Navy Pier gets a brand-new ride to honor its 100th anniversary

If you’re anything like me, your response to the news that they were replacing the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier was something along the lines of “Why change a good thing?”

If you go

Centennial Wheel

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

Single rides: and for kids 3-11

Well, after taking a spin on the brand-new ride, I finally have the answer.

Because the Centennial Wheel takes a good thing we already loved and made it great.

The Centennial Wheel honors 100 years of Navy Pier, and it’s bigger and better than its predecessor. The new wheel is 50 feet taller and can hold more passengers at once, hopefully leading to less time in line with your impatient kids.

Each of the eight-passenger gondolas has comfortable upholstered seats, video screens that broadcast factoids about Navy Pier, and air conditioning for those of us who like a little climate control to go with our epic views.

The views are definitely something to behold. Whether you want an eyeful of Lake Michigan with its fleet of boats or to snap some selfies with Lake Point Tower and the Hancock, you’re sure to be pleased with all that you can glimpse from 200 feet in the air. And since the ride is longer—12-15 minutes versus the old 7—you can check out any angle that suits your fancy before you disembark.

Of course for all the improvements, there’s another thing that’s a little bigger, too: the price tag. During the off-season (November-March), they’ll offer a special rate for Illinois residents. And be sure to mark Aug. 9 and 23 on your calendar, because from 10 a.m.-noon, you can ride the wheel for free!

Navy Pier also offers a variety of packages such as a Fast Pass and Play the Park, which allows for unlimited rides on the Pier.

So step right up, because the city that invented the Ferris wheel has just welcomed a pretty legendary one your family is sure to love.

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