2019 Summer Programs at Navy Pier

Family Fun in Chicago

By Macaroni Kid Chicago April 4, 2019

If it’s one thing we love at Macaroni Kid it is FREE and Low Cost entertainment for the whole family and once again Navy Pier has a line up with something for everyone! 

As the summer season approaches, Navy Pier is pleased to announce the highlights of its 2019 summer programming schedule, featuring a robust lineup of free events and program series spanning from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. As part of this year’s lineup, the Pier – which draws nearly 9 million annual guests, with high visitorship in the summertime – will welcome back many of its popular programs in music, dance, fitness, theater and festivals, including Pier Fitness, LatiNxt, Water Flicks, Chi-Soul Fest, Navy Pier Pride, Water Colors and more.


“For the third consecutive year, Navy Pier invites Chicagoans and guests to the city’s treasured lakefront for 14 weeks of summer fun,” said Navy Pier Chief Program and Civic Engagement Officer Michelle T. Boone. “With a wide and diverse assortment of free programs presented each day, guests can expect to be treated to the best in local art, entertainment, music and more.”


The season will kick off with Live on the Lake!, the popular live concert series in the Miller Lite Beer Garden, on Friday, May 24. The series will continue every weekend through Sunday, September 1, spotlighting local musicians and cover bands. Wave Wall Wax, a live DJ series hosted at the Wave Wall platform, will be offered every Saturday from May 25 through August 31. The Pier’s signature Aon Summer Fireworks will also return to the Chicago sky every Wednesday and Saturday night from May 25 through August 31.


On Tuesday, June 4, guests are invited to take their workout regimens outdoors with Pier Fitness every Tuesday evening through August 13, with the exception of July 2. The series includes high-energy exercises as part of Rush Hour Workouts, followed by mindful stretches and poses at Sunset Yoga – both offered at the City Stage in Polk Bros Park, against the stunning backdrop of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.


Back by popular demand is LatiNxt Presented by Xfinity, a two-day music festival featuring Latinx bands and musicians. Catch this unique Pier-wide event celebrating the blend of traditional and modern day Latin music on Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15. That Saturday also marks the kickoff to the Pier’s three-part Quinceañera celebration, offering local Latina girls turning 15 an opportunity to commemorate their special milestone with a free photoshoot in their gowns and a festive celebration with family and friends as they enjoy classic Latin American music performances at the Wave Wall platform. The celebration will continue on Monday, July 15 and Thursday, August 15. Also returning to the summer programming lineup is Chi-Soul Fest, a two-day festival showcasing the city’s top talent in soul music. Held on Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, this one-of-a-kind event will feature a musical act at each performance stage.


On June 21, Navy Pier will also welcome back two of its popular music programs, Wiggleworms and Make Music Chicago, in Polk Bros Park. Wiggleworms, a children’s music series presented in partnership with the Old Town School of Folk Music, will be offered every Friday thereafter through August 23, with the exception of July 5.


Water Flicks returns to the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park every Monday from June 24 through August 12. This year, bring your blankets, lawn chairs and capes as the Pier presents “the summer of superheroes,” a showing of D.C. and Marvel film favorites, including Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and more.


On Saturday, June 29, join the Pier for a celebration of love at Navy Pier Pride Presented by American Airlines. This all-day, Pier-wide event will feature LGBTQ programming, including music, dance, arts and crafts, storytelling and more.


As Chicago’s top 4th of July destination, Navy Pier is once again expected to draw thousands of guests to the lakefront to catch the city’s longest fireworks display, presented by Miller Lite.


On Thursday, July 11 and Friday, July 12, support young local musicians, dancers and spoken word artists as part of Fresh Fest! Presented by Allstate Insurance Company, a two-day, Pier-wide youth talent showcase. July 12 also marks the start ofWater Colors, a live jazz music series, presented in partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago and other specials guests. The series will be held in Polk Bros Park every Friday through August 23.


The following week, Chicago Shakespeare Theater I n the Park will kick off its popular summer tradition of bringing Shakespeare to life in parks across the city, starting with Polk Bros Park. Catch A Comedy of Errors from Thursday, July 18 through Saturday, July 20 at the City Stage. July begins to wind down with Tap Fest, an annual tap showcase of professional tap dancers presented by the Chicago Human Rhythm Project in Polk Bros Park on Wednesday, July 24.


In August, the Pier will host two special events in addition to the several ongoing series – After School Matters Showcase on Tuesday, August 6 and Noche Caribeña on Saturday, August 10 – both in Polk Bros Park. All summer programming will conclude on September 1.


Click here to view the full Navy Pier summer programming calendar. Please note that all events and programs are subject to change.


Navy Pier’s free summer programming is a part of the non-profit destination’s ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a kind arts and cultural programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. For more information, visit