Make the Most of Chicago's Navy Pier
Chicago's Navy Pier was once a Lake Michigan dock and warehouse, but since 1995 it has become one of the city's most popular fun destinations for adults and children.
Local DelicaciesParents: Chicago-style Vienna hot dog with everything (yellow mustard bright green pickle relish chopped onions sliced tomatoes tiny sport peppers and a dill pickle spear on a steamed poppy seed bun topped with celery salt) at LandShark Beer Garden.
Kids: Corn dog (a delicacy invented in downstate Springfield IL) with or without mustard at LandShark Beer Garden. 960 1280
Thrill RideParents: Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, 150 feet high, a slow, sweet rotation providing one of the best of all possible views of the Chicago lakefront and skyline.
Kids: Transporter FX, a dynamic high-speed simulator not recommended for pregnant women, people prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia -- or moms. 960 1280
Indoor DiversionParents: Chicago Children's Museum a wholesome collection of interactive exhibits geared toward increasing young people's understanding of the world and the way things work.
Kids: Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze a collection of tunnels drops lights noises and tight squeezes of incidental educational value. 960 1280
Live ShowsParents: Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions. Some are kid-friendly; many are literally Shakespearian.
Kids: Productions on the Skyline Stage under a big white tent. Rock shows sometimes. In summer Cirque Shanghai's acrobats contortionists and roaring motorcycle stunt-drivers are in residence. 960 1280
DessertParents: Fried dough, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, Massa.
Kids: Dough a la mode: Fried dough topped with gelato, hot caramel, apple topping, whipped cream and nuts, Massa. 960 1280
MuseumsParents: Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. A permanent exhibition of stained glass designed by masters of the art including Louis Tiffany Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright much of it salvaged from demolished homes and churches. Near the Pier's east end. Free.
Kids: The Chicago Sports Museum. Relics of famous athletes and artifacts including 2 from the Cubs' 2003 season: a shattered corked bat used illegally by Sammy Sosa and a mangled baseball that arguably had been snatched from the grasp of a Cub defender in a playoff game -- at great cost to the home team -- and was later ceremonially mangled by explosives. Inside Harry Caray's Tavern. Free. 960 1280