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Navy Pier jazz
Photograph: James Richard IV

Here’s a look at Navy Pier’s lineup of free summer programming

Fireworks, concerts, movie screenings and more free events are on the schedule.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Navy Pier began its phased reopening in late April, with some vendors and restaurants reopening on the Pier, while fireworks returned every Saturday night throughout May. Today, the popular tourist attraction revealed that it hopes to fully reopen public spaces and businesses within Navy Pier by Memorial Day weekend (following current the city's current capacity restrictions and guidelines). Plus, there's an entire calendar of free summer programming and events that's set to kick off at the end of May.

On Friday, May 28, Navy Pier will transition to extended summer hours, with many parts of the attraction staying open from 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, this also means that Navy Pier parking garage rates will change from the current flat rate of $29 to tiered hourly rates.

Fans of aerial displays will be glad to hear that Navy Pier's fireworks display will resume its usual Wednesday and Saturday night schedule, with shows taking place at 9:30pm on Wednesdays and 10:15pm on Saturdays until September 4. Here's a look at some of the other free events that will be returning to Pier this summer:

  • Neighborhood Artisan Markets at South Dock, May 28–Sept 5 on select weekends from 11am–5pm
  • Wave Wall Moves dance series at Wave Wall Platform, May 29–Sept 4 on Saturdays at 3:15pm
  • Wave Wall Wax DJ sets at Wave Wall Platform, May 29–Sept 4 on Saturdays from 5–7pm
  • Live on the Lake! concerts at Navy Pier Beer Garden, May 29–Sept 4 on Saturdays from 2–11:30pm and Sundays from 2–8pm
  • Pier Fitness classes at Polk Bros Park, June 1–Aug 31 on Tuesdays from 6–7pm and 7:30–8:30pm
  • Skyline Sessions concerts at Wave Wall Platform, June 3–25 on Thursday and Fridays from 3–8:30pm
  • Wiggleworms at Polk Bros Park, June 6–Aug 27 at 10 and 11am
  • Navy Pier Pride, June 26 from 1–11:30pm
  • Water Flicks movie screenings at Polk Bros Park, July 8–Aug 30 on Mondays and Thursday at 6:30pm
  • Fresh Fest! at Wave Wall Platform, July 8 and 9
  • Water Colors jazz concerts at Polk Bros Park, July 2–Aug 27 on Fridays at 6:30pm
  • Rhythm World dance festival at Polk Bros Park, July 28 at 7pm
  • LatiNxt music festival, August 6 from 5–11pm and August 7 from 1–11:30pm
  • Noche Caribena celebration at Polk Bros Park, August 14 at 6:30pm

Talent, artists and films lineups for the above events are forthcoming, but expect to see details in the coming weeks as Navy Pier's full reopening draws closer. All programming will adhere to public health and safety measures, with events taking place in Polk Bros Park using social distancing circles to maintain distance between parties. According to a release, face masks will also be required when attending Navy Pier events—no word yet as to how this might change now that the city is easing its mask mandate for fully-vaccinated individuals.

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