Your Comprehensive Cheat Sheet To Navy Pier

Whether it’s a romantic date, family affair, or solo journey, Navy Pier has something for you. 

Built over a century ago, Navy Pier has become one of Chicago’s top tourist destinations that everyone of all ages loves. But it’s in the summer – when the sun beams against the city skyline and sparkles across the blue waters of Lake Michigan – that the pier really comes alive.

With over fifty acres of parks, shopping, fine dining, and summer activities; it can be overwhelming to navigate. So, that’s what this guide is for, a cheat sheet created to help everyone have an unforgettable experience.


Centennial Wheel

Did you even go to Navy Pier without going on the Ferris Wheel? A vocal point of the pier, the iconic Centennial Wheel allows guests to soar almost 200ft in the air, offering unobstructed 360 views of the skyline and lake.

The ride is $18 per guest, however, a unique VIP gondola is available with room for up to four people. Enjoy plush seats and its signature glass floor, which enhances the entire experience.

navy pier
Photo by Navy Pier Instagram @navypierchicago

The Crystal Garden

The Crystal Gardens
FACEBOOK The Crystal Gardens

This stunning indoor, one-acre botanical garden is a beautiful experience. The glass atrium allows light to pour in and illuminate rows of palm trees. Dancing leapfrog fountains are scattered around the room, shooting water streams between one another as hanging fairy lights twinkle from the ceiling.

Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze

Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze
FACEBOOK Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze

With over 4,000 square feet of interactive rooms to get lost in, the funhouse is perfect for kids. Let them burn off some of that youthful energy in the Mirror Maze or Spinning Tunnel. Be careful, though! They may never want to leave.



For those who love to relax with a drink, enjoy the warm summer breeze at Offshore, the country’s largest rooftop bar. Yes, that’s right. Resting at the tip of Navy Pier, Offshore offers an unmatched drinking experience with 36,000 sq ft. of open space.

Patrons can try any one of the limitless drink options from the luxurious bar. Or taste one of the incredible dishes from its world-class culinary team, led by the decorated chef Michael Shrader.

Photo by Offshore Instagram @drinkoffshore

Riva Crabhouse

riva crab house navy pier
Photo by Riva Instagram @rivacrabhouse

For seafood lovers, Riva Crab House is a must. The two-story restaurant has an expansive menu of seafood and steak with breathtaking views to accompany your meal.

America’s Hot Dog and Burger

american dog
Photo from Navy Pier Instagram @navypierchicago

For those looking to experience authentic Chicagoan cuisine, try America’s Hot Dog and Burger and get an authentic Chicago dog with NO ketchup. This hot spot even offers the iconic dogs of other cities like Louisville, Atlanta, and Dallas.


Photo from Instagram @giordanospizza

Chicago wouldn’t be Chicago without deep dish pizza, and Giordano’s is the place to get a decedent pie with a thick buttery crust, tangy tomato sauce, cheese, cheese, and more cheese. Don’t be mistaken. This is not a New York slice. So, come hungry and leave stuffed.


The Original Rainbow Cone

rainbow cone
Photo from Rainbow Cone Instagram

You always have to leave room for dessert, and what better way to satisfy that sweet tooth than with a slice of ice cream or five. A Chicago tradition for over 95 years, The Original Rainbow Cone kiosk offers its legendary five-flavor stack cone. The stack includes creamy slabs of orange sherbet, pistachio, strawberry, chocolate, and palmer house (vanilla with cherries and walnuts.)

Brown Sugar Bakery

If ice cream isn’t someone’s dessert of choice, one can easily find something delicious and satisfying at Brown Sugar Bakery.

Owner, Stephanie Hart, is a pastry master. Inspired by her grandmother’s home recipes, Hart has created dessert heaven. Customers can choose from moist cookies, rich cobblers, fruit pies, or even her signature Caramel Cake.

It would be impossible to mention everything Navy Pier has to offer in just a couple hundred words. Hopefully, the activities and places mentioned above will inspire you to indulge in the beautiful waterside experience.

brown sugar bakery
Photo from Navy Pier Instagram
George Hashemi

Content Editor Associate

George admires the power of the written word and its ability to communicate different cultures and destinations to others. He is an avid reader, foodie and voyager. You will probably find him on a food-tour in Madrid, or curled up with a book in the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen, Morocco.

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