Travel Magazine

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Winter Wonderfest

Navy Pier’s 16th annual Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest is exactly that, a winter wonderland. Even better? It’s entirely indoors, so you can have all the winter fun without freezing your buns off in the ice cold weather.

The indoor festival begins on December 2nd and goes until January 8th. Families can visit a 170,000 square-foot space with endless attractions that all ages can enjoy. A Blackhawks ice skating rink, an indoor ferris wheel, and live entertainment are just a few of the things you’ll experience at Navy Pier’s annual winter bonanza.

Here’s What You Can See

Winter Wonderfest2
Arctic Plunge
A dual lane inflatable slide decorated for winter.

Candy Cane Lighthouse
The lighthouse lifts children 16 feet in the air and brings them back gently towards the ground.

Cliff Hanger
Cliff Hanger is a hang glider that takes you as high as 40 feet into the air.

Ferris Wheel
Both children and adults can marvel at the indoor wonderland from the 50-foot tall Ferris wheel. It’s easily the best seat in the house.

Winter Wonderfest4
Giant Decorated Tree
This 42-foot behemoth is the centerpiece of the Winter WonderFest. It’s adorned with multi-colored ornaments, gift-wrapped presents and twinkling lights.

Holiday Howdy Horse
Photo opportunities are available on this massive rocking horse.

Hot Cocoa Cups
Spin around in these large teacups, just don’t get too dizzy!

Ice Peaks Climbing Wall
Grab your gym shoes and challenge yourself to an exhilarating climb on a rock wall overlooking the fest.

Jingle Jym Jr.
This special section for smaller children only allows kids 46” or smaller to participate. It includes the Arctic Wonder Obstacle Course, Gumball Bouncer,  Santa’s Workshop Bouncer, and Snowball Blitz.

Kringle Carousel
Your classic Merry-Go-Round, decorated for winter.

Aquafina® Create-A-Cookie Cottage
This cottage allows children to decorate and eat freshly baked sugar cookies.

Polar Extreme
Race your way through a “frozen tundra” in this double-sided course that ends with a slide.

Reindeer Express Train Ride
Choo Choo! This trackless train takes the entire family around a 300-foot large holiday village.

Slides, Obstacle Courses & More
The visit wouldn’t be complete without a climb up Mount Reindeer, a ride down the Slippery Snowflake Slide, or a whack at Winter Rules Mini Golf.

Snowman Bouncer
No, this isn’t a large snowman standing beside the door. The Snowman Bouncer is a 38-foot tall bouncy castle.

Visit With Santa
The big man himself will be in the house with Mrs. Claus from Dec. 5th through 24th. As always, photos are available and professional photographers are on site.

This 15-foot tall snow tubing hill is sure to be a big hit. Who says you can only tube outdoors?

Wonder Whirl
Take a quick spin around this family-favorite.

Zero Gravity
This ride spins slowly at first, then increases speed until riders are held to the wall by centripetal force. At top speed, you’ll be lifted into the air!

Winter Wonderfest

Age Requirements

Attendees ages 18 and under must be accompanied to the festival by a parent or legal guardian in order to enter.


Free trolleys at Navy Pier for holiday events are available for use! To check out the route map and schedule, click here. If you’re driving, there are two on-site parking garages, West Garage and East Garage located at 600 East Grand Avenue. There is a flat rate parking fee seven days a week. Find more detailed information and current rates here.

Purchase Tickets

Tickets can be purchased online on Navy Pier’s website or at the box office on-site. Activity passes are $23 for adults and children 36″ and up and allow access to all attractions. $10 Mini passes allow access to select rides (Jingle Jym, Kringle Carousel, Arctic Express, and Winter Rules Mini Golf) and height restrictions may apply. An early-bird bundle of six tickets is currently on-sale for $80.

Hours and Dates

Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest takes place from December 2 to January 8 and is open at 10am daily with varying closing times and closed Christmas Day, December 25.

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