There will be plenty of fireworks at Navy Pier’s bi-weekly fireworks presentations this summer in Chicago, which means that we can finally enjoy a season of festivals and outdoor dining. Saturday, July 2 will be a night to remember, as the sky will be illuminated with beautiful hues. Early arrival is recommended if you wish to join the masses on Chicago’s huge lakefront for the event. As an alternative, check out these other wonderful spots to watch Chicago’s Fourth of July fireworks.
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New York City’s famous Navy Pier
Every Wednesday and Saturday during the summer, Navy Pier hosts a fireworks display that is sure to please the crowds on July 2, complemented with patriotic tunes. The six-block-long pier juts into Lake Michigan, providing spectacular views of the water, but the neighboring lakefront also makes a great spot to take in the show. For an extra special evening, try to arrange your trip on the pier’s 200-foot Centennial Ferris Wheel to coincide with the start of the fireworks display.
Arrive early to see the musical acts happening from 2 pm to 11 pm at the Navy Pier Beer Garden. To go along with your fireworks display, the newly opened 52,000-square-foot Offshore Rooftop is an excellent option (the bar is even offering special reservations this year for the best seats in the house). The Sable at Navy Pier offers a Saturday fireworks package, which includes Champagne and chocolate upon arrival, late checkout, and the opportunity to move to a higher level, subject to availability.
The Shore Club is the name of the establishment
If you’re looking for a less congested place to watch the fireworks, head north or south of Navy Pier along the lakeside. The red-white-and-blue frozen cocktail at Shore Club on North Avenue Beach, a summer-only destination, is a must-order this Fourth of July. If you’re looking for a place to relax on the beach this Fourth of July weekend, The Oasis at Shore Club is the place to go.
Choose the family-friendly Museum Campus near Grant Park’s southeast edge, between the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium, to avoid the crowds. It doesn’t get any better than Promontory Point, which is located even further south.
Cruise down the river
From the river, Chicago is stunning, but it’s much more stunning when illuminated by a spectacular fireworks display. Book a river trip if you don’t have access to a friend’s boat: July 2 With 3D goggles and a soundtrack, Mercury offers a 3D Fireworks Cruise; City Experience offers evening cruises with chef-prepared menus; Chicago Electric Boat Company rents out Duffy, retro, donut, and pontoon boats; and Chicago Electric Boat Company offers self-guided tours on Duffy and retro boats; (with the option to add a captain for an additional cost).
A skilled skipper and additional deckhand are included in the price of renting one of their barges or cycle boats. The newly remodeled Four Seasons is a great option for a memorable staycation, as guests may take a guided tour of the hotel’s 56-foot boat just in time for the fireworks.
Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the Chicago Athletic Association
For Grant Park Music Festival’s Independence Day Salute on July 2, reserve a spot in the back of the lawn near the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. An orchestra from Grant Park will perform patriotic music from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. that includes words like “Liberty Fanfare,” “I Hear America Singing,” and “America the Beautiful.”
There are a variety of hotels with balconies, rooftops, or views of the lake where you and your friends can assemble to watch the show. Only the front door to Millennium Park and Cindy’s rooftop terrace bar, where hotel guests may use their keycard to skip the line, make the Chicago Athletic Association our favorite.
Get advance tickets to the 360 Chicago observation deck at the former John Hancock Center for some of the city’s best fireworks views. On July 2, 3, and 4, the basic entry ticket gives you access from 4 to 11 p.m., but if you want to ride Chicago’s biggest thrill ride, TILT, you’ll have to buy the all-access ticket. At the Signature Room on the second level, you may enjoy the show while sipping on a chilled bottle of Champagne.
You can stay at The Robey hotel in Bucktown if you’re not a fan of crowds and prefer to see local fireworks. Even though you’ll be far from the lake, the hotel’s 13th-floor Up Room lounge offers spectacular views of the fireworks display. Head to the Cabana Club located on the sixth level to enjoy a selection of cold cocktails and bar snacks (and dip your toes in the outdoor pool).