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Navy Pier is on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan and is 3300 feet long with 50 acres of attractions and restaurants. It is the top leisure destination in the Midwest, so on our weekend in Chicago, we had to visit.
Navy Pier first opened in 1916 as the Municipal Pier and served multiple purposes. It was a freight dock, expositions were held there and later it served as a prison for WWI draft-dodgers. In honor of WWI Naval Veterans, it was renamed Navy Pier in 1927.
The Navy used it as a training center during WWII, complete with living quarters, shops a theater, eateries and a hospital. After the war, the University of Illinois used it as a campus until they outgrew it.
By 1989, the pier had fallen into disuse and begun to deteriorate. The city organized a redevelopment committee. In 1995, the pier had it’s grand re-opening as a modern retail and entertainment complex. When we visited, it was undergoing another metamorphosis for the 2016 Centennial.
Location: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Date designated or established: 9/13/1979
Date of my visit: 5/23/2015