Fireworks. Chicago. July 4. Some things just go together, like America and apple pie. If you plan on celebrating Independence Day in the Windy City, you’re in for a real treat—the annual Navy Pier fireworks show is free fun for the whole family.

You’ll likely spy fireworks if you’re out and about after nightfall on the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Chicago, but if you want to make sure to catch the full spectacle at Navy Pier, you’re going to want to pick your viewing spot carefully.

For a pitch-perfect, star-spangled Independence Day celebration, we’ve got the lowdown on the best spots to take in the Fourth of July fireworks in Chicago.

Where is the July 4th fireworks show in Chicago?

The main Fourth of July fireworks display in Chicago takes place over Lake Michigan at Navy Pier.

Plenty of people brave the crowds each year to take in the dazzling show, and you can’t blame them. It’s a perfect spot to view the spectacle and enjoy live music and outdoor dining as you celebrate Independence Day with family and friends.

 

fireworks over the chicago skyline

What are the best rooftop bars to view Fourth of July fireworks displays in Chicago?

Located at the east end of Navy Pier, on the third floor of Festival Hall, Offshore Rooftop has an excellent patio where you can get a fantastic view of the fireworks show while enjoying some music and cocktails.

Coming in at a close second is the Robey hotel’s sixth-floor Cabana Club, a laid-back, hip rooftop spot perched atop a well-preserved 1920s art deco building, where you can take in the fireworks display while enjoying fantastic views of Chicago’s 1,127-foot-high John Hancock building.

fireworks in chicagoWhat are the best outdoor spots to see Independence Day fireworks in Chicago?

Just shy of Navy Pier is Polk Bros Park, an excellent outdoor space for taking in the Fourth of July festivities. Another safe bet is to head over to one of the downtown beaches such as Oak Street, North Avenue, and Ohio Street.

Over at North Avenue beach, you’ll find the summertime-only Shore Club Chicago, which also has great outdoor spaces—complete with bookable beach cabanas and daybeds—that are sure to give you a terrific view of the Navy Pier spectacle.

You’re likely to bypass the crowds entirely if you head over to the southeastern side of Grant Park, from which point you can take in the fireworks from a picnic blanket or lawn chair.

What’s the best way to see fireworks in Chicago from the water?

For a truly memorable Fourth of July weekend, get out on the water! What better way to take in the fireworks show than by hopping on our Fireworks Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan?  You’ll have the chance to take in the Chicago skyline after nightfall and enjoy a delicious chef-prepared dinner, complete with craft cocktails and a spectacular fireworks show ignited from Navy Pier.

fireworks premier dinner on lake michigan

ferris wheel at navy pier chicagoWhat’s the best spot in the suburbs for a stellar Fourth of July fireworks display without the crowds?

Nothing really beats the Navy Pier’s fireworks, but you’ll also find some terrific options for Fourth of July events just outside of Chicago proper.

Aurora’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display is one of the most popular shows in the Chicago area, and you can take it in either from McCullough Park or RiverEdge Park. Bring a picnic blanket or a lawn chair and get there well in advance of the show to secure your spot.

Barrington is also a popular Fourth of July weekend destination for its charming festivities, including a parade, holiday-themed concerts, and, of course, dazzling fireworks.

Oswego’s Prairie Point Park packs a punch with its annual fireworks display, and over in Oak Park, you’ll find a full-day of festivities, complete with music and a Fourth of July parade.

What time do the July 4th fireworks start in Chicago?

If history is any indication, the grand fireworks show at Navy Pier will start at 9:30pm on Monday, July 4, in Chicago. Be sure to get to your viewing point well in advance, particularly if you’re hoping to snag a spot at one of the more popular places to take in the show.