Navy Pier’s ferris wheel, an iconic part of Chicago’s skyline, received a makeover this year for the pier’s 100th anniversary. Soaring nearly 200-feet high, the ferris wheel offers 360-degree views of the Windy City and is now taller and faster than ever.
The upgrades to the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, AKA the Centennial Wheel, are part of a larger project to revitalize the pier, giving it a more modern, sophisticated feel.
I took a ride in the wheel’s new VIP gondola with Navy Pier Spokesperson, Payal Patel, to get the scoop on the latest at Navy Pier.
New Ferris Wheel Fast Facts
- A standard ride costs $15; VIP ride costs $50
- The VIP gondola has a glass bottom
- Each ride is about 12-15 minutes
- You can ride day or night
- New climate-controlled gondolas let you ride anytime of year
- You’ll see epic views of Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline
- Fun Fact: Adele took her son on the new wheel twice, according to the pier
The new wheel has a fancy gondola for people willing to pay more than three times the standard rate. The swanky, VIP gondolas ($50 per seat) offer luxurious seats for four people - so each person gets a window seat. With the glass floor, which is exclusive to the VIP gondola, you’ll get unique views looking down at the city. You can also rent out the entire gondola for $200, making it a popular choice for marriage proposals.
Cost to Ride
A ticket for one adult in the standard gondola, which seats eight people, is $15. You can shortened the wait with a fast pass for $25. A seat in the VIP gondola is $50. Illinois residents, kids, and members of the military can save a few bucks on a standard ride.
Longer Ride; Taller Wheel
The new wheel is 50 feet taller than its predecessor. Each ride lasts about 13 minutes and rotates three times. A ride on the old ferris wheel was only seven minutes and rotated once.
Day & Night, Summer or Winter
The new gondolas have air conditioning and heating systems. This improvement allows you to comfortably ride the Centennial Wheel in Chicago’s painfully cold winters and hot summers. The wheel operates during the day and after dark, offering two distinct experiences.
I had a great experience on the new wheel. If you check it out, let me know what you think!