Where to watch Chicago’s July 4 Fireworks. The City of Chicago discontinued the July 3 lakefront fireworks in 2011 so Navy Pier took over with their display on July 4. At least a half million people used to come down to Monroe Harbor to see the City fireworks and now they all try to go to Navy Pier. If you’re willing to pay, your options for viewing the fireworks are vast from boat and dinner cruises to reserving a table at a Lakefront beach restaurant to renting a kayak.
If you want to go for free then you have to head over to the lake early and stake out a spot. Driving and parking will be difficult to impossible so take the CTA or bike around and possibly Divvy. How to Divvy.
Alternate dates for fireworks at Navy Pier (less crowds):
Other July 4 free events:
Fireworks: Navy Pier, July 4, 2017 9:30PM
Here’s where to watch:
- Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, You have to arrive early as the Pier will close their gates when it reaches capacity of 120,000 people. In 2016 the gates closed at 7PM. Parking garages were full at 2PM. There will be offsite parking with Trolley service. You can get updates here. There will be multiple bag checks by security. Coolers, bikes, skateboards, roller blades and skate shoes are not permitted. Cheap eats Navy Pier. For a limited time get access to the Navy Pier Roof for $19.50 plus fees.
Lakefront options north to south:
- Montrose Beach, 4400 N Lake Shore Dr, Montrose Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, (312) 742-5121. There’s the people beach, dog beach, park area, the pier and the harbor where you can camp out.
- Diversey Harbor, 2601 N. Cannon Dr., (312) 742-7762. Camp out in the grassy knolls along the Lakefront Trail.
- Theatre on the Lake and new park land at Fullerton, 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive at Fullerton, (312) 742-7994. Past the northern end of North Avenue Beach on the Lakefront Trail is the theater and it’s grounds.
- Ohio Street Beach, 600 N Lake Shore Dr, Ohio Street and Lake Shore Drive,(312) 742-5121. This tiny beach faces north but is parallel to Navy Pier.
- Oak Street Beach, 1000 N Lake Shore Dr, Oak Street and Lake Shore Drive,(312) 742-5121. This beach is much larger than Ohio Street you can also camp out in the grassy knolls along the Lakefront Trail north of the beach.
- DuSable Harbor, 111 N. Lake Shore Drive, 312-742-3577. Set up along the grassy area adjacent to the Lakefront Trail.
- Monroe Harbor, Monroe Street east of Lake Shore Drive, 312-742-7643. Set up along the grassy area adjacent to the Lakefront Trail.
- Buckingham Fountain, 301 S. Columbus Dr., (312) 742-7529. You’ll want to be on the Lake Shore Drive side of the fountain in the grass along the Lakefront Trail across LSD from the fountain. The “walk” signals across LSD will activate only when a pedestrian pushes the crossing button.
- Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S Lake Shore, 312-939-2438. You can sit on the grassy slopes of the north side of the Shedd.
- Adler Planetarium, 1300 S Lake Shore Dr., 312-922-7827. The official address is Lake Shore Drive but where you want to camp out is on the north side of Solidarity Drive which runs east into the Lake.
- Northerly Island, 1400 S. Linn White Dr., (312) 745-2910. You’re pretty far away but the upside is it won’t be that crowded.