If you’re searching for the perfect place to celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago—stop! Our event guide details all of the best places honor America all while enjoying fireworks, concerts, festivals, and so much more. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, or a local looking for an incredible light show, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best things to do during a Chicago 4th of July.
All Chicago 4th of July events and firework shows are subject to change and/or cancellation.
The Main Events
Fireworks at Navy Pier
Location: Navy Pier
Time: 9:30 PM
For a truly classic Chicago 4th of July event, look no further than this Navy Pier spectacular featuring fireworks set to a patriotic music score. This lakefront show is one of the best in Chicago. As such, it attracts large crowds. Plan in advance to arrive early!
Best viewing locations:
- DuSable Harbor
- Oak Street Beach
- Maggie Daley Park
- Millennium Park
- The Signature Room
- Monroe Harbor
- Fullerton Beach
- Belmont Harbor
- Shedd Aquarium
- Adler Planetarium
Grant Park Music Festival: Independence Day Salute
Location: Millennium Park
Time: 6:30-8:00 PM
The Independence Day Salute is a Grant Park Music Festival tradition! Bring your family and friends to the lakefront for an evening of patriotic favorite including Stars and Stripes Forever and the 1812 Overture, along with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue featuring 16-year-old pianist, Emily Bear. Christopher Bell conducts.
Freedom Fest 2018
Location: Navy Pier Rooftop
Time: 6:30-9:30 PM
Celebrate in style at this rooftop event featuring amazing views of Chicago, Lake Michigan, and, of course, fireworks! This Independence day event will feature a delicious BBQ to satisfy your hunger, a full bar where you can indulge in your favorite drinks, and music by a live DJ to keep the atmosphere festive. All ages are welcome.
Chicago 4th of July Sightseeing Cruises
While Navy Pier hosts the premier firework display in Chicago, several area tour operators offer sightseeing cruises that let you see the show in style.
Odyssey Lake Michigan
Time: 7:30-10:30 PM
Enjoy the spectacular Navy Pier fireworks aboard the Odyssey. Your ticket includes dinner, platinum open bar, entertainment, and dancing. Boarding starts at 6:30 PM
Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises
Time: 8:00 PM
This 90-minute 4th of July Cruise combines the firework spectacular with an interesting architecture tour of Chicago. There are two departure locations: Michigan Avenue Bridge and Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier. Cash bar available.
Spirit of Chicago Cruises
Time: 7:30-10:30 PM
On this cruise, you’ll enjoy a front row seat to the dazzling Navy Pier fireworks all while feasting on a delicious buffet. In addition, there is a platinum open bar and DJ entertainment. Boarding starts at 7:00 PM.
For a family-friendly Chicago 4th of July fireworks cruise, choose Mercury Cruises. Each guest receives 3D glasses, making the firework display that much more amazing! A cash bar is also available. Boarding begins at 7:45 PM.
Wateriders Chicago Kayak Tours
For a truly memorable Chicago 4th of July, reserve a twilight kayak tour. Not only will you get a unique vantage point for the Navy Pier fireworks but you’ll also be able to see the twinkle of the Chicago city lights. Tours depart from the North Branch of the Chicago River (900 N. Kingsbury St.).
Another unique way to see the Navy Pier fireworks is via Seadog Cruises. Hop aboard their fast-moving boats for panoramic views of the Chicago skyline paired with the city’s world-class fireworks.
Celebrate a Chicago 4th of July
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to celebrate America’s Independence Day in Chicago. Attend any of these special events to enjoy a patriotic salute to the land of the free and the home of the brave!