While a long list of events and festivals have been canceled this summer due to limits on gatherings under Chicago's reopening guidelines, Navy Pier is cautiously moving ahead with a slate of free cultural programming. The lakefront attraction partially reopened to the public earlier this month, welcoming visitors back to restaurants, the expansive Offshore rooftop and the Centennial Wheel—all while asking guests to wear face masks and practice social distancing. That focus on safety will accompany Navy Pier's lineup of film screenings, concerts and festivals, which begins in July.
Highlights of the public programming include the return of the Water Flicks film series in Polk Bros Park, which screens family-friendly movies like The Lion King and Frozen 2 that take viewers to "real and imaginary exotic locations." The Water Colors jazz series will also be a weekly presence in Polk Bros Park and will include a tribute to The Blue Brother performed by the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and Blue Brothers saxophonist Lou Marini. Plus, the youth-focused Fresh Fest!, local Latinx musician showcase LatiNxt Music Festival and the Chi-Soul Fest will bring live music to the Pier throughout the summer.
Attendees can expect limited capacity at Navy Pier's lineup of events, as the attraction enforces the safety measures it put in place when it reopened in early June. All guests are required to wear a face mask and remain at least six feet apart from other groups of visitors. In addition to new cleaning measures that focus on frequently sanitizing surfaces that are frequently touched by guests, Navy Pier has also installed hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue and hired social-distancing ambassadors to remind visitors to maintain space between themselves and other parties.
Find more information about Navy Pier's free summer programming on its website and take a look at the complete lineup below:
Wave Wall Wax
A weekly DJ series at the Wave Wall Platform. Saturdays through the end of August from 5 to 7pm.
Summer Fitness series
Show up every Tuesday in Polk Bros Park for a Rush Hour Workout (a mixture of boxing, HIIT, barre burn and yoga sculpt) followed by Sunset Yoga. Tuesdays through the end of August from 6 to 7pm and 7:30 to 8:30pm.
Live on the Lake!
A weekly live music series in the Miller Lite Beer Garden featuring local and regional acts. Saturdays from 2 to 11pm and Sundays from 2 to 8pm through September 7.
Wave Wall Moves
See Chicago Dance curated performances from local dance companies on the Wave Wall Platform. July 4–August 28, Saturdays from 3 to 3:15pm.
Polk Bros Park hosts a free weekly movie screening, featuring family-friendly films that visit exotic locales. July 6–August 24, Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30pm.
Fresh Fest! Presented by Allstate
An all-day showcase of young Chicago dancers, musicians and performing artists on the Wave Wall Platform and in Polk Bros Park. July 10 from 10am to 8pm.
Presented in partnership with the Old Town School of Folk Music, this children's music series will host kid-friendly performers every Friday morning. July 10–August 21, Fridays from 10 to 11am.
A live jazz concert series in Polk Bros Park featuring local musicians. July 10–August 21, Fridays at TBA.
LatiNxt Music Festival
Local cumbia, Latin soul, Latin surf rock and global bass artists come together for a celebration of Chicago's Latinx music community. July 24 and 25 from 5:30 to 11:30pm.
Navy Pier's lineup of free cultural programming concludes with two days of performances from local soul musicians. September 18 and 19.
Most popular on Time Out
- These notable Chicago restaurants and bars have now permanently closed
- Here’s what will reopen when Chicago moves into Phase 4
- Where to find drive-in movie theaters near Chicago
- Lost Lake’s Chick-Feel-Gay pop-up will sell ‘hate-free’ chicken sandwiches
- Supporting Chicago’s Black-owned restaurants is a lifelong commitment