When I was a kid growing up in Chicago Navy Pier was a dilapidated Navy Base on Lake Michigan. When it was built in 1916 it was the largest pier in the world, this is probably when our Chicago desire to have the biggest, tallest edifices started. Today, Navy Pier is a year round child and adult play ground, drawing 900 million visitors to the number one attraction in Chicago. Here’s my top ten list of what to do on Navy Pier.
10. Smith Museum of Stained-Glass Windows. 150 pieces of fine stained-glass line the interior corridors of the pier, including 13 pieces from Louis Comfort Tiffany. It it the first stained-glass museum in the US.
8. Musical Carousel. 36 hand-painted horses and chariots fill this merry-go-round with laughter and excitement for all ages.
6. Boat Cruise: Boats from tall schooners to high powered motored boats line the docks along the pier. You can enjoy dinner, dancing and cocktails on the Odyssey or in the summer you can sail out onto the lake in a four-masted schooner and come away with another perspective of the city.
4. Dinner at Riva’s. Riva’s is a steak and seafood restaurant on Navy Pier that offers breathtaking views of the skyline and lakefront and was recently named one of the top scenic views restaurants in the U.S by OpenTable Diners. Bon Appetite, but save your pennies, it’s pricey.
2. Riding the Ferris Wheel: The ten story Ferris wheel offers a fine view of both the city skyline and the lake. The 7 minute ride in the gondola cars is the Piers most visible attraction. The 40 gondola’s hold six passengers each and the Ferris Wheel is a replica of the original Ferris Wheel designed for the 1893 Chicago’s World Colombia’s Exposition.