Chicago’s Famous Navy Pier Has Closed! When Will It Re-Open? Chicago’s Most Popular Attraction Struggling To Survive! Bonus Fireworks Too!

Chicago’s Navy Pier Has Closed!

This is troubling news indeed: the city’s most popular attraction shut down this week – and while they have announced plans to reopen, many of the businesses on the Pier are in big trouble!

This is the iconic Navy Pier – a chance to walk out onto Lake Michigan and eat, drink and see the city.

I took this shot one day while walking out to this iconic location – but now, due to the pandemic, it is struggling to survive!

From the north side of the pier, you can see the John Hancock building towering over the city – I walked around the Pier countless times and always loved the views.

The Ferris wheel was just one of the many attractions suffering due to the pandemic. As one media outlet reported:

Chicago’s most popular tourist attraction the famous Navy Pier closed from mid-March to June, but even after its reopening, attendance has been only 15% of its normal level, spokeswoman Payal Patel said.

This is a look south from the Pier toward downtown Chicago. As you can see, the views form the end of the pier are incredible. That makes this decision to close all the sadder. As the Chicago Tribune reports about the lack of crowds over the summer:

That prompted Navy Pier officials to suspend operations once more until spring. The exact date remains undetermined and could be moved up if a vaccine comes online earlier than expected, Patel said.

“We are remaining fluid and will take each day as it comes,” she said.

I took this shot a few years ago from our apartment overlooking the pier – always packed with people heading out for night of fun. But, as another media outlet reports:

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, attendance is down by 80 to 85 percent and Navy Pier will be closed until Spring 2021.

The pier is also facing a $20 million deficit.

Pier officials say they looked at various options, but this was the only scenario that made the most sense for preserving its long-term future.

“The temporary closure will allow the Pier and its partners to reduce its operational expenses and support efforts to limit COVID-19 cases as we move into the fall and winter seasons,” Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner said in a statement last month.

I took this shot from the lakefront walking path along Lake Michigan – you can see the Ferris wheel on the left as downtown Chicago towers over the Pier…

Navy Pier encompasses over 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibition facilities, drawing nearly two million visitors annually.

As Wikipedia notes:

Navy Pier opened to the public on July 15, 1916. Its original purpose was to serve as a dock for freights, passenger traffic, and indoor and outdoor recreation; events like expositions and pageants were held there.

In mid-1918, the pier was also used as a jail for draft dodgers. In 1927, the pier was renamed Navy Pier to honor the naval veterans who served in World War I.

In 1941, during World War II, the pier became a training center for the United States Navy; about 10,000 people worked, trained and lived 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.

It shut down after World War II – but reopened as the famous tourist attraction in the 90’s – and has one of the summer’s greatest attractions as well – a sky filled with fireworks!

Chicago’s Navy Pier Fireworks Spectacular!

This is downtown Chicago at night – that bright light on the right is Navy Pier, and we are on a tour boat, sitting on Lake Michigan waiting for fireworks!

You see, every summer Navy Pier offers a fireworks show on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and it’s spectacular!

Here’s what it looks like when you are on a boat on the lake:

It was one of our favorite parts of living in Chicago: either heading out onto the Pier, or getting a tour boat and watching from the water…a terrific way to celebrate the city!

Chicago’s Incredible Architecture Tours!

Chicago’s stunning architecture can be seen by boat, with tours on the Chicago River all day and night.

Before the fireworks, the night tour boats would take you on a twilight tour of the Chicago river, one of the most enjoyable things to do in town!

You can also walk the river as well, thanks to Chicago’s iconic Riverwalk:

As you can see, at night it’s simply amazing – and it too had to close due to the pandemic – but I shared a walk down the river with all of you once – and you can see it again by clicking on my story here:

The Riverwalk has since reopened, but many businesses are struggling to survive in The Windy City, like the iconic Manny’s Deli, located just a mile south of the famous Sears Tower:

That’s my Manny’s Pastrami sandwich, one of the many joys of that restaurant….you can see more of their incredible menu, and their fight to survive, by clicking on my story here:

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Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve experienced any of these great Chicago destinations, and if you like the story, please share on social media!

Categories: chicago, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Real Estate, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Another sad Corona virus story. 2021 can’t come soon enough.


  2. Wow! I’m surprised. I’ve visited here about 5 years ago…it wasn’t overly crowded at the time, in the cold Spring, but I’m surprised it’s closing during the popular Fall months. Great photos you took there!


  3. That is a truly lovely historic structure, John. Let’s hope it returns to its former glory soon. Your Chicago apartment was in a great location!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no, all of those businesses need to be supported, I feel for all of the people involved


  5. Your post made me feel really sad, John. So many jobs lost and people’s livelihoods damaged and destroyed by this pandemic. I wonder how long it will be before things become a bit more normal again. Our shopping centres are completely dead too and our retailers are going out of business.


  6. Such a lovely place. Hope it comes back soon!


  7. What a great history and such a fun place to visit. Hopefully they survive this difficult time and come back stronger next year.


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