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Where

Navy Pier is great for families not only because kids can be outside and moving around, but also because it is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum and Pier Park with the Centennial (Ferris) Wheel, wave swinger and carousel rides. There are a number of shops and restaurants, including my favorite burger joint—DMK Burger Bar. And although the kids probably won’t appreciate it, you can also seek out the statue of Bob Newhart from his TV days as a psychologist in the 1970s.

A number of boat tours go out of Navy Pier, too, including some of the architecture tours, speedboats and sunset dining cruises. (In October, some of these may depend on the weather.)

For a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, walk all the way to the end of Navy Pier. The wind picks up here, but it’s worth the chill to take in the view. This end of the pier also features the 8-ton anchor from the U.S.S. Chicago, a warship that was funded by the citizens of Chicago and that saw action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

On the way back, you may want to stop for a beverage or listen to live music at the Miller Lite Beer Garden. This can be a beautiful spot to relax and see the city skyline. However, it will likely be more crowded on October 6 because of Oktoberfest, an all-you-can-eat, open bar event at the beer garden. (If loading up on beer and brats is the way you prep for a marathon, you’re in luck!)

If the weather is dismal, Navy Pier is also home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and an IMAX theater.

Racertrips™ Tips

  • There are free trolleys to Navy Pier from several downtown locations. In October, they only run on  on Saturdays and Sundays. (Download a trolley route map.) If you’re going to Navy Pier on another day, you can get there by taking the Grand Avenue (#66) bus east or by walking, depending where you’re staying and how much you want to be on your feet.
  • If you’re walking to Navy Pier, I recommend taking a few minutes to visit Milton Lee Olive Park, which offers picturesque views of Lake Michigan, Lake Shore Drive, and part of the city skyline in peaceful, quiet surroundings. The park is located to the north of Navy Pier between Ohio Street Beach and the water treatment plant that is parallel to Navy Pier. If you follow the foot path in or out of Navy Pier from the north, look for a subtle gated entryway.

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      1 Review for Navy Pier

      Coach Denise Sauriol

      19 Reviews

      Beautiful View of Lake Michigan

      5/ 5

      For a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, walk all the way to the end of Navy Pier. The wind picks up here, but it’s worth the chill to take in the view. This end of the pier also features the 8-ton anchor from the U.S.S. Chicago, a warship that was funded by the citizens of Chicago and that saw action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

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