Navy Pier is Chicago's most visited attraction, attracting more than 8,000,000 visitors per year. It was built between 1914 and 1916 and at the time was the largest pier in the world, at more than 1,000m long. Initially, the pier was to serve as both a port and as a public gathering place, but as cars proliferated the Great Lakes shipping industry declined. Its popularity fell during the 1960s and 1980s, but has seen a resurgence in recent decades.
Touted as Chicago's lakefront playground, there is no shortage of things to do here. Highlights include a 45m tall ferris wheel and old-fashined carousel. It is also home to the Chicago Children's Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and a 3D IMAX theater. There are unique shops and restaurants to enjoy as well, and several cruises depart from here. A dazzling fireworks display takes place every Wednesday and Saturday at 21:00.
No trip to Chicago is complete without a trip to Navy Pier. The carnival-like atmosphere is a blast for all ages. A free trolley runs between Navy Pier and State Street, so there's no need to shell out for parking.
Address: 600 East Grand Avenue
Hours: Open daily, vary throughout the year.