Reason to Be Selected
Originally the Navy Pier was to be a dock for freights, passenger traffic and a space for indoor and outdoor recreation for the public. Many events were held at the pier, such as expositions, pageants and other types of entertainment. In the summer of 1918 the pier was also was a jail for draft dodgers.
In 1927, the pier was renamed Navy Pier to honor the naval veterans who served in the First World War.In 1941, during World War II the pier became a training center for the Navy. About 10,000 people worked, trained and resided there. The pier contained a 2,500-seat theater, gym, 12-chair barber shop, tailor, cobbler shops, soda fountain and a vast kitchen and hospital.
In 1946, as the Navy was winding down from its mission, the University of Illinois at Chicago held classes at the pier. Though the maximum capacity was exceeded the school outgrew the pier and the university relocated to Circle Campus.
After the university left, the Navy Pier became underutilized.
In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened and increased commercial shipping activity at the pier for a short amount of time, though business died down and left for more modern facilities at Lake Calumet.
In 1976 the East End buildings got renovated and for a brief period the pier was alive again and home to summer events, such as the Chicago fest.
Though the Navy Pier struggled to stay maintained and went into decline.In 1989, the City of Chicago had the Urban Land Institute contrive uses for the pier. Then, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority was created, its responsibility was to manage and operate the Navy Pier as well as the McCormick Place. The MPEA undertook the redevelopment of the pier incorporating some of ULI's recommendations.
In 1995, the Navy Pier was redesigned and introduced to the public as the mixed-use retail, dining, entertainment, and cultural venue.
Today, the pier is undergoing another renovation. Starting in 2014, the redevelopment plan called The Centennial Vision was implemented. The purpose of this plan is to fulfill the mission to keep Navy Pier a world-class public space and to renovate the pier so it will have more evening and year-round entertainment, more compelling landscape and design features.Most construction is finished, yet The Centennial Vision should be completed by summer 2016.
Navy Pier attractions include sightseeing tours from companies such as Seadog Ventures, Shoreline Sightseeing cruises and Water Taxi service, and the Tall Ship Windy. There are also dinner cruises by Entertainment Cruises, on their ships the Spirit of Chicago, The Odyssey II, and the Mystic Blue. The Pier has fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer and Saturday nights during the fall.
Navy Pier hosts the PNC Bank Winter Wonderfest from December through January. There is an indoor ice skating rink, as well as shopping and dining in Festival Hall.
There are many outdoor attractions at the Navy Pier Park, such as the Pepsi Wave Swinger, Light Tower Ride, Remote Control Boats and the Carousel.Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze is also on the pier. It is a self-paced, full sensory maze experience where you navigate your way through 4,000 square feet of tunnels, mazes and fun.
Crystal Gardens is a one acre, botanical garden inside the pier. It is a six story glass atrium with a 50 foot arched ceiling. Many events are held here.
The Chicago Children's Museum is a part of Navy Pier, with many different exhibits and activities for both children and adults to enjoy while visiting the museum.
The Pier also has an IMAX theater.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater, a theater that recreates Shakespeare's productions.The Pepsi Skyline stage venue is also at the pier. It seats 1,500 and hosts a variety of live events including music, theater, comedy and acrobatic spectacles from summer through early fall.