Where to Celebrate Independence Day in Chicago

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Independence Day is just around the corner, and I'm looking forward to this year’s celebrations with friends and family. As usual, there are many amazing events planned for both kids and adults all around Chicago; to help you narrow down the choices, my team and I have rounded up a few of our favorites. Whether you’re barbequing at home or joining the festivities at Navy Pier, we wish you a very happy Fourth of July! 

Grant Park Music Festival: Independence Day Salute (Free)

Once again, classical-lovers unite at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for an evening of wonderful music. From 6:30pm to 8:45pm, Christopher Bell will conduct American classics like Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, with this year’s show featuring 16 year-old piano prodigy Emily Bear. Don’t forget your lawn chairs!

Tickets are available here, or free seating on the lawn is available on a first-come-first-served basis. 

Fireworks at Navy Pier (Free)

Nothing says Fourth of July like fireworks! This impressive pyrotechnics show is synched with a score of patriotic music and gets even more popular by the year. The display begins at 9:30pm on the lakefront, but we’d recommend arriving much earlier to find a comfortable place in the crowd. 

Chicago History Museum’s 59th Annual Fourth of July Celebration (Free)

This event is a beloved Lincoln Park tradition. From 10:00am to noon, bring the kids to the Chicago History Museum for festivities, musical performances, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and a children’s costume parade led by the World’s Tallest Uncle Sam! After the morning’s celebrations, the museum will be open until 4:30pm with free admission for all Illinois residents.  

Jazzin’ at the Shedd (Ticketed)

A perfect evening for the jazz lover. This coming Wednesday (and every Wednesday throughout the summer), the Shedd Aquarium hosts Chicago’s top jazz musicians at their incredible outdoor venue. From 5:00pm to 10:00pm enjoy a cocktail, great music, stunning views, and Shedd’s new special exhibit “Underwater Beauty.” 

Tickets available here

Fourth of July Lunch Cruise (Ticketed)

Guess what? Fourth of July cruises aren’t just for adults! This Independence Day, Spirit Cruises is offering families the chance to get out on beautiful Lake Michigan. This 2-hour ride features spectacular views, a three-course buffet style lunch, games, and even a DJ + dance floor. The boat will be dressed up for the occasion, and departs at noon from Navy Pier. 

Tickets for all of their cruises (including evening departures) available here.