Flyover Chicago: Experience the City from Navy Pier

Enjoying Flyover Chicago. Photo courtesy Flyover Chicago
Enjoying Flyover Chicago. Photo courtesy Flyover Chicago
5/12/24 - By Maureen Wilkey

Have you ever wanted to make like a bird and soar above the Chicago skyline? Flyover Chicago, Navy Pier's latest attraction, gives families the chance to coast through the air above the Loop to take in all the sights and sounds of the city (without the hassle of actually being up there). Best for kids ages 5 and up, this unique local ride-and-show combination is 30 minutes of wow-worthy scenery from angles you might not have even imagined.

Read on to get all the details on Navy Pier's latest attraction, and when you're done, check out this list of all other awesome things to do at Navy Pier with kids


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Flyover Chicago is Navy Pier's newest attraction.

Getting ready to experience Flyover Chicago. Photo courtesy PURSUIT for Flyover Chicago

Why Flyover Chicago Is Worth Checking Out

From the intro room to the ride, Navy Pier's latest attraction is fun from beginning to end. 

The Intro Room

Once you ride up the escalator and scan your tickets, you'll enter a room filled with photo frames that feature a constantly shifting video of people running on the Lakefront Trail, chefs preparing tacos, commuters on a snowy L platform, boaters on Lake Michigan, basketball players shooting threes, and more. The room is a meeting point that starts the conversation about the city and will get riders pumped up to see it from a new perspective. Be sure to get your picture taken before you enter the gallery!

The Gallery Room. Photo courtesy PURSUIT for Flyover Chicago

The Narrative

Has everyone arrived for their time spot? Good! Now you'll move on to a circular room with screens lining the walls, a giant round screen suspended from the ceiling showing images on both sides, and a screen in the middle of the floor. You'll be immersed in Chicago's rich history as a video describes the experiences of a choir singing at the Chicago Theatre and shares the stories of a family with a welding business, a restaurant owner, and a group of young adults playing basketball.

The whole experience is a testament to the will and strength of Chicago, and everyone from locals to tourists will get a sense of exactly how amazing it is.

Time to ride! Photo courtesy PURSUIT for Flyover Chicago

The Ride

It's time to experience what you came for! Guests enter the VR-style simulator ride with seats equipped with seatbelts and grab bars attached to a giant moving wall in front of an arced screen. When the lights dim, your seat is pushed past the floor ledge toward the screen, and viola! It's as if you've got wings and you're flying above the city. The seats even tilt back and forth and there's a wind effect to make the whole experience as real as possible. 

Experience the Chicago River being dyed green and the Air and Water Show. Drop from the tops of some of Chicago's tallest buildings from day into night, and get sprayed with real water as you dip in and out of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Whoosh past a moving L car, through Lincoln Park, and over a basketball court before ending up back where you started—on Navy Pier. 

The Flyover Chicago experience is the fourth of its kind, it has already been released in Las Vegas, Iceland, and Canada. This is the first experience filmed by drones, the imagery is stellar, and anyone who has walked through the Loop regularly might tear up at how beautiful the ride is. As a bonus, many scenes include a live person playing or singing music, reminding everyone of the sounds Chicago has brought to the world.

Locals and tourists will have different experiences on the Flyover Chicago. My daughter said she would like to see a version with narration or subtitles about each building (which may have been prompted by me pointing out all the places she knew as we flew by them); my husband, who grew up on the far Northwest side, hoped to see more of the 77 neighborhoods represented throughout the experience.

Overall, we thought Flyover was a great addition to the constantly improving lineup of attractions at Navy Pier.

Getting to the Chicago Flyover

Hop on a bus or drive to Navy Pier. Flyover Chicago's entrance is in the northwest corner of the building, across the hall from the Chicago Children's Museum in the former IMAX theater space. Buy tickets at the kiosk or with a representative—they're sold in 15-minute increments with a limited number of visitors per session. Note: Kids must be 40 inches tall to ride. If your child is close, they will measure to make sure.

Know Before You Go

  • Guests must be 40 inches tall to ride. If you're pregnant, they recommend saving this for another time.

  • I have one kid who doesn't like thrill rides and one afraid of heights. They both had a rough moment or two during the ride, but still had an enjoyable experience overall. If your child has an extreme fear of heights or severe motion sickness, this may not be for you.

  •  Go to the bathroom before your designated start time. 

  • If you buy tickets in advance, add buffer time to get to Navy Pier. Some of the parking spots are half a mile away from Flyover, and it's a long walk from the L. Buses are your best bet here.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos were provided by PURSUIT on behalf of the venue.

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