The Complete Guide to 4th of July in Chicago

Where to watch the 4th of July fireworks in Chicago

Looking for what to do this 4th of July in Chicago? Searching out the perfect spot to see Independence Day fireworks in the Windy City? You’re in luck! With July 4th, 2022 falling on a Monday this year, Chicagoans and out-of-towners alike will enjoy a long weekend packed with plenty of ways to celebrate America’s Day of Independence.

For the celebration itself, there’s a whole range of activities to get you in the holiday spirit. From boat cruises on the water to tried-and-true parties at a number of the city’s incredible parks, the 4th of July Chicago spirit is going to be alive and well this year.  And of course, it wouldn’t be an Independence Day celebration on the shores of Lake Michigan without 4th of July Chicago fireworks. Below you’ll find a number of great ways to take in one of our country’s oldest celebrations.

By the way: If you’re still not sure about celebrating Independence Day in Chicago, check out my guide to the 4th of July in NYC or the 4th of July in Miami!

What to expect on 4th of July in Chicago

As Chicago locals will attest, the 4th of July in Chicago is one of the best times of the year to be in the Windy City. Instead of the chilly temperatures and infamous breezes of the winter, you’ll enjoy Chicago at its finest. 

With high temperatures in the low 80s and low temperatures in the low 60s, navigating the city is comfortable and easy. 

Plus, the parks are all open, and with an average of about 15 hours of daylight per day, you can count on the sun shining brightly throughout your trip. For international travelers interested in stopping by their first Chicago 4th of July, it’s worth noting that Independence Day in Chicago is a national federal holiday. This means that banks will be closed (though the ATMs will still function normally), as will post offices and other government buildings. Most other shops or restaurants will be open, often offering a summertime sale or discount. Given the celebratory nature of a Chicago 4th of July, you’ll want to double-check the hours of smaller shops and restaurants as they’ll likely give their employees an early out on Monday.

4 Ways To Watch 4th Of July Fireworks In Chicago

A 4th of July Chicago trip wouldn’t be complete without fireworks. After all, this very American tradition has been a part of the country’s history since the celebration of the first 4th of July anniversary in 1777. What’s more, “bombs bursting in air” is part of the country’s national anthem, so it’s only right to look for 4th of July Chicago fireworks celebrations.  What makes Chicago an incredible spot to view fireworks is how many different perspectives you can have. From outside on the shore with the locals and atop one of the city’s tallest buildings to a range of historical boat cruises, the Windy City is one of the most enjoyable places to celebrate Independence Day.

If you’re stopping by, we recommend the following four ways to check out 4th of July fireworks in Chicago:

Watch Fireworks Aboard Chicago’s Tall Ship Windy

Yo ho, yo ho, a fireworks show we’ll see! For one of the best vantage points in town, book your trip and take a cruise on Windy at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Instead of fighting the crowds, you’ll have a guaranteed seat and perfect vantage point of one of the most impressive fireworks displays in the city.

Check availability

Head Down To The Waterfront

One of the best ways to take in the 2022 Chicago fireworks is to head down to the lakefront. Ideally, you’ll find a spot between Grand Avenue and 55th Street to see the spectacular waterfront show. Traditionally, the Fourth of July fireworks show is held at Navy Pier each year.

See The Chicago 4th Of July Fireworks From 1,000 Feet In The Air

Whether you’re scoping out a good spot to see fireworks or just want to take in the iconic Chicago cityscape, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck may be one of the best 4th of July activities. Beyond just being a stunning view and a family-friendly opportunity for great photos, there’s also TILT, the highest thrill ride in Chicago and BAR 94 for a delicious cocktail afterwards.

See Fireworks While Supporting Veterans

If you’re looking for a unique way to see the Lake Michigan fireworks, take a ride in a piece of Chicago history with Fire Boat Tours. These tours –  which include river cruises, historical & architectural cruises, sunset cruises, and fireworks cruises – are run on the Fred A. Busse, an active Fireboat for the Chicago Fire Department from 1937 until 1981.

How to celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago

Summertime in Chicago is filled with amazing opportunities to explore the city, eat deep dish pizza, and enjoy the views of one of the Midwest’s best cities. Below are a few ways of getting the most out of your visit to Chicago for 4th of July 2022.

Cheer For The Cubs At Wrigley Field

For the full Independence Day Weekend Chicago experience, you’ve got to make it out to Wrigley Field. From the iconic red marquee that welcomes you in and the baseball fans unlike any other, this is America’s national pastime at its finest.

On Sunday, July 3rd at 1:20p local time, the Chicago Cubs will welcome in the Boston Red Sox. Tickets are available here for the Sunday matinee game, and they’d make a great family outing before finding your way to your dinner reservations later that evening.

Check Out Navy Pier

One can’t-miss attraction for anyone visiting Chicago this Independence Day weeked is the renowned Navy Pier.

From a waterfront beer garden and live music for adults to carnival for the kids, Navy Pier is going to be a lively spot for the whole family all weekend long. Plus, it’s also a great jumping-off point for lakefront cruises, bike tours, and more, so you’ll have plenty of excuses to enjoy the Pier.

Walk and Bike The Lakefront Trail

Not only a great way to get exercise and keep the kids moving, Chicago’s Lakefront Trail stretches nearly 20 miles along Lake Michigan for the best views of the city’s skyline. It’ll also connect you with a number of neighborhoods and sandy beaches, great for a little playtime and summer sun.

Stroll Down The Chicago Riverwalk

A great way to stay cool if the temperature’s get a little warmer, the Chicago Riverwalk is a breezy, beautiful spot to stop on your 4th of July Chicago visit.

From great food to a scenic stroll that features inspiring art throughout, it’s well worth the visit!

… Or Get Out On The Chicago River Itself!

An undeniably fun way to see the city is by kayak! Now you can do your own river tour, thanks to providers like Urban Kayaks. They offer a Historic Chicago Tour, a Sunset Tour, Intro to Paddle Boarding classes, and more. Plus, if you don’t get your fill just on the Chicago River, they’ve got you covered with Monroe Harbor LakeFront activities, too!

Stop By One Of Chicago’s Beautiful Parks

If you can choose just one, that is. From Millennium Park (named the top attraction in the mid-West) leading the way, Grant Park (where Obama celebrated his 2008 election), the 606, and Lincoln Park are all attractive options.

Listen To The Sounds Of Liberty At The Grant Park Music Festival

For families looking for a great outdoor activity, the Grant Park Music Festival is offering their Independence Day Salute on Saturday, July 2nd.

Featuring the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, this two-hour event features “a star-spangled concert of patriotic favorites, including the toe-tapping Armed Forces Salute, Irving Berlin’s swingin’ In the Mood and a fanfare by film legend John Williams.”

A 4th Of July Weekend Booze Cruise

If you want to have a lively celebration, take a ride on the Chicago Party Boat! These two-and-a-half hour adventures are an entertaining way to get a beautiful view of the city and let loose.

Featuring social media-worthy views of the Chicago skyline and landmarks, this boat cruise is an adults-only party with great DJs, fully stocked bars, and an energetic crowd.

On 4th of July weekend, tickets are available for the following cruises:

  • Friday, July 1st from 8:30 pm – 11 pm
  • Saturday, July 2nd from 1 pm – 3 pm
  • Saturday, July 2nd from 4:30 pm – 7 pm
  • Saturday, July 2nd from 8:30 pm – 11 pm
  • Sunday, July 3rd from 12:30 pm – 3 pm
  • Sunday, July 3rd from 4:30 pm – 7 pm
  • Monday, July 4th from 12:30 pm – 3 pm
  • Monday, July 4th from 4:30 pm – 7 pm

Other Amazing Things To do in Chicago

Planning A Trip To Chicago For 4th Of July Weekend

Spending 4th of July in Chicago is a recipe for an unforgettable weekend. From outdoor festivals celebrating some of America’s musical traditions to plenty of activities that will keep the family moving, this is bound to be one of your best trips yet. Of course, no 4th of July weekend in Chicago would be complete without fireworks. After you spend your first time on Lake Michigan watching the celebration, you’ll be tempted to come back again and again.

However you decide to spend your holiday weekend in Chicago, we wish you all the best!

About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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