Chicago is regarded as the Windy City and so are its downtown attractions that I am going to mention in this article. Most of the thrilling attractions in downtown Chicago are in and around the Navy Pier on the Lake Michigan at the east of downtown. The site is the hodgepodge of various forms of entertainment, dining choices, boat cruises – all offering a visually striking view of Lake Michigan. Navy Pier is an area in downtown where there is no day without offering some fun and frolic. It is the lakefront field offering over 50 acres of parks, walkways, gardens, shops, restaurants, and thrilling rides.
So, Navy Pier is home to unmatched collection of family entertainment. Therefore considered as one of the top tourist pulls, Navy Pier was among my favorite attractions in downtown Chicago too as even I was with my family. So, I decided to explore the highlights in and around this area of downtown.
I first visited the Pier Park situated on the upper deck between the Crystal Gardens and the Pepsi Skyline Stage. These two are also worth visiting attractions in downtown Chicago. It is an outdoor part full of rides like a permanent 150-foot Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, an archaic swing ride, an 18-hole miniature golf course, remote control boats, light tower ride, and much more. All these rides cost $5 per person, except for the wheel that takes $6.
The Ferris Wheel is a 7-minute ride for the people of all ages to take a great view of the Chicago skyline and lakefront. There are 40 gondolas each accommodating 6 people. If you come in late evening, the wheel is lit with hundreds of shimmering lights. For the Musical Carousel near the wheel, one should be 42 inches tall to ride this fancy art. The 36 painted animals indicate the different historic patterns of the carousels wherein horses, chariots, and a playful frog await kids. Look at the top for the painted rounding boards revealing the history of the area.
The old Wave Swinger requires you to be 48 inches to swing around the park. Raising some 40 feet above a water pond, this thrilling ride of 48 seats towers you 14 feet up in the air for a view of the unmatchable lakeside.
The 18 Hole Miniature Golf Course is at the base of the wheel, while the Remote Control Boats is near the Carousel that requires a token of $1 for each ride. This was exciting for me. The Light Tower Ride near the Ferris wheel is a 13 foot ride that makes you bounce up and down only if you are 36 inches tall. Ensure that you remove any loose shoes.
After the park, explore the Transporter FX – a new attraction in the downtown where you can select your own thrill stage. With $6, you can fly high speed to the Antarctica, Moon, or to Wild Africa, Fly into Combat, or Race in the Grand Prix. Bike and Roll Chicago
The Bike and Roll Chicago attraction is where you see new bikes and skates rented for an hour, day, or week. Bikes are inlaid with free locks, riding maps, and safety gear. This is a perfect way to explore the windy city. Get your own or hire a bike from here for a guided tour. The tours start from Navy Pier at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 7:00 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Next, be in the world of the stained glass art in the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. Explore the permanent display of 150 stained glass windows housed in long galleries along the low terraces of Festival Hall. Regarded as the first museum of only stained glass windows in the continent, it exhibits secular and religious windows split as per the theme into four groups namely, Victorian, Prairie, Modern, and Contemporary. Most of these were first housed in residential and religious edifices.
Then, the Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze in the center where you are sure to be lost in Mirror Maze, Spinning Tunnel, Great Chicago Fire, and more, more, and more! So, go squeezing, stamping, whirling, turning, and twisting along with all possible actions!
Lastly, the Segway Experience of Chicago offers you to get immersed in the natural and historic beauty of the city via its two-hour guided tours of the lakefront. Starting at 11 am daily, the tour starts at the wonderful Navy Pier with training by the certified tour captains and then continues to Olive Park, Oak Street Beach, and Lincoln Park. Further, it takes you on the amazing Gold Coast neighborhood, the historic Drake Hotel, and the architectural marvel of Mies van der Rohe’s condominiums along with Northwestern’s medical and law campuses.