Navy Pier

I never got this place. I never understood they hype about it. Still, I do not get it. I wish I did. Really. But I just don't. It seems like a huge tourist trap.

The Ferris Wheel maybe a fun time for folks braver than I. In the few times I have been there, I have been bored. So what am I missing?
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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Deena 2yrs+
Yes it IS a big draw for tourists, one of the top 5 in Chicago. But it’s also one of MY favorite places in the city! I’ve been going there for one thing or another since it opened. Even went a few times BEFORE, when it was nearly abandoned. Don’t know if you’ll remember but it was where ChicagoFest (the precursor to Taste of Chicago) was held. And a bit of trivia: the ballroom was used for filming of the big pool hall tournament in the “The Color of Money”. I was there as a crowd scene extra and got to see Paul Newman IN PERSON, several times!

I’ve also ridden the Ferris Wheel a few times. The views are spectacular! On par with the views from Sears/Willis Tower and the Hancock. Aside from that (and indoors), there’s the Smith Museum of Stained Glass. It’s larger than you might think. I’d say it’s the largest display of stained glass in the city (except perhaps in a church), and not all religious-themed.

Then there’s the Crystal Gardens - a nice little botanical oasis. I think of it as a way to enjoy nature within the comfort of shade and air conditioning. And watching the dancing waters as they jump from pool to pool is a small delight. Further east at the end of the pier is the fabulous Grand Ballroom which has been wonderfully restored. I’ve been to a few concerts and company parties there. Otherwise, it’s not usually open to the public. But you can take a peek through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

Back outside, both the south and north side dock areas at the east end of the pier offer some of best views of the city skyline you’ll ever see – from the ground, and on the south side from 2 levels.

Finally, I love watching fireworks displays and the Pier is the only place in town that has them at least twice a week, every week between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

And on top of all that, there’s the Tall Ships event this week. Where else can you go to see 20 Tall Ships on display in one place? Many will allow visitors to board them for a look around, and a few of those will actually be taking people out for a 2-3 ride on the lake. I will have the unique opportunity and honor to be volunteering at the event for 3 days. I can hardly wait!

What are you missing? A LOT, in my opinion! But then I’m very much a “Local Tourist”.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
BCoughlin 2yrs+
I've been to Navy Pier a few times, and while I feel it's mostly a touristy type of place, once in a while I like to do the tourist stuff around Chicago. I've been to the top of the Sears Tower, but that doesn't mean I don't want to go again!

My favorite memory of Navy Pier was going as a kid and having an artist do a caricature done of myself. I actually still have it, even though it was done of me when I was about 11. It'd be really fun and cool to have one done today also and compare the two.

I've been there for fireworks also, and I think I remember going to a really nice IMAX theater there a few years back, with reserved seats and a great atmosphere. I think it's definitely a place worth going, even if you know the city well and have seen it.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.

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