Photo by Tarang Vaidya (He/him)
Before landing in Chicago from India, I had heard a lot about various go-to places in and around Chicago, such as Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, John Hancock Tower, Willis/Sears Tower, The Riverwalk, The Navy Pier, and various other places that I have not covered here. But the place that I visited for the first time when in Chicago will always be a special place, the Navy Pier.
The best part of the journey from the college to Navy Pier was that it was for the very first time that we would be using the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to go such a long distance. We had two options: Either go by bus (route 29) or catch the Green Line train from 35th Bronzeville-IIT station to the Clark/Lake station, get down, and catch the bus that goes towards Navy Pier. Interestingly both options were very convenient in their own way since it gave different perspectives of Downtown. I would recommend trying out both options.
Let’s come to Navy Pier now. Once you arrive from the bus or cab that you have taken, you can actually feel the breeze blowing on your face from Lake Michigan. It is like it entices you to come closer and experience the crisp, fresh air. But the thing that will first catch your eye before experiencing this is the huge Ferris wheel that can be seen from Lake Shore Drive, one of the popular roads in Chicago. Although the fare is a little expensive, the experience is worthwhile.
There is always something about Ferris wheels that keeps me excited at all times. Probably it is because of the view that it has to offer to the customer who wants to experience it. And trust me, the view from the Ferris wheel never disappoints you. I tried the Ferris wheel along with my friends and yeah, it offered me an altogether different experience of Chicago. Not only can you spot various landmarks of the city but also you can see the boats and yachts far away in the lake. It is like your mind is confused at all times whether to focus on this beautiful architectural cityscape or just look at the calm and peaceful lake, not to forget the airplanes and helicopters flying around. It's a wonderful experience overall.
The Navy Pier has various spots of entertainment. Just in front of the Ferris wheel, you have a merry-go-round for the little children. Adults too can be a part of it. Want to be a sailor for some time? Yeah, you have a place where there are remote controlled ships kept in the water, and people can take the ships for a ride in the small artificial pool. Besides all these activities, one can experience some great food and drinks at the lower level promenade.
Speaking of the promenade, one must definitely experience the ship rides and the famous water taxis. The water taxis are a great source of transportation to travel from one place to another. This gives again a different perspective of the city altogether. There are various boat tours where the local guide gives in detail every aspect of the cityscape. It is a fun ride to enjoy and understand the history of Chicago. Then there are lake tours where the rates vary from economical to luxury. It's the same lake, but these are different experience offered by the cruises.
Overall the Navy Pier is a great place to hang out with friends. A nice walk on the pier, enjoying and sipping a drink or two, watching the entertainment shows being held at various places, this is a place that one should never miss. Although, the weather now might not be the best to experience, but come summer, this place would again be buzzing with various visitors.