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Photos courtesy of Brian Cassella of the Chicago Tribune and 

The long awaited Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier finally opened yesterday to celebrate the pier’s 100th anniversary. This high-tech DW60 wheel is the only one of its kind in the U.S., and features impressive safety features, including a fortified foundation that can withstand winds up to 115 mph!

After a glitch yesterday, the Centennial Wheel is back up and running until tonight at midnight. An estimated 8,000 people have ridden the new wheel thus far.

Navigating the hustle and bustle surrounding this opening day could be a challenge – to say the least – but not to worry. We’ve created this handy guide to ensure you get to savor every moment of your Navy Pier weekend.


Start with a Bike Tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike

Getting to the pier early is essential with the unpredictable volume this weekend will bring. Beginning at 9 a.m., Bobby’s Bike Hike will get you to the area and get your blood flowing.

Grab a Beer at the LandShark Beer Garden at Navy Pier

A quick beer will soothe any nerves about the 196-ft. journey you’re about to take into the sky on the Centennial Wheel. The LandShark Beer Garden is a Navy Pier classic.

Ride the Wheel

Hold on tight! This ride is not only taller and longer than its predecessor, it’s also faster.

Savor some Seafood

For a nice bite after, check out DMK Burger and Fish Bar. The Crabby Patty, a crabcake sandwich with Old Bay mayo and pickled onion on a house-baked bun, is a timeless lakefront treat.

Finish with Fireworks

As always, Navy Pier’s fireworks are some of the best in the world, and these 100th anniversary pyrotechnics are sure to cap off your day with a bang.