Travel Magazine

The Ultimate Guide to 4th of July in Chicago

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

Show Some Love to Our Stars and Stripes the Chicago Way

When it comes to celebrating the 4th of July in Chicago, it’s always “go big or go home.” From fireworks to parades to good music and food, there are plenty of options for anyone across the Chicagoland area to make this Independence Day even better than the last.

Check out our guide for Chicago’s best 4th of July festivities. ‘Murica!


4th of July in Chicago

Navy Pier is hands-down the prime spot for watching a magnificent display of colorful fireworks synchronized to music, so head on down to get the best view in the city. The show begins at 9:30pm.

The city beaches are another option for catching the fireworks show while gathering with friends and family for a relaxing picnic. One of the most popular is Clark Street Beach in Evanston, with perfect lakeshore views at a vantage point across the city. Others like Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, and Montrose Beach are also sure to draw large crowds.

Everything is better on a boat. Odyssey, Spirit, and Mystic Blue Cruises are just a few that offer dinner, entertainment, and a spot on the water to watch fireworks bursting in the air above you.

For those that are feeling more indoorsy, skydecks like 360° Chicago are your best bet for an unparalleled view of the fireworks show against a beautiful backdrop of city lights.

Music, Food & Drinks

4th of July in Chicago
Photo Credit: Chicago Parent

Ravinia Festival is going all summer long, and the 4th of July is no exception. Relax on the pavilion and vibe to jazzy beats from Chick Corea Trio, starting at 5pm.

You can also enjoy the sounds of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and the National Youth Choir of Scotland for an Independence Day Salute at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, hosted by the Grant Park Music Festival. The show begins at 6:30pm.

Don’t feel like grilling this year? The Windy City Ribfest has it all ready for you. Go up north to Uptown for savory slabs and good tunes. The final day of the fest is Sunday, July 3, so it’s perfect for those who have commitments Monday evening, or those who just want to start the party early.

In the ‘Burbs

4th of July in Chicago
Photo Credit: Christy Nieh

For friends from outside city limits, the suburbs are just as much fun for the 4th of July weekend. Lisle Eyes to the Skies, Naperville Ribfest, Frontier Days at Arlington Heights, and Highland Park’s Fourth Fest are some that offer tons of activities like parades, carnival rides, face painting, live music, food and more. Other suburban towns like Oswego, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Glen Ellyn, and Gurnee will host firework shows as well.

What are your plans for the 4th? Tell us about it below!

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