Friday, July 20, 2012

The Navy Pier in Chicago: Totally Worth the Hype




Shopping at Navy Pier in Chicago


There is no doubt about it, Chicago is a fun city.  It can also be a very expensive city.  Last year, on a whim, the kids and I decided to take the four hour trip from Michigan to the windy city, to visit Navy Pier.  It's one of those tourist-type attractions that you live close enough to that you take it for granted, so even though we've lived here five years now, we'd never checked it out in person.

I had no idea what I was getting into, I just hoped it would be fun.  And it was!  What made it even better, was that it was not expensive.  Yes, we paid quite a bit to park the car in the adjacent garage, we paid for dinner while we there...and we got a souvenir for grandma, but it was still very decently priced (and it's free to enter).   We had a whole afternoon and evening of fun, and none of us really wanted to come back home quite yet, when it was time to go.

Nestled alongside the beautiful Lake Michigan, the waterfront view put us in a good mood from the get-go.  There were small boats, sail boats, and even a yacht or two moving alongside us as we walked from the parking garage to the pier.

Inside there were rides for the smaller children, and a fifteen-story tall Ferris wheel for everyone to enjoy.  If you've never seen a Ferris wheel that big, I'm here to tell you that it was pretty extraordinary.  My kids and I all enjoy roller coasters, the bigger the better, but my daughter and I always steer clear of Ferris wheels.  Why?  I don't know...they just make us a tad bit nervous.  This one, however, was too extraordinary to miss, so we climbed aboard (toddler secured cheerfully beside us), and watched the dramatic Chicago skyland unfold before us in the night.




Afterwards we walked the pier, strolled through the Smith Museum of Stained Windows,  listened to live entertainment, and saw an awesome fireworks show...all free of charge.  For those looking for even more things to do, or who are going to make the pier a two-or-more-day trip, there is the Chicago Children's Museum that is three-floors of hands-on fun; shopping aplenty; an IMAX theater; and right now the richly acclaimed Cirque Shanghai (a contest for two free tickets can be found here) is playing at the pier.  There are also various chartered rides that can be taken on cruise ships, including those that serve dinner; or a bona fide pirate's tale adventure can be had on Tall Ship Windy, Chicago's 148-foot four masted gaff topsail schooner.


Smith Museum of Stained Windows


I was hoping to make a trip back there this year, but we have too much going on, so I think we're going to miss it this summer.  For anyone in the area though, looking for a reasonably-priced outing that is full of family fun, I highly recommend a trip to Chicago's Navy Pier:  It's totally worth the hype!

21 comments:

  1. We were just in Chicago, but it was the NATO Summit time, and just couldn't get anywhere. Next time, I'll have to check this out.

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  2. awesome! i have never been to chicago - it is on my bucket list. :-) i will note these tips on the list too! thanks for sharing!!

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  3. Looks like it was a wonderful trip. We have only had brief trips to Chicago, but it looks like you had lots of fun.

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  4. I have never been there specifically. At least I don't think so. I remember visiting Waukegan when my 1st husband was stationed there for naval training. I flew in for a weekend visit. I don't recall any of the cool stuff you mentioned. Of course that was years ago and it's possible they've made some changes since then. Thanks for sharing about your trip! :)

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  5. That Ferris wheel looks amazing! Looks like you had a great time :)
    Leigh
    www.oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

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  6. I haven't been for over 40 years but I loved the Theatre, walking around downtown, especially Marshall Fields windows and huge tree in the center during Christmas and the Els overhead. Cannot beat the ambiance of Chicago.

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  7. That looks like a fun time near the water!

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  8. You make me think of the song. Chicago, Chicago. I have been through Chicago, but we never had time to stop. Now that my Hubs is retired.. we will be stopping a lot more places. Navy Pier sounds like a perfect place to spend a day... or two.

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  9. I have never been to Chicago. This looks like some great family fun!

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  10. I have never been but i would love to it looks like an amazing place.

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  11. So fun! I love ferris wheels, but this one might be a bit too high for me!

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  12. I haven't ever been to Chicago, but a relative of mine lives near Chicago. If we ever visit her we will definitely also have to visit the pier!

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  13. My trips to Chicago have always been for work and it can definitely be an expensive city. I'll take my kids to the Navy Pier someday. How much was the ferris wheel?

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  14. That looks like fun! Sounds like you all had a great time :)

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  15. Never been to Chicago before but if I ever get the chance to go I will be sure to stop at the Navy Pier. We have a lot of places that we take for granted because we figured we will eventually get around to going.

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  16. I haven't actually had time to tour Chicago. I've been there many times though.

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  17. I agree it is worth it and so much to do. I love, love, love the haunted house the had when I went. Definitely want to take my little man there when he's of age.

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  18. Sound like you had a great time and it was indeed all worth it!

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  19. From BabsProjects: The Navy Pier looks like an awesome place to visit. I have never been to Chicago. If I ever plan to visit Chicago I am checking Navy Pier out.

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  20. Wow, there is so much to see and do there! I don't live any where near Chicago, but if I get near someday, I will plan to visit the Navy Pier :)

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  21. We saw it from the Sears Tower last Christmas..hope to make it there next year...

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