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Free Events & Public Programs

Navy Pier, Chicago’s mission-driven cultural district, proudly offers free events and public programming year-round. From free outdoor movies in the park to free jazz concerts to interactive art installations to dance performances and much more, there’s always something fun to explore at the People’s Pier. See below for a list of our upcoming free events and public programs.

Free Events Series

Navy Pier is committed to providing a wide variety of culturally enriching free programming all year long. Learn more about current events series at Navy Pier, and check back often for new offerings.

All events and happenings at Navy Pier

For a full list of all events and programs taking place at Navy Pier, visit our events list or events calendar.

Free Events at Navy Pier

A Retrospective view of the Pathway

June 21, 2017 - October 1, 2017

A Retrospective view of the Pathway

Polk Bros Park

Free and open to the public! Join us in Polk Bros Park for this public art installation’s daily “eruptions,” now through October 1!.

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Navy Pier welcomes a new public art installation, “A retrospective view of the pathway” by Roger Hiorns – courtesy of Luhring Augustine, New York – in Polk Bros Park. The interactive piece is comprised of large-scale stainless steel tanks, a compressor, and foam, presenting the idea of continuous change in a joyous and ebullient manner. Mondays-Fridays at noon and Saturdays and Sundays at noon and 4 p.m., the sculpture will produce giant foam clusters, which will be shaped by the wind and spread across the landscape. In this way, the artist engages with the surroundings and blurs the lines between where the city begins and the art ends. The installation will be on view through EXPO CHICAGO (September 13 – 17, 2017) with its conclusion on October 1.

A similar version of A retrospective view of the pathway is in the permanent collection of The Contemporary Austin, Texas for the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.

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Gallery

Floating Museum

September 14, 2017 - October 8, 2017

Floating Museum

City Stage in Polk Bros Park

Free and open to the public! The popular Floating Museum is re-envisioned on the lakefront, offering enriched arts and cultural programming during its three-week run.

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Untethered by the confines of brick and mortar, Floating Museum moves to its next location at Navy Pier – Chicago’s mission-driven cultural district – with an installation that highlights arts and culture. From Thursday, September 14 through Sunday, October 8, guests can experience this free public installation through sculpture, digital work and performances.

Floating Museum began as a conceptual art and design project with a focus on exploring the cultural capital present in Chicago spaces outside of the downtown corridor. Building on that initial premise, Floating Museum has expanded the Chicago arts scene by literally “floating” from one Chicago neighborhood to another with each installation taking form through collaboration with the local artists and organizations that reside within Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.

Led by co-directors Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, Faheem Majeed, Andrew Shachman, and Avery R. Young, Floating Museum is a captivating art installation that will be stationed near the City Stage on Navy Pier’s new Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns. This public space will be transformed into a site-specific installation that taps into Chicago’s creative communities and honors the city’s history.

Sticks + Tape | Every Saturday from September 16 through October 7 | 1 p.m. : A collaborative building exercise that guides guests of all ages through the process of creating temporary, large-scale sculptures relying on humble materials.

Panel Discussions |Thursday, September 21 and Thursday, September 28 | 6 p.m.: The panel on September 21 features a discussion with the Floating Museum team regarding museum practices and their vision for Chicago as a “museum campus.” This panel is moderated by Leslie Guy. The panel on September 28 discusses Chicago’s history, monuments and art. Audiences are encouraged to actively engage during panel discussions.

Call + Response | Saturday, October 7 | Noon: Avery R. Young and De Deacon board and dance performance

About Floating Museum

Floating Museum is a collaborative arts organization that creates temporary, site-responsive museum spaces to activate sites of cultural potential throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods. They engage local artist, historians, and organizations in events that challenge traditional museum thinking and generate community engagement and conversation. Floating Museum is co-directed by Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, Faheem Majeed, Andrew Schachman, and Avery R Young. For more information, visit www.floatingmuseum.org.

Press Release

Fright Flicks: Monsters, Inc.

October 21, 2017

Fright Flicks: Monsters, Inc.

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park

Free and open to the public! Join Navy Pier for a free outdoor screening of a favorite, family-friendly Halloween film.

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On Saturday, October 21 and Saturday, October 28, join Navy Pier for Fright Flicks, a free outdoor film screening of favorite Halloween movies. Grab a blanket and get comfortable at the Lake Stage on the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns as Navy Pier presents a double feature at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., with a mix of family-friendly films and classic horror films. The Pier will also offer complimentary treats to Fright Flicks guests on a first-come, first-served basis while supply lasts. 

About Monsters, Inc.

Runtime: 1h 32m
Rated G

In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, 2 monsters realize things may not be what they think.

Fright Flicks: Ghostbusters (2016)

October 21, 2017

Fright Flicks: Ghostbusters (2016)

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park

Free and open to the public! Join Navy Pier for a free outdoor screening of a favorite Halloween film.

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On Saturday, October 21 and Saturday, October 28, join Navy Pier for Fright Flicks, a free outdoor film screening of favorite Halloween movies. Grab a blanket and get comfortable at the Lake Stage on the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns as Navy Pier presents a double feature at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., with a mix of family-friendly films and classic horror films. The Pier will also offer complimentary treats to Fright Flicks guests on a first-come, first-served basis while supply lasts. 

About Ghostbusters (2016)

Runtime: 1h 56m
Rated PG-13

Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.

Fright Flicks: Monster House

October 28, 2017

Fright Flicks: Monster House

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park

Free and open to the public! Join Navy Pier for a free outdoor screening of a favorite, family-friendly Halloween film.

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On Saturday, October 21 and Saturday, October 28, join Navy Pier for Fright Flicks, a free outdoor film screening of favorite Halloween movies. Grab a blanket and get comfortable at the Lake Stage on the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns as Navy Pier presents a double feature at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., with a mix of family-friendly films and classic horror films. The Pier will also offer complimentary treats to Fright Flicks guests on a first-come, first-served basis while supply lasts. 

Fright Flicks: Beetlejuice

October 28, 2017

Fright Flicks: Beetlejuice

5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park

Free and open to the public! Join Navy Pier for a free outdoor screening of a favorite Halloween film.

Read More

On Saturday, October 21 and Saturday, October 28, join Navy Pier for Fright Flicks, a free outdoor film screening of favorite Halloween movies. Grab a blanket and get comfortable at the Lake Stage on the Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns as Navy Pier presents a double feature at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., with a mix of family-friendly films and classic horror films. The Pier will also offer complimentary treats to Fright Flicks guests on a first-come, first-served basis while supply lasts. 

Halloween Fireworks Show presented by Miller Lite

October 28, 2017

Halloween Fireworks Show presented by Miller Lite

9:30 pm - 9:45 pm

Navy Pier

Free and open to the public! Enjoy a “spooktacular” fireworks display over Lake Michigan!

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Enjoy a special Halloween fireworks show over Lake Michigan! Navy Pier’s Halloween Fireworks Show presented by Miller Lite takes place on Saturday, October 28, at 9:30pm. 

View Full Fireworks Schedule

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