When we visited Chicago last summer on my 50 state quest, we borrowed an apartment from a friend. (Thanks Larry!) We had perfect weather while we were there so I thought that a boat ride on Lake Michigan would be fun. So we took the el , got off at a bus stop and got on a very crowded bus. Which dropped us right in front of Navy Pier.
Navy Pier is a Chicago landmark. A pier located on Lake Michigan, it is Chicago's number one tourist attraction. It started as a pier for incoming ships which segued into a naval training center in the Second World War. Then it became a part of The University of Illinois. It's always been a popular gathering spot though and today it's home to the Chicago Children's Theater, stages, a ferris wheel, an Imax theater and various restaurants and bars. It's also where you can pick up boat rides on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.
The day we were there was a total madhouse! There were families wearing family reunion t-shirts, groups of kids and teens on school trips, and groups of couples looking to go on boat rides. People everywhere! Looking for somewhere to eat lunch, I thought there was no way we would find a seat at any of the restaurants. But luckily we found a seat at Harry Caray's Tavern and enjoyed lunch outside looking over Lake Michigan.
Luckily again, we were able to get a seat on a boat tour heading out on the Lake. It was an hour ride amongst the sailboats with fantastic skyline views of the Windy City. They had an pre-recorded lecture of Navy Pier and the Chicago skyline to listen to while enjoying the ride.
The last time I was in Chicago, some 20 something years ago, it was winter so I wasn't able to visit Navy Pier or take a boat ride. Chicago winters are notoriously brutal, especially along the lakefront. So it was quite nice to experience summer weather this time.
We took a walk down to the end of the pier and enjoyed sitting in the Beer Garden for a little bit. Then we headed back to our bus to take us to our home away from home for the rest of the weekend.
How about you? Have you been to Navy Pier?