How to Find Cheap and Free Parking Near Navy Pier in Chicago

There are a lot of great free events and free activities at Navy Pier in Chicago, like the free exhibition of Nikola Tesla (with a awesome Tesla car right in front!).  They also offer a FREE VIP card.  Just print and present this card at the Navy Pier Guest Services Desk to receive a coupon book featuring discounts to Navy Pier attractions, restaurants and shops. One card per person. One book per person. But for parking, we get tons of comments from people who detest the $20 to $24 flat rate parking on Navy Pier (Mayor Emanuel, are you listening – don’t kill the golden goose).  Here is Navy Pier’s parking info (ouch!)

Standard Parking operates on-site parking garages accommodating 1,600 cars at Navy Pier. Current rates:

Monday through Thursday – a flat rate of $20.00 per day*
Friday through Sunday – a flat rate of $24.00 per day*
Holidays – a flat $24 fee per day*

For more information, contact Standard Parking directly at 312-595-5072.

Motorcycle Parking – a flat rate of $14.00 per day. Do not enter the parking garages, proceed to our dedicated motorcycle parking area by the Riva Valet in Entrance 1.

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So what are the best strategies to find free parking or cheap parking for a great day at Navy Pier? (Tell us your best ideas for the whole community by leaving a comment below)

parking options near navy pier 1. Do not drive —  If you’re planning to visit Navy Pier, the best option is not to drive because parking ridiculously high and they charge one flat rate above. If at all possible either walk, get the bus, trolley, water taxi or catch a cab from your hotel.

2.  Park somewhere else and take the free Navy Pier trolley.  There’s a free Navy Pier trolley that has many pick-up points in the Loop. If you are going for only a while, you can try for a meter downtown or near at least you can get a self-park place for a reasonable cost in the Loop.

3,  Take a Water Taxi from Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) near Metra Trains – Take a convenient Shoreline Water Taxi to see some of Chicago’s top attractions in a whole new way! Their docks are convenient to major sites as well as Union Station. At the other end, board the River Water Taxis at their Navy Pier-Ogden Slip dock at the southwest corner of Gateway Park where Illinois St. turns into Streeter Dr. just southwest of Navy Pier (200 yards from entrance). These taxis offer direct service to Michigan Avenue and Willis (Sears) Tower/Union Station and back. They also offer shuttle service to Wells & Wacker opposite the Merchandise Mart.

Schedule and Prices: Prices : $7 adults $4 children

River Taxi schedule from Navy Pier-Ogden Slip to Michigan Ave and Willis (Sears) Tower:
Shoulder Seasons: May 28-June 17 plus August 23 – Sept. 6
(After Sept. 6, Water Taxis run on a reduced schedule through the fall, weather permitting. Click here to see today’s schedule).
Daily: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Main Season: June 18-Aug. 22:.
Sun.–Thurs. 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
(Last departure to leave 10 minutes after Saturday Navy Pier Fireworks.)

 

4.  Take METRA + Bus — On METRA – Metra commuter rail is a convenient travel alternative. On weekends and select holidays, up to 3 children under 12 travel free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. The CTA’s #124 bus provides convenient and direct service from Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station to Navy Pier. For Metra fare and schedule information visit www.metrarail.com, or call 312.836.7000.

5.  LOCAL PARKING LOTS –   At 441 E. Erie Chicago, IL we hear there is a parking lot operated by LAZ which allows you to park for any 12 hour period for just $12. However, if you park one minute past 12 hours the rate jumps to $34. So be aware of time. This parking garage is open 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. You can verify the rates ahead of time by calling 312-944-0517.

navy pier parking options
Click to Enlarge

For other parking near Navy Pier, there are nearby parking garages including:

  • River East Arts Center Underground Parking, 435 E. Illinois St. Chicago. ($36 per day)
  • System Parking, 511 E Grand Ave. Chicago ($25 for 4 hours)
  • Standard Parking, 505 E. Illinois St., Chicago. ($24 for 10 hours)
  • Lake Point Tower, 505 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago ($38 per day)
  • Standard Parking, 644 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago ($19 for 2 hours)
  • Cityfront Place, 400 N. McClurg Ct., Chicago ($15 for 3 hours)
  • Standard Parking, 337 E. Illinois St., Chicago ($17 for 2 hours)

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