Navy Pier unveiled a brand new attraction Monday, opening a pair of waterfront performance venues and kicking off a schedule of free events all summer long.
The Polk Bros Performance Lawns are part of the newly-completed Polk Bros Park, a 13-acre green space that serves as Navy Pier’s “front lawn.”
The Lawns are located at the south end of the park and feature two new stages – the City Stage and the Lake Stage – that will host a series of film screenings, musical performances, theatrical productions and more.
The City Stage features rows of steps facing west toward the skyline and can accommodate up to 700 people, while the Lake Stage is a sloping lawn that faces the opposite way, seating 1,700 people with a view of Lake Michigan.
Following Monday’s ribbon-cutting, the Lawns will immediately kick off a full programming schedule with an evening showing of the movie Sharknado.
The Lake Stage will continue to host a free film screening every Monday for the next eight weeks as part of its “Water Flicks” series in partnership with the Chicago International Film Festival.
In addition to Sharknado, the Pier will be showing Overboard, Moana, Splash, Pirate Radio, Beach Blanket Bingo, Finding Nemo and Jaws, with each film beginning at 7 p.m. and free popcorn available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Lawns will also feature musical performances throughout the summer, including the children’s music series Wiggleworms, presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music.
The Wiggleworms will perform on the City Stage every Wednesday and Friday at both 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. beginning July 12 and running through August 18.
The park will also host Navy Pier’s 101st birthday celebration on July 15, and the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival the following day.
Tap Fest, showcasing a range of percussive dance and multiple tap artists, will follow on July 19 at 7 p.m.
From July 27 through the 29, Chicago Shakespeare Theater will kick off its annual Shakespeare in the Parks series with performances of Romeo and Juliet each evening at 7:30 p.m.
The Chicago Jazz Institute is also teaming with Navy Pier to present a weekly jazz series called “Water Colors” on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. from Aug. 2 through Aug. 23.
The park will also continue to offer sunset yoga every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and guests can watch Navy Pier’s summer fireworks from the new Lawns every Wednesday and Saturday night beginning July 12.
All programming in the park is free and open to the public, and a full schedule of events can be found on Navy Pier’s website.
Polk Bros Park and Performance Lawns were built with a $20 million gift donated to Navy Pier by the Polk family in 2014.
Their construction is part of Navy Pier’s “Centennial Vision,” a major redevelopment plan in honor of the tourist destination’s 100th anniversary.