Navy Pier, a Chicago landmark, entertains visitors from around the globe. Walk along the 3,300 foot-long pier that stretches over Lake Michigan and you’ll be counted among the 2 million annual visitors. This famous Midwest attraction is bursting with restaurants, many of which are created out of a deep love and nostalgia for Chicago's history as well as a consistent hankering for pizza, hot dogs and burgers. Below are the best eateries Navy Pier has to offer.
Harry Caray’s Tavern Navy Pier
Beloved for his wild antics as a Major League Baseball sportscaster (11 years with the Chicago White Sox and 16 years as the announcer for the Chicago Cubs), Harry Caray holds a place in most Cubs fans’ nostalgic hearts. Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group started with the first Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in 1987 and has since bloomed into seven other restaurants, including Harry Caray’s Tavern Navy Pier. Barbecue is the most popular menu item and, of course, beer. Order a Harry Caray’s Here’s to Harry Amber Ale by Burnt City.
America’s Dog and Burger
Hot dogs and burgers are what this family-owned place is known for however America’s Dog and Burger also has Italian beef and sausages on the menu. Each hot dog is named after a city, developed out of a classic American road trip: Louisville, Chicago, Dallas, Santa Fe, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Milwaukee. Order a dog or burger with beer-battered jalapeño caps.
Navy Pier has its first craft cocktail bar, Tiny Tavern, situated just west of the Shakespeare Theater’s staircase. Relatively new—they opened their doors in 2016—diners can nosh on burgers, salads, sandwiches, and items from a decently sized starters menu (the beer-battered cheese curds are popular). If this place sounds familiar, it’s because Tiny Tavern had a popular cousin in Wicker Park, Tiny Lounge, which closed after 19 years.
Relish Chicago Hot Dogs
Noshing on a Chicago-style hot dog is also an experience that you have to have while visiting the Windy City. Order your dog from this stand, located at the end of Navy Pier, topped with yellow mustard, white onions, pickle relish, dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, pickled sport peppers, and celery salt, (we know, it’s intense). Hold the ketchup.
Garrett Popcorn Shops
While not technically a meal, Garrett Popcorn Shops have been a Chicago staple since 1949—often, you’ll see a line of people snaking out of the door, waiting to select a snack. Nosh on handmade air popped corn while you stroll Navy Pier or buy a tin of corn for a gift. The Garrett Mix, a blend of their signature CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn recipes is the most well-loved order. While most locations are in Chicagoland, including Navy Pier, you can also pick up a tin while visiting Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, or Singapore.
Billy Goat Tavern Navy Pier
History and wistfulness engulf Billy Goat Tavern, a core Chicago step-back-in-time experience. The first Billy Goat Tavern, opened in 1934, was created by Greek immigrant William “Billy Goat” Sianis (a goat fell off a passing truck, apparently, and Sianis adopted the goat and named his bar after said goat). Sianis also tried to bring his beloved goat into Wrigley Field to help the Cubs win, and when the goat wasn’t allowed, he put a curse on the Cubs (Cubs finally won in 2016 after a 108 year-long drought). Since then, the tavern has expanded to locations in Chicago’s loop, United Center, O’Hare International Airport, and Navy Pier. No-frills burgers, ribeye sandwiches, and no fries (chips only)—the menu is heavy and straightforward.
Riva Crab House
There’s something about being on the water that makes folks salivate for seafood. Enter: Riva Crab House Navy Pier. Order jumbo crab cakes, oysters, or the signature lobster bisque. Dine and then enjoy a show at Chicago Shakespeare Theater—if you show your theater ticket, you’ll receive a 20 percent off discount on a prix fixe three-course menu. The wine list is also well curated.