Jutting out from the shore of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the must-visit sites of Chicago. Its iconic Ferris Wheel—with 360-degree views—anchors one end of the 50-plus acres that includes gardens, a theater, museum, shops, and restaurants. Stay just west of downtown at the City Scene Bed &Breakfast, and you’ll be able to use local transportation—including the free Navy Pier trolley to visit the area.
The original Navy Pier opened in 1916. Known then as Municipal Pier, it was part of the grand design for Chicago’s lakefront, and served as a dock for freight, passenger traffic, expositions, and both indoor and outdoor recreation that included a 2,500-seat theater, shops, and soda fountain. In 1927, the space was renamed Navy Pier in honor of World War I naval veterans, and during World War II was used as a training center for the U.S. Navy. The University of Illinois then used the space for classrooms. Following this, Navy Pier was utilized for exhibitions and events on and off during the next decades, but it wasn’t until 2014 that today’s vision of the pier started to become a reality.
Today’s Navy Pier is a bustling tourist attraction that is home to six major attractions: Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Crystal Gardens (a one-acre indoor botanical garden), IMAX Theater, Polk Bros Fountain and Plaza, and Miller Lite Beer Garden. Outdoor concerts and performances are held during warm-weather months. And dining is plentiful, with more than 15 counter service restaurants—including tried-and-true Chicago favorites, such as Giordano’s, Harry Carey’s Tavern, and Billy Goat Tavern—and six seasonal kiosks.
One of the more delightful ways to arrive at Navy Pier is via the Shoreline Water Taxi, which runs May to September and connects Navy Pier to the Museum Campus south of downtown. The aforementioned trolley travels from the pier to the Art Institute of Chicago.
600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL
Open year-round, starting at 10:00 a.m. Closing hours vary from 7:00 p.m. – midnight, depending on the day and time of year.
Admittance to the pier is free; attractions within Navy Pier may have an admission price.
After the hustle and bustle of Navy Pier, the quiet residential setting of City Scene Bed & Breakfast is a nice change of pace. Located on the garden level of a Victorian four-flat, the B&B’s private suite is like a home-away-from-home with two bedrooms, a sitting room, kitchen, bath, and charming outdoor patio.
2101 North Clifton Avenue, Chicago, IL
City Scene Bed & Breakfast is a member of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association … a unique lodging experience!