Navy Pier…Make Your Meeting Extra-Ordinary

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The Origin of Navy Pier


Navy Pier – the well known Chicago Landmark and tourist destination – was conceived in 1909 by Daniel Burnham; American architect and urban designer who was the Director of Works for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He took a leading role in the creation of master plans for the development of a number of cities, including Chicago. The pier was one of 5 envisioned for the city, yet the only one to actually be built. Construction began in 1914, and finished with its opening as Municipal Pier in 1916. It’s original intent of the pier was to be a combination of shipping and leisure, although it has taken on a variety of roles in it’s long history.

Today’s Navy Pier is a Chicago Landmark

Today, Navy Pier (as it was renamed in 1927) is a bustling destination on the Chicago lakefront that hosted 8.9 million visitors last year. In 2007, it received recognition for being the #1 tourist attraction in Chicago (Crain’s Chicago Business) and also the #1 location in Illinois to take an out-of-town guest (Midwest Living Magazine). The following year, it was named the #1 place to take out-of-town guests in the March/April Issue of West Suburban Living. Later in 2008, Navy Pier was honored by Illinois Meetings & Events Magazine with the “Best Of” Award in the category of Chicago Attractions. The list goes on and on.

What’s Going On at Navy Pier

The pier is a beehive of activity, from spectacular fireworks displays to special events. There are world-class theatrical productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, an IMAX Theatre, and Cirque Shanghai acrobats at the Skyline Stage. Restaurants include Harry Caray’s Tavern, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., The Billy Goat Tavern (not the original made famous by SNL greats John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, but still worth a visit), Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar & Grill, and several others to satisfy almost every palate.

Planning Your Next Event

Historic Navy Pier is a spectacular venue for events of all types and sizes. With two exhibit halls, 36 meeting rooms, the Grand Ballroom and Rooftop, Navy Pier has the flexibility to accommodate many types of events. Centrally located on Chicago’s beautiful lakefront, Navy Pier offers the best views of the Chicago skyline. If you are looking for a unique venue for your special event or top level customer service for your meeting or trade show, Navy Pier is the place.  In addition to the entertainment and dining options, the pier boasts:

• 170,100 square feet of exhibition space
• 44,000 square feet of adjacent meeting room space
• 18,150 square foot ballroom with 80′ domed ceilings and panoramic views
• Tented rooftop space with views of Lake Michigan, the Skyline and the Navy Pier fireworks
• Centrally located near Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Loop


Looking to the Future

Navy Pier is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016 and that incredible milestone is being celebrated with The Centennial Vision.  Navy Pier is currently in the midst of an important project that will reimagine it into a bolder, greener, and more contemporary urban space that will elevate both the stature of the already iconic Navy Pier and the visitor experience for decades to come.


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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.