Send attendees to the city's hottest new outdoor attractions this summer and treat them to a whole new Chicago experience.
A NEW NAVY PIER
The Midwest's most visited attraction turns 100 this year. No visit to Chicago is complete without some fun at Navy Pier. As part of the Centennial Celebration, the 50-acre waterfront park is enjoying a fabulous makeover that includes a new Polk Bros Fountain and Plaza, a revitalized South Dock, new authentic Chicago restaurants, and celebratory events throughout the summer.
The Centennial Wheel
Navy Pier's new and improved Centennial Wheel opened to the public on May 27 as a year-round 20-story ride wearing an ever-changing LED light show. Guests can hop in one of 42 enclosed climate-controlled gondolas and take in gorgeous sunsets, the Chicago skyline and summer fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday.
The comfortable reinvented gondolas have padded seats, flat-screen TVs, speakers and air-conditioning. For the ultimate sky-skimming ride, the VIP experience offers an exhilarating spin in the exclusive four-passenger glass-bottom gondola.
and Play at the Pier
Hungry visitors can look to Navy Pier for a new elevated dining experience that includes Giordano's and Original Rainbow Cone — a South Side classic! — plus Big Bowl Chinese Express, DMK Burger and Fish Bar, Frankie's Pizza by the Slice, Big City Chicken and Porkchop, a Southern comfort food and barbecue spot. An expansive communal dining area will feature waterfront views and Wi-Fi.
Visitors can enjoy the many other on-site attractions, such as the massive indoor botanical space known as the Crystal Gardens, Chicago Children's Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, IMAX Theatre and more.
In Pier Park, a new $35 day pass includes unlimited rides on the Ferris wheel, the carousel, the Pepsi Wave Swinger, the Light Tower and a new climbing wall.
THE CHICAGO RIVERWALK
The City of Chicago's Riverwalk project has transformed the banks of the Chicago River into a pedestrian-friendly grown-up playground. Guests take in amazing architecture views, dine at highly sought-after restaurants and bars, and enjoy easy access to kayak rentals, shopping and water taxis.
Six Unique Blocks
The new Chicago Riverwalk spans six blocks from State Street west to Lake Street. Visitors can explore various areas, each with its own special offerings and all connected by a continuous riverside walkway:
- The Marina (from State to Dearborn)
- The Cove (Dearborn to Clark)
- The River Theater (Clark to LaSalle)
- The Swimming Hole (LaSalle to Wells)
- The Jetty (Wells to Franklin)
- The Boardwalk (Franklin to Lake)
Each of the six areas has its own landscaping and identity. The Marina focuses on restaurants, retail and public seating. The Cove accommodates kayak rentals and watercraft docking. The Swimming Hole features a zero-depth fountain and The Jetty is all about education and sharing the ecology of the river, with floating gardens and piers for fishing.
This builds upon the stretch of the waterfront promenade that starts at Lake Michigan. The transformation of the Chicago Riverwalk is one of the most visible and ambitious renovations of a public space in the city's history, and is scheduled to be fully completed in 2016 when construction on the last three sections wraps up.
Waterfront Food and Drinks
City Winery Chicago at the Riverwalk is now open on the south bank of the Chicago River. New this summer, an outdoor Wine Garden will have more standing room to accommodate up to 100 guests for wine tastings and private events.
Expect a wine country ambiance, six house-made wines on tap sourced from vineyards in California, and free live music Thursdays to Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m.
A new barbecue-focused Riverwalk dining spot, Tiny Hatt will open in June and offer free live music Monday and Wednesday evenings.
This summer, Lillie's Park Grill will offer grab-and-go eats to be enjoyed along benches in The Cove and River Theatre sections of the Riverwalk. And Dulce in Horto will sell cupcakes, cookies and brownies as the Chicago Riverwalk's first movable vending cart.
Learn more about the Chicago Riverwalk.