Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier celebrates the holidays in Chicago.
Each year Festival Hall is transformed into a winter wonderland with nearly 500 trees decorated with 25,000 ornaments, festive rides, indoor ice skating, and twinkling lights.
Here’s your guide to one of the season’s most popular family-friendly activities in Chicago.
Navy Pier Winter WonderFest
Winter WonderFest is an annual event that celebrates winter and the holidays.
Entirely inside, the festival offers several activities and the hall is decorated with candy canes, Christmas trees, and lights galore.
There are 170,000 square feet to fill in Festival Hall, and they are jam-packed with fun. Activities include an ice skating rink, an inflatable slide, a carousel, spinning cups, and a train ride.
New this year is The Wind Chill. This exciting ride soars nearly 53 feet above the indoor winter playground in Festival Hall. Other attractions include:
- Arctic Express Train Ride – a trackless 300-ft train ride around a holiday village display
- Arctic Plunge inflatable slide
- Aquafina® Create-A-Cookie Cottage ($3 per cookie)
- Candy Cane Lighthouse
- Cliff Hanger – hang glider attraction that has you soaring 40 feet in the air
- Dashers Crashers Bumper Cars
- Giant Decorated Tree
- Holiday Howdy Horse (photo op)
- Hot Cocoa Cups – take a ride in a spinning teacup
- Ice Peaks Climbing Walls
- Xfinity Ice Skating Rink
TLTip: If you plan on going ice skating you should be aware that no bags are allowed on the rink. While there is a coat check, you cannot check your bags. If you plan on bringing a purse or backpack bring someone who can hold it for you while you skate.
- Jingle Jym Jr. – especially for tiny tykes
- Kringle Carousel
- Mount Reindeer
- Polar Extreme – slide
- Giant Rocking Chair
- Slippery Snowflake Slide
- Snowman Bouncer
- Winter Rules Mini Golf
- Wintertube – indoor “tubing” hill
- Wonder Whirl
- Zero Gravity
Navy Pier Winter Wonder Market
In addition to all of the fun in Festival Hall, you can also get your Christmas shopping done at Navy Pier Winter Wonder Market. There will be seasonal treats, Chicago-centric items, and food specials.
Free gift wrapping is included with any $20 purchase from a Navy Pier merchant (limit 3 gifts), and you can even meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus!
Tickets for Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest Chicago can be purchased online or at the on-site box office.
If you go on a specific date, ticket options include:
- Winter Wonderfest Admission for guests over 42 inches and under the age of 65 starts at $20
- Junior Admission for children between 36 inches and under 42 inches starts at $10
- Senior Admission for guests 65 years and older also starts at $10
- Children under 36 inches are free.
If you want some flexibility, tickets are a bit more:
- Winter Wonderfest General Admission is $28 for guests over 42 inches and under the age of 65.
- Junior Admission for children between 36 inches and under 42 inches: $14
- Senior Admission for guests 65 years and older: $14
- Children under 36 inches are free.
All ticket options include one complimentary Centennial Wheel ticket – an $18 value. The Centennial Wheel passes are good through March 31.
You can also get 6-pack tickets for $149.
These hotels are close to Navy Pier and are some of our favorites at The Local Tourist:
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When is Winter WonderFest?
Fifth Third Bank Navy Pier Winter WonderFest 2019 dates are from December 6, 2019, to January 12, 2020.
Winter WonderFest Chicago is located at the east end of Navy Pier. Taxis are plentiful and you can take a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. There is parking available at the pier and you can get discounted parking nearby with Spothero and Parkwhiz.
To find discounted parking with Spothero, click on “Edit” below and enter the dates you’ll be attending Winter WonderFest:
If you’re looking for a fun activity for the whole family, check out Winter WonderFest, a Navy Pier Christmas festival. There are activities that are age-appropriate from toddlers up to teens.
Before you go check out our ultimate guide to Navy Pier!
All photos Nick Ulivieri Photography / Navy Pier