Most of the better food options at Navy Pier are pricey so you need to order selectively. If you’re on a budget bring your own food and beverages in. You can still eat in the food court, the large communal seating areas past the food court, outside along the pier (weather permitting) or in the Crystal Garden. The food police won’t drag you away.
If you’re walking to the Pier from Michigan Avenue there’s a Whole Foods at 255 E Grand Ave (at Fairbanks), (312) 379-7900.
Navy Pier Booze Rules
People who purchase an alcoholic beverage from a licensed vendor at Navy Pier are allowed to carry that drink throughout the Pier’s indoor and outdoor areas in specially marked, disposable cups provided by the vendor. No BYOB allowed anywhere on the Pier.
America’s Dog & Burger Hot dogs and hamburgers. Join Spring Rewards and you may get an offer for $3 off $8 or more purchase.
Big City Chicken Excellent fried chicken by the piece ($6-$23, 2-8 pieces) or sandwiches $6.
Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice, (312) 546-7440. Decent slices around $4-$5 and sandwiches under $10.
Freshii offers healthy food and smoothies. Freshii is part of Ritual. Join and get $10 free.
Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville, 312-496-3840. It’s better than you would expect it to be. In winter there’s happy hour M-F 3PM-6PM $3 beer and $5 Margaritas. Get a $5 off $25 food purchase coupon from the Guest Services desk at the entrance to Navy Pier. They have nice outdoor seating also.
Potbelly. There is a location at the Pier with prices are higher than other locations. There’s also a Starbucks but you cannot use your Star points there. Personally I would skip a meal and go to The Original Rainbow Cone a kiosk on the south dock (summer only) across from Riva.
Snow Dragon Shavery: Flavored shaved snow topped with fruit, jellies, candy and other toppings $6.49. Also macaroons, macaroon ice cream sandwiches, bubble teas $3.99-4.49 and coconut water $3.99 in faux shell.
Tiny Tavern: Excellent craft cocktails.
When the weather is nice grab food from any of the locations mentioned above and head east on the pier. Walk up the stairs beneath the ferris wheel and dine al fresco with great city and lake views. Or you can get up there from the elevator located just past Benn and Jerry’s.
Other options (not cheap)
Other possibly helpful info: Harry Caray Tavern has a kid’s menu but it’s not posted online. Note that Riva Café, while less formal and with a slightly different menu than Riva Crabhouse upstairs, has the same prices. They have a kid’s menu $7. If you want to eat at Riva’s you may want to try going to Costco and buying discount gift cards for Phil Stefani Restaurants. Riva is part of that restaurant group and Costco sometimes sells $100 gift cards for $74.99.