Where to Watch July 4 Fireworks in Chicago


Ever since America first began commemorating the anniversary of its independence in 1777, fireworks have been a part of the celebration. And the country's appetite for pomp and pageantry has only grown since then. As we gear up for another Fourth of July, here are four of the best places around Chicago to take in some fireworks.

Navy Pier
The fireworks display at Navy Pier is Chicago's main event for the Fourth. The show is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. July 4, but there are plenty of festivities throughout the day to keep you busy. Brave the Navy Pier crowds if you dare to snag a prime viewing spot on the dock, or settle somewhere up or down the lakefront for a little more breathing room. Even better, make friends with someone who has a boat or rooftop deck for optimal viewing from the water or air. The event is free, and taking public transit is highly recommended.

Eyes to the Skies Festival
The Eyes to the Skies Festival at the Lisle Community Park will have you looking up all day and night. The event, which runs from June 29 to July 3, features hot air balloon launches throughout the days and fireworks at night. Tethered balloon rides are available for $20 per person. There also is a daily carnival, a craft fair, food, live music and the Lisle Independence Day Parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. July 4. Admission is $8, and parking is free.

Naperville RibFest
Nothing says America like barbecue and twangy music, and Naperville's RibFest has you covered on both counts. The event runs from July 1 to July 4 in Knoch Park and features performances from artists, such as Lee Brice and Sheryl Crow. On the food side, dozens of area vendors bring their cuisine with a focus on ribs, but there's fare to satisfy any taste. The festival culminates in a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. July 4. The event raises funds to fight child abuse and domestic violence. Find tickets at ribfest.net.

Pick a Suburb
Looking for a more peaceful setting to watch some booming fireworks? Skip the crowds, and head to one of the Chicago suburbs for a more quaint display. These events typically include music and food and are free to the public. They're also an ideal setting for families, as they're usually set in or near parks and without the chaos of one of the bigger events. Bring a picnic dinner to enjoy what's hopefully nice summer weather this Fourth of July. Find a suburban fireworks display near you here.

Mary Daly is a journalist from Chicago. She'll be at home covering her dogs' ears.