Pier People: Large-Scale, Hand-Painted Mural
Visit our new mural, stretching over 100 feet long and up to 16 feet high, just inside the new food experience (east of Margaritaville). Artist Pete Nawara, a Chicagoland native, showcases the cultural diversity of both the Chicago area and Navy Pier visitors.
A New Food Experience
This newly created food experience (the former South Arcade) introduces a more flavorful and elevated Chicago dining experience to Navy Pier. In a newly created expansive communal dining area, complete with unrestricted views of the waterfront and skyline and Wi-Fi access, guests will be able to choose from a number of enticing food options.
Better Connection to Lake Michigan
The contemporary, clean design follows a simple but powerful concept: open up the Pier and clear away the clutter. Barriers to the water’s edge have been covered to improve access to the waterfront and create new space for walking, sitting, interacting and being entertained.
A new stormwater management system incorporates the latest green infrastructure advancements into the aesthetic design. Utilizing best management practices (BMPs) defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the system improves the quality of Navy Pier’s stormwater runoff and controls its volume by capturing and filtering stormwater through trees and tree tubs, collecting surface runoff through permeable pavements and native landscape plantings and passing it through bioinfiltration basins before directing it to an underground storage cistern for reuse as irrigation.
Trees and Plants
South Dock has become an open promenade lined with tree groves and native plants that bring environmental, social and aesthetic benefits to the community and coastal region. Most of the trees and plantings have been locally sourced from within 50 miles and are native to the Chicago eco-region. Tree species were carefully selected to create a new green habitat with recreational appeal, including the Marmo Maple, a resilient variety of the Freeman’s maple originally bred at the Morton Arboretum, and the WOW American Sycamore, one of the largest hardwood trees of the Eastern forests in the United States.
New lake pavilions eliminate commercial clutter on the Pier and open up vistas to Lake Michigan and the length of South Dock by organizing boat ticketing and other concessions. In addition to providing shade and wind protection, their simplicity and strong architectural silhouettes reflect the lake onto the dock to enhance connection to the water.
Social seating areas pepper the South Dock with an invitation to experience the Pier in a whole new way. The modern look and comfortable feel of the over-scaled benches—made from reclaimed wood and recycled steel—work together to engage people and encourage interaction.
Permeable pavement made up of recycled content and locally-sourced aggregate is arranged in a herringbone pattern to instill a sense of vitality along the length of the promenade. This foundation ties Pierscape’s modern design elements together and also provides significant environmental benefits, serving as an essential part of the Pier’s stormwater management system. Rainwater collected through the pavement is the major source of irrigation for landscaped and planted areas throughout Navy Pier.
Wave Wall Stair
The Wave Stair and integrated Wave Wall is an iconic feature of the Pierscape design. Dramatic curves form a new staircase gathering space and seamlessly connect South Dock to Pier Park, serving as a beautiful focal point and functional amphitheater reminiscent of the Spanish Steps in Rome.
The addition of sleek bicycle racks made from recycled steel compliment the architectural silhouette of the pier and provide cyclists with an easily accessible place to secure their bikes and enjoy Navy Pier on foot.
Polk Bros Park
Some of the most significant landscape changes are taking place in the new Polk Bros Park, which is transforming Navy Pier’s green front yard into its own destination for public gathering and arts and culture programing.