Navy Pier

A symbol of service and civic pride, ever-evolving

Chicago’s Navy Pier is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire Midwest. Originally completed as part of Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago, Navy Pier is an iconic city landmark, inspiring discovery and wonder. Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million visitors have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. 

Throughout its years, Navy Pier has shifted purposes time and time again, adapting to the needs of the nation. Since its completion in 1916, the Pier has been instrumental in both World Wars, served as an exhibition space, host of a summer music festival, and home to one of the most famous Ferris Wheels in history, finally becoming the nationally known destination it is today.

Walk through the Pier’s illustrious past and learn more about this incredible cornerstone in Chicago’s cityscape.


During WWI, the Pier shifted from a civic and social center to a military recruitment base. The U.S. Navy introduced a serious training program that prepared a tremendous amount of Sailors, significantly increasing the size of the Navy and helping to ensure their success. Discover more about Navy Pier in WWI.

World War II

As WWII began in full force, the Pier once again shifted into a training center. This time however, the Navy modified two ships to be used as aircraft carriers, qualifying thousands of pilots within a mere three years. Learn more about Navy Pier in WWII


Since the end of the war, Navy Pier has been home to a number of events and attractions and currently serves as one of the top destinations in the U.S. Midwest, drawing over nine million visitors every year. Explore Navy Pier today.

Help us complete our mission!

Please consider honoring the people and contributions our area has made to the U.S. Navy by making a donation today.