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Centennial Wheel

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Streeterville, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Opening Hours

11:00 AM - 8:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago during the weekday evenings for a chance to enjoy a less crowded experience and potentially have a gondola to yourself. Also, make sure to check out the Pier Park area just before sunset—you might catch one of the city's stunning skyline views!"

What is Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier?

The Centennial Wheel is a towering Ferris wheel located at Navy Pier, Chicago, and it's one of the city's most iconic landmarks. Standing at nearly 200 feet, this giant wheel offers breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. Each of its enclosed gondolas provides a comfortable ride, ensuring a panoramic experience in all weather conditions.
Imagine yourself gently ascending above the bustling pier, the city shrinking below as the expanse of the lake and the immensity of the skyline come into full, majestic view—it's a perspective of Chicago you won't soon forget.

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History of Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier

The Centennial Wheel is steeped in history, with Navy Pier itself being over a century old. Opened in 1916, Navy Pier was originally designed as a cargo facility for lake traffic and as an entertainment area. It wasn't until 1995 that the first Ferris wheel was introduced at the pier, igniting a new chapter in the pier's storied existence.
The current Centennial Wheel, inaugurated in 2016, was built to commemorate Navy Pier's 100th anniversary. This state-of-the-art Ferris wheel replaced the previous one and elevated Navy Pier's status from a historic landmark to a modern marvel that pays homage to its past while looking ahead to the future.

Why is Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier Important?

Centennial Wheel stands as a testament to Chicago's history of innovation and architectural wonder. Chicago is, after all, the birthplace of the original Ferris wheel, designed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition—making the present-day attraction much more than merely a ride; it's a nod to the city's inventive spirit.
Additionally, the wheel revitalizes Navy Pier as a gathering place for both locals and visitors, embodying the joy and communal atmosphere of Chicago. It's important for the experience it offers—360-degree views that stitch together the city's architecture, the vastness of Lake Michigan, and the sprawling parks and urban spaces.

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Things to Do & See at Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier

Beyond the ride itself, the Centennial Wheel is part of Navy Pier, which is packed with a multitude of attractions. Here you can embark on a cultural journey through the Chicago Shakespeare Theater or the Children's Museum.
Take a leisurely stroll through the Crystal Gardens, a one-acre, six-story glass atrium. When the weather is kind, the outdoor gardens of the Pier present a colorful tapestry of blooms and greenery, perfect for a midday wander or an evening walk.

  • Cruise on a boat tour departing from the pier to explore the city from the water. These tours offer unique perspectives and commentary on Chicago's architectural wonders.
  • If you're a fan of heights and unmatched vistas, consider experiencing the seasonal fireworks from the comfort of your climate-controlled gondola—an absolutely unforgettable sight.
  • No visit to the pier is complete without indulging in some of Chicago's famous culinary delights available at the many restaurants and eateries dotted along the pier.

One could say that the Centennial Wheel is the crown jewel of Navy Pier, offering not just a ride but a window to the heart of Chicago. Whether you're capturing memories on camera or simply immersed in the moment, your visit here will stay with you as a snapshot of one of the finest cities in the world.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier?

The Centennial Wheel is a large Ferris wheel located at Navy Pier in Chicago, offering panoramic views of the city and Lake Michigan. It stands at nearly 200 feet and features enclosed gondolas for year-round enjoyment.

How long does a ride on the Centennial Wheel last?

A ride on the Centennial Wheel typically lasts about 12 to 15 minutes, allowing passengers to enjoy multiple rotations and the scenic views.

Are there any height or age restrictions for the Centennial Wheel?

There are no specific height or age restrictions for the Centennial Wheel, but children under a certain age may need to be accompanied by an adult.

What are the operating hours for the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier?

The Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier operates year-round with hours varying by season. It is recommended to check the Navy Pier website or contact the Pier directly for the most current operating hours.

Can I purchase tickets for the Centennial Wheel in advance?

Yes, tickets for the Centennial Wheel can be purchased in advance online through the Navy Pier website, which could help in avoiding long lines at the ticket booth.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Streeterville, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Opening Hours

11:00 AM - 8:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Varies

Find it on google maps