Chicago's Navy Pier celebrates its 100th birthday this summer, and new attractions and activities make it more fun than ever! Summer just isn't summer without a few trips to Chicago's top tourist attraction. Here are five new things to see and do this summer on Navy Pier — from the debut of the Centennial Wheel to icy cool treats like Original Rainbow Cone.
1. Take a Twirl on Chicago's Newest Ferris Wheel.
With sweeping views over the city that invented the Ferris Wheel, Navy Pier's newest Ferris wheel promises bigger and better thrills in Pier Park. Packing a whopping 180 passengers, this nearly 200-foot Ferris wheel is 50 feet taller than the previous wheel. Another upgrade — the spacious gondolas are temperature controlled and boast padded seats. At night, the Centennial Wheel (it's been given a fancy new name to fit the occassion) will be illuminated, adding to our spectacular skyline.
The new Centennial Wheel will open to the public at noon on Friday, May 27, serving as the kickoff to the Pier's 100th year celebration and marking the completion of the first phase of the Pier's redevelopment.
*Bonus: Other key dates on the summer calendar are when Navy Pier will offer free rides June 14, June 28, August 9 and August 23 (10am to noon).
2. Zip and Zoom at Chicago Children's Museum.
If you've got a kid who loves cars, head to the Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier for some high octane fun this summer. The new exhibit Zoom Room gives kids the chance to send toy cars speeding thanks to a giant, multilevel race course. Jumps, long runs, loops, dips, and super spirals as well as crash sites, obstacle courses and tracks with different textured surfaces invite kids to explore physical science in action.
3. Catch all the Sailing Action at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup.
Chicago will be sailing into maritime history this summer when it hosts the Louis Vuitton America's Cup on June 10-12, 2016. Six teams will be competing for the Cup, with Navy Pier serving as the epicenter. You'll want to head to the east end of Navy Pier, where the "Race Village" will offer the best views of the America's Cup World Series Chicago. Family friendly entertainment and interactive content focused on the sport of sailing will round out the fun.
4. Cool Off with an Icy Treat.
Two new icy eateries will usher in summer 2016 on the pier: Original Rainbow Cone and Snow Dragon Shavery. With its rainbow of flavors packed onto a big cone, Chicago's very own Rainbow Cone, once only available in the far south Beverly neighborhood, will be scooping out flavors and fun at Navy Pier starting this summer. If you haven't tried the Hawaiian treat shaved ice — a snowy, flavored cool treat — you can give it a try at Snow Dragon Shavery, also opening this summer on the pier.
5. Catch a Summer 2016 Blockbuster at the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre.
Why see a movie on a ho-hum screen when you can catch it on on the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre's six-story screen with exquisite digital surround sound and unparalleled acoustics? This summer, Captain America: Civil War and Warcraft are just two of the newest blockbusters hitting the big screen, but you'll also want to be sure to watch IMAX exclusive movies including the stunning A Beautiful Planet.
The Essentials: Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
1-800 595-PIER (7437)