Visiting Navy Pier

One of the favorite activities for tourists in Chicago is visiting Navy Pier, attracting more than 8 million visitors every year. Navy Pier was designed for shipping and recreation in 1916, and has grown to be a well-known entertainment center. Navy Pier has had a fascinating history, hosting soldiers during World War I, New Deal agencies during the Great Depression, and training for the Navy in the 1940s. In the mid 1940s the Navy left the Pier, and the University of Illinois used it as part of its campus until 1965. In the mid 1970s the Pier stopped being used very often, until 1995 when it reopened after a huge redevelopment project.

When Navy Pier reopened in 1995, it was largely for entertainment purposes, including fantastic shopping, dining, shows, and exhibitions. It also is home to its famous ferris wheel, a landmark ride. In 1999 Navy opened the Chicago Shakespear Theater, an imitation of London’s Swan Theater. This beautiful theater seats 525 and has gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. Recently, in 2009 Navy Pier premiered its Aeroballoon, an anchored helium balloon that can carry 17 passengers on a 10 minute flight to view incredible down town Chicago and gorgeous Lake Michigan.

In 2007 Midwest Living Magazine listed visting Navy Pier as the #1 location in all of Illinois to take a visitor from out of town. Clearly, it is because Navy Pier has so much to offer. It has an intricate history, tied up in the history of Chicago as a whole. It is a beautiful location with spectacular views of Lake Michigan, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, it’s the perfect outdoor venue for a picnic on a nice day. During the colder months there are a number of wonderful things to do indoors, from shopping at the over forty stores, to dining out at the many restaurants. It is a kid-friendly attraction as well, featuring a Children’s Museum, the ferris wheel, Aeroballoon and more.

Creative Commons License Photo credit: HAM guy

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