It's been a few years since so many tall ships docked at Navy Pier, so we're excited about the return of Tall Ships Chicago Aug. 7-11. An international fleet of 14 ships - some from as far away as Norway - will drop anchor and give Chicagoans the chance to view and even board (for an additional fee) some pretty impressive vessels.
It all kicks off with the Chicago Match Cup, where 12 of the world's best teams compete in a head-to-head sailing race. There's $100,000 at stake, so it's sure to be a thrilling competition.
Then, don't miss the beautiful pageantry of the Parade of Sail when the ships make their first official appearance on Lake Michigan, before stopping for dockside viewing and boarding. Plus, there are chances to take a short jaunt on some of the visiting ships - and Chicago's own Tall Ship Windy - to experience a little of life on the high seas.
Once you've had your fill of the ships, check out the east end of Navy Pier, where families can board a match boat just like the ones in the race, learn to tie nautical knots like a real sailor and try other educational activities.
Each night wraps up with a magnificent fireworks display over Lake Michigan - a truly bombastic way to conclude your time at the pier.
For more information, visit navypier.com/tallshipschicago.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
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