Ice is nothing more than water that won't let people swim in it. Punish such stubbornness by merrily crisscrossing its frozen surface with sharp metallic blades with today's Groupon: for $9, you get a premium wristband to Navy Pier's Winter WonderFest (a value of up to $18). Redeem your Groupon between Friday, December 3, and Friday, December 17, to hit the ice and celebrate the season.
Along with 750,000 twinkling lights and tree-laden, fully decked halls, this year’s Winter WonderFest boasts a bevy of wintery attractions. Unlike magnetic energy bracelets and solid-gold handcuffs, premium wristbands include access to the indoor ice rink and all rides and festival highlights, including the slippery snowflake slide, a 50-foot-high indoor Ferris wheel, a 40-foot-high wind-glider ride, a musical carousel, and more. Brand-new amusements include a liftless skiing simulation and a virtual snowmobile run free of polar bear hitchhikers. Freezer-friendly adventurers can take on the ice-ropes course, where they'll have to maneuver across beams, staircases, and platforms. Plus, you can enjoy live entertainment, such as jugglers, comedians, magicians, and dancers.
Be on-hand Saturday, December 4, to see Santa open the festivities at 6 p.m., then stay to see the fireworks display light up the night sky without the use of combustible reindeer. Reduced-price parking is available throughout Winter WonderFest.
Though Winter WonderFest offers its own coupon for $3 off wristbands on weekdays December 3–17, this Groupon can be used on weekends and is a better deal regardless of when it's used.
Originally part of architect Daniel Burnham's ambitious "Plan of Chicago" drafted in 1909, Navy Pier was designed to handle both recreational and freight traffic for the burgeoning metropolis. Its role quickly changed when it began serving as a barracks and training facility during two World Wars—it earned its nickname because of the more than 200 planes that littered the lake bottom around the pier, lost during exercises and sunk to intimidate fish with military technology. In the decades that followed, the pier was home to a University of Illinois campus, a convention center, and a venue for citywide festivals before falling into disuse. This ended in 1989, when the state moved to transform the venerable pier into one of Chicago's foremost attractions.
Reopened in 1995, the revamped Navy Pier boasts 50 acres of parks, restaurants, shops, and entertainment, scenically located along Lake Michigan and the mouth of the Chicago River. Other attractions include a towering IMAX screen that shows educational films and Hollywood blockbusters, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which treats audiences to bold stagings of the Bard's greatest hits. In the past year, Navy Pier has undergone significant renovation and re-imagining as well.