The schedule is decided the morning of the show by the pilots. Performers are subject to change.
The 2016 Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the world’s best air shows and its FREE to attend.
When: Saturday and Sunday, August 20 – 21, 2016; 10am – 3pm both days. Practice starts at 12PM on Friday downtown.
Where: The Lakefront, Fullerton Beach to Oak Street Beach with North Avenue Beach as the focal point
This year’s headliners include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and new this year, the F-35 Heritage Flight.The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. The F-35 took its first flight on December 15, 2006. The F-35 variants are intended to provide the bulk of the manned tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and the Marine Corps over the coming decades.
Chicago on the Cheap tips:
- If you’re heading to the beach to watch the show get there early. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to North Avenue, Oak Street, Ohio Street, Fullerton Beaches etc. so it will be extremely crowded. Guide to Chicago Beaches Guide to Chicago’s Lakefront Trail North.
- If you’re just interested in the “Air” part of the show skip the crowds at the beach. Most of the planes flying in the show take off and land at the Gary International Airport in Gary, Indiana. This flight path requires them to fly in from the south. They won’t be performing their routines but they will be flying in formation as they pass over downtown, some will buzz buildings and fly low over the lake before they head north to North Avenue.
- Most the flight teams will practice their entire show on Friday, August 19 generally between 12PM-3:30PM. This is the best way to see the show without a million other people. We watched some of it sitting on the Lakefront Trail at Chicago Avenue one year or you can actually head up to North Avenue. Or grab some lunch and head over to Millennium Park or Grant Park or anywhere along the lake downtown. If your at Millennium Park the Grant Park Orchestra has an open rehearsal scheduled for Friday, August 20, 2016, 11:00am – 1:30pm.
- Find a friend who lives in a high rise along the lakefront or who has an office along the lakefront.
- Millennium Garages Parking Details: Park at Millennium Garages and avoid the hassle of finding parking near the beach. Garage locations are Millennium Park Garage and Millennium Lakeside Garage at 5 S. Columbus Drive, Grant Park North Garage at 25 N. Michigan Ave. and Grant Park South Garage at 325 S. Michigan Ave. Packages: $35 parking plus FREE shuttle service from Millennium Park Garage to North Avenue Beach. Purchase Options: pay at parking location; call 312.616.0600.
- Divvy will be offering its Valet Service at select stations below on Saturday and Sunday to guarantee you a spot to dock your Divvy bike.
- Theater on the Lake (10am-6pm)
- Clark & North (10am-6pm)
- Michigan & Oak (10am-6pm)
- Streeter & Illinois (12-6pm)
- Tune into WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9FM on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 3pm for a live broadcast of the show. WBBM Newsradio will also provide livestream video on their website.
- You can bring a blanket, chairs and a cooler to the beach.
- You cannot bring the following to the beach during the show:
- Alcoholic Beverages
- BBQ Grills (Open Flames)
- Fireworks or Explosives
- Illegal Substances & Weapons
- Pop-up Tents/Canopies
- Flag Poles
- All Pets (except Service Animals)