Streeterville, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
|⏰ Opening Hours
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
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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.