Holidays at Navy Pier Chicago

Celebrate Christmas & New Year Holidays on the Lakefront

Navy Pier is located on Lake Michigan in Chicago. The pier is adorned with lights, decorations, and carnival ride fun for the entire family.

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier in Chicago is a world of fun on the Lake Michigan lakefront. Navy Pier is a destination that the family can easily spend the day at. There are restaurants, bars, shops, novelties, and entertainment fun for all.

The pier is a major attraction to the Chicago area, drawing Chicagoans and travelers to the entertainment mecca. Winter WonderFest is a celebration of the festive holiday season that will continue until January 6. The family holiday event takes place on over 170,000 square feet in the great indoors. The pier is festively decorated in all its holiday finery. There are over 750,000 lights and 25,000 ornaments creating a dazzling display of light and color.

The carnival area features dozens of rides, games, and entertainment for the family. Families can spend a busy day playing on inflatable and challenging courses. There is no fee to enter the Winter WonderFest, but the purchase of a wristband if required to participate in the rides and attractions. Wristbands are $15 to $18. Following are some of the highlights of the Winter WonderFest Festival:

  • Arctic Ice Rink. The indoor skating rink is a popular attraction. The purchase of an upgraded wristband is required for admission to the rink. Skate rental is included. Visitors are welcome to bring their own skates if they prefer.
  • Carnival Rides. The indoor Ferris wheel is 50 feet high and offers a great view of the colorful festival from the air. Kringle Carousel is a musical ride that circles around. Patch’s Lighthouse is a kiddie favorite that lifts children 16 feet into the air and hops them back down. Winter Wind Glider is a new ride.
  • Reindeer Express Train Ride. A trackless┬átrain travels more than 300 feet around a holiday village display at the Bank of America Winter WonderFest. Children and adults enjoy the journey on the Reindeer Express.
  • Challenging Adventure features include the Extreme Ice Trail Ropes Course and the new Glacier Run virtual reality rid.

New Year’s Eve on Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a terrific place to ring in the New Year. There are two free fireworks displays. The pier also hosts Gala Parties.

  • Family Gala. The family-friendly New Year Gala takes place on December 31 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm, capped off by the Family Fireworks display at 7:00 pm.
  • Fireworks. Navy Pier is a spectacular place to right in the New Year. There are two fireworks shows on this gala evening. Family fireworks light up the sky at 7 pm, At midnight the Midnight Fireworks Spectacular welcomes a new beginning.
  • Lake Cruises. Dinner cruises from Navy Pier feature an elegant night on the lakefront. The cruise boats are a great way to witness the colorful fireworks against the Chicago skyline.
  • Crystal Gardens Gala. $175.
  • New Year’s Gala. Ringing in the New Year at Navy Pier, this gala event is hosted by radio station 103.5 KISS FM, MC’d by Ty Bentli. The event features an open bar, hor oeuvres, and Navy Pier’s Midnight Firework Celebration. Tickets, available from Ticketmaster, are $150.

Celebrate the New Year aboard a dinner cruise from Navy Pier.

Navy Pier is a fun-packed place to celebrate the holiday season. Enjoy the Holidays in the City of Chicago.

Magnificent Mile hotels provide an elegant place to stay while enjoying the festivities in the city

The City of Chicago Holiday Trolley offers free transportation to Navy Pier during specified hours.

Chicago is home to well-regarded museums and institutions, including Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and the Art Institute. The Green Triangle Line stops at all of these institutions.

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