The $115 million project is scheduled to start in the fall of 2013 and much of the work will transform the outdoor areas.
That includes more green space, new fountains and less clutter.
James Corner leads the design team for the project and he explained what makes the pier so unique.
"No other city really has that kind of city, lake interface to the scale, grandeur and majesty Chicago has," Corner said.
Plans call for doing the bulk of the work during the winter when there are fewer visitors.