Chicago's most-visited tourist attraction, Navy Pier will certainly blow the minds of children younger than twelve. The pier's collection of high-tech rides, hands-on fountains, kid-focused educational exhibits, fast-food restaurants, and trinket vendors will transport your child into the kind of overstimulated, joyful state you haven't witnessed since you finally gave in and got them a puppy for their birthday last year.
For the childless, Navy Pier's charms revolve around the lakefront views, cool breezes, and a ride on the gigantic Ferris wheel. The carousel is another classic, with bobbing carved horses and organ music. You can also hop on afternoon or evening boat cruises from here.
Navy Pier isn't all about rides and cotton candy, though. The pier hosts a variety of acts throughout the summer at the Skyline Stage, a 1,500 seat rooftop venue with a glistening white canopy. An IMAX Theater and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater also call the Pier home.