Visitors bid farewell to Navy Pier before it closes after Labor Day weekend

The popular tourist destination will close until spring 2021 due to low attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic

John Garcia Image
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Visitors bid farewell to Navy Pier before it closes after Labor Day weekend
Labor Day weekend is the last chance to visit Navy Pier before its temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Historic Navy Pier is traditionally one of the top tourist destinations in the state. And for the traditional last hurrah of summer, Labor Day weekend, they would normally expect big crowds.

But, of course, nothing is normal about the year 2020 so far.

Jeffrey Le and Natalia Mak attempted a normal tourist visit for the long weekend from Los Angeles, California. They made it to Navy Pier just one day before it shuts down for the rest of the year.

"It's different, it's weird," Mak said. "Glad things are starting to open up."

A behind-the-scenes look at the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

We're taking you on another kind of special tour: a behind-the-scenes look at what keeps this iconic ride spinning.

There are of course, few traditional activities available this Labor Day weekend.

The lakefront is nearly empty with none of the barbecues that often attract large groups.

There was little foot or wheel traffic on the lakefront path Sunday.

Even the lake is relatively empty, with just a few boats out.

All the more reason some tourists are checking out the Pier before it closes Tuesday.

The outdoor activities are in line with what health experts are hoping for this weekend.

Dr. Deborah Birx asked people to wear masks and avoid large groups, and to keep their distance during her visit to Chicago head of the holiday weekend.

"The social distancing piece can't just be around people we don't know," she said.