’re a serious athlete or are simply looking to tone up in time for beach season, you won’t want to miss this free opportunity to break a sweat on the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.

Circuit Training is part of Spring Into Action, a free fitness program at Navy Pier for Spring 2018. 

About the Instructors: Sean and Maria, Phenomenal Fitness

Phenomenal Fitness Personal Training is focused on excellence regarding Physical Development with Education, Enhancement and Empowerment at the forefront of our client interactions.

Our Mission: To assist clients in feeling, moving and looking extraordinary by providing an outstanding 4-Pillar training process, in an exceptional environment with a “triple threat” team of trainers. Triple Threat type trainer means they “know the way”, “show the way” and “go the way”.

We view the majority of folks that train at Phenomenal as people that need and want to Successfully Age and their physical development program and lifestyle variables must powerfully support that.

You Bring the Dedication Determination and Discipline and we will provide the What Why How When and Where–our collaborative will lead to RESULTS!

Sean, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness Maria, Trainer at Phenomenal Fitness

Sean and Maria
Trainers, Phenomenal Fitness

 

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