15 ways to fix Navy Pier
A pie-in-sky makeover that locals and tourist will love.
6. Assemble a Columbian Exposition-themed amusement park.
The pier’s already got a Ferris wheel and even a seasonal hot-air balloon ride—modern versions of two of the 1893 fair’s top attractions. Why not go all out and build an entire exposition-inspired theme park? Start with a lagoon—complete with Venetian-style gondola rides—surrounding the Ferris wheel, and install a golden replica of the iconic statue of the republic to loom over it. Liven up the perimeter of the park with a modern version of the first fair’s Ice Railway, an all-season train mounted on a track of artificial ice and snow. Stalls along the east side of the park would hearken back to the “international village” displays of the fair’s Midway, serving up global snacks and gifts from exotic locales such as Java, Samoa, Turkey and Germany.—Martina Sheehan