Navy Pier - Winter Wonderfest - Blog

Navy Pier is just as wonderful in the winter as it is in the summer. You can pull right in, park your car in the indoor lot, and enjoy a day jam-packed with activities, dining, shopping, and fun - without having to endure the chilly weather outdoors. Here are three festive holiday happenings at Navy Pier this winter season.

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Winter Wonderfest 

My kids, ages three and eleven, have declared Navy Pier's Winter Wonderfest their number one pre-holiday festival. 170,000 square feet of Navy Pier transforms into a holiday playground at this fantastic fest. You'll find rides for the entire family - from a giant rocking horse to an indoor Ferris wheel. Last year, my daughter, then age 2, could not get enough of the Reindeer Express choo-choo train, while my son challenged himself on the Extreme Ice Trail Ropes Course. Save some time for ice skating, and try to catch some of the live family-friendly entertainment, including jugglers, magicians, ethnic and cultural programming, and more.  

A few tips: Arrive early, to avoid long wait times for rides. Leave your coats in your car (parking is indoors at Navy Pier) to avoid having to pay fees to check them or drag them around with you all day. And check Navy Pier's promotions page before you go, for daily discounts on admission and parking.  

Make-Your-Own Holiday Characters at Build-A-Bear Workshop 

This holiday season, Build-A-Bear Workshop has a sweet new collection of classic Christmas characters. Pop into the Navy Pier location and you can make-your-own Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ($23); with light up nose and heart; or Clarice ($23), Rudolph's special friend. Or consider making the adorably evil Grinch ($23), who has a heart that lights up three times as his Christmas spirit grows.  

Snow Much Fun! at the Chicago Children's Museum 

Don your skates (your socks!) and jump into the Snow Much Fun! exhibit at the Chicago Children's Museum, located within Navy Pier, You'll enjoy all the best of snow with zero chill factor. Build a snow fort, throw snowballs, dress up a snowman and skate on the rink in your socks. The museum gift shop is also a great pit-stop for educational holiday gifts.  

Be sure to check out Navy Pier's Events Calendar for daily activities, entertainment and more.