Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier

layover in Chicago

I’ve never been to Chicago. Well, technically, I’ve been to O’Hare a dozen times. But I never left the airport. We drove in yesterday and decided to check out one of its iconic landmarks— the Navy Pier. Take a ride on the Centennial Wheel or river cruises. Visit the Children’s Museum or watch a play at the Shakespeare playhouse. Or enjoy a Chicago deep dish or Italian beef during a layover at Chicago Navy Pier.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
20180924_144751-1024x576 Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier

Layover at Chicago Navy Pier

Road Trip

We arrived about 9 hours before our flight. I hate spending that time at the airport, so a long layover excursion sounded like a perfect way to spend the day. And Chicago’s Navy Pier sounded like a hassle-free, one-destination stops to get a little taste of Chicago.

20180924_145728-1024x576 Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier
20180924_150553-1024x576 Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier
20180924_150928-1024x576 Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier

Navy Pier Stroll

What’s Happening on the Pier?

The plan was simply to stroll along the pier and see what we could see. We’d follow it up with a skyline cruise and a deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s. We got a break in the weather. It was an unseasonable 72 for late September in Chicago.

Although the beer garden was closed, there are a number of restaurants still open. There are also a few souvenir shops along the pier. But the view of Chicago’s skyline is the real highlight of the stroll. Even on an overcast day, you can see the mountainous buildings jet into the sky.


Get Giordano’s during a layover at the Chicago Navy Pier. It has been serving deep-dish pizza on the pier since 1974. All I can say is I’m glad we got a small one. But we probably could have gotten away with a personal pan pizza. I would also suggest you call ahead. We were told it would be 45 minutes before we were seated. And then another 60 minutes for our pizza. If you call 312-288-8783 or go online, you’ll get served a lot faster.

LONG-LAYOVER-CHICAGO-NAVY-PIER-683x1024 Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier

Shoreline’s Architecture River Tour

Enjoy your layover at Chicago Navy Pier on a cruise excursion. Shoreline’s award-winning 75-minute Architecture River Tour to discover Chicago’s renowned landmarks as presented by our expert and entertaining guides. On your tour, you’ll learn how Chicago rose from the ashes of the 1871 Great Fire. And how it became the birthplace of the skyscraper and a major influence on modern American architecture. Shoreline’s Architecture River Tour features commentary on more than 40 of the city’s most famous buildings as well as close-up views and excellent photo.

20180924_144553-653x1024 Layover Road Trip to Chicago Navy Pier


  1. kumamonjeng

    My cousin used to work in Chicago until last year she came back to Singapore. I heard so many stories from her. Glad to read about this post and it has so many information. I am planning for East Coast US tour in these two years and I have to do Navy Pier without fail. The 75 min river tour look fun to explore and check out the architecture, may be a great intro for Chicago skyline.

  2. Dalene Ekirapa

    I’ve never been to Chicago but everyone is always so impressed by the place. For sure, I am also in love with the architecture around. That pizza also looks very yummy!

  3. Catherine Santiago Jose

    That is really a long hour of layover but that is fine with me because I was given to see the beautiful place of Chicago Navy Pier.

  4. Same day taj mahal tour by train

    Definitely, Chicago is an amazing place for travelling.! There is so much to see and do. It looks like a really beautiful drive. You captured awesome pictures on your travel trip. That place looks amazing to visit. Thank you so much for sharing great experiences with us.

  5. Rosey

    I have taken a water tour there too. If I had a 9 hour delay at the airport, I’d be in the city in a blink of an eye too. I love Chicago.

  6. Nikki

    I love how scenic Navy pier looks. Also I have seen this pizza place on the Food Network channel and I honestly can’t wait until I go to Chicago to taste it I might just end up having to eat pork again just so I can get me some deep dish.

  7. Sarah Meh

    I’ve never been to Chicago but it looks amazing in photos. I think, 45 minutes Architecture River Tour would be great to enjoy and discover renowned places.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      We really enjoyed the pier. We are planning another trip next summer when its warmer and more things to do outside.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.