The nation celebrates Memorial Day on Monday, May 29 in 2017 — and in Chicago, the whole weekend is an occasion to mark the holiday. From the annual parade to the kick-off of the summer season (which means fireworks at Navy Pier and fun street festivals in the neighborhoods), here's how to spend your Memorial Day trip in Chicago.
Watch the Memorial Day Parade.
together with thousands of people to honor our veterans and active duty
military at the annual Memorial Day Parade, which will
begin at noon on Saturday, May 27 and run south on State Street from Lake
Street to Van Buren Street. Make sure to catch the Wreath Laying Ceremony,
which gives special recognition to America's fallen heroes and their survivors,
at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington
on Memorial Day (May 29), the Chicago Cultural Mile Association hosts the Annual Ceremony and Dedication of the General
John A. Logan Monument at 11 a.m. This Memorial Day wreath laying
and monument rededication commemorates those who died serving our country.
Experience the attractions at Navy Pier.
the family? There's no shortage of attractions for kids, especially when Navy Pier is on your list. Start at the Chicago Children's Museum, where
kids can enjoy interactive exhibits. If you're looking for free Chicago
attractions, you won't want to miss the summertime fireworks at Navy Pier,
which kicks off Memorial Day weekend and occurs twice weekly through Labor Day.
Navy Pier is also home to the new 20-story Centennial wheel, an IMAX theater
and the Chicago Shakespeare
Theater. While you're here, get a peek at the reimagined Pier with
new local restaurants and a communal dining area boasting unrestricted views of
the Lake Michigan waterfront.
Take a fireworks cruise.
the summertime Navy Pier fireworks shows with the best seats imaginable — on a
Lake Michigan cruise. Watch the fireworks on a cruise with Seadog or Wendella,
learn about Chicago's great buildings on an architecture and fireworks cruise
with Shoreline, indulge in an open bar
while watching the fireworks on a Chicago Line fireworks cruise, or
enjoy a leisurely fireworks dinner cruise aboard the Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago or Mystic Blue.
4. Take in the sights and sounds at a street fair.
weather means street fairs and festivals in Chicago. Over Memorial Day weekend,
take your pick. Kick off summer street fest season at Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
(May 27-28), where local tribute bands, indie vendors and local foods are the
draw. Shop one-of-a-kind artwork, swoon-worthy antiques, vintage clothing, home
furnishings and more at Randolph Street Market Festival
(May 27-28). Get a taste of authentic Mexican culture at Mole de Mayo (May 26-28),
featuring food vendors, live music, an open-air market and Lucha Libre
5. Marvel at nature.
the many gardens in Chicago, it's easy to enjoy some fresh air and natural
beauty during your visit. While you're here, catch the opening of the Butterflies & Blooms
exhibit (May 27 - Sept. 4) at Chicago Botanic Garden,
where visitors can enter a botanical habitat filled with nectar plants and
hundreds of live butterflies from around the world. Or, take advantage of the
seasonal tours of Lurie Garden, an urban oasis in
Millennium Park. In addition, cook up projects that will get kids and families
wondering about the plants and the natural world during Fiddleheads (Saturday & Sunday) at the Garfield Park Conservatory with
free admission (also free is the Lincoln
On Memorial Day weekend, visit the Pritzker Military Museum &
Library, where you
can explore the past, present and future of the military. Learn about the
United States' most esteemed award for valor in combat with the permanent
exhibit Medal of Honor.
One of the biggest blockbusters in cinema history is set to hit The Field Musuem in Chicago. Starting on Friday, May 26, you can walk through the world-famous Jurassic World gates at Jurassic World: The Exhibition to get up close to the towering dinosaurs, some more than 24 feet tall, and explore the Park through a specially guided tour. Visitors will experience the family-friendly Gentle Giants Petting Zoo; step behind the glass into The Hammond Creation Lab; get a special preview of Jurassic World's top-secret project, the Indominus rex; and go inside the Raptor Training Paddock.
Not only that, Navy Pier is home to the first ever major
Rolling Stones exhibition! Exhibitionism — The Rolling Stones, which opens April
15, will run a four-month engagement through July 30. Exhibitionism
is the largest touring experience of its kind ever to be staged, and the first
time in history the band has unlocked their vast private archive exploring the
very beginning of their history to The Stones' superstardom of today. Get a look back at the high points of the band's career through a new
film with a high-octane soundtrack.
Want to explore even more museums? With nearly 60 museums in Chicago, the options are seemingly endless when it comes
to viewing an exhibit to suit your interest. Experience more than a dozen giant
Lego constructions, including a 60-foot Golden Gate Bridge, at the Brick By Brick exhibit, see the only
German sub in the U.S. in U-505 Submarine, or explore how robots will change how we play, live and work together during Robot Revolution (opening May 11) at the Museum of Science and Industry.
7. Lounge on Chicago's Beaches
off in the blue freshwater and relax in the soft sand at Chicago
beaches that stretch 26 miles along Lake Michigan. Chicago has 26 free
beaches and an 18.5-mile long bike path along the waterfront. While most cities
build industrially all the way up to their respective lakefronts, Chicago's
remains an open playground to the public. Chicago beaches are free and open
daily to the public for the season beginning Memorial Day (May 29) through
Labor Day (September 4) so plan for a swim, build sand castles, join a game of
volleyball or just catch some rays.
8. Enjoy a pint of locally brewed craft beer.
the depth and breadth of Chicago's flourishing craft beer scene during Chicago Craft Beer Week
(May 18-25), when hundreds of venues throughout the city will be offering
special tastings of rare beers and limited time releases, as well as other
special events such as beer crawls, a beer cruise, concerts and more.
more ideas for experiencing the many breweries in Chicago.
9. Explore Chicago on a bike.
some exercise and some sightseeing by exploring the city on two wheels. Rent
one of the Divvy Bikes from the many
bike-sharing stations around the city, and get pedaling. Take the 18-mile Lakefront Trail to ride by boat
harbors, nature sanctuaries, boardwalks and Chicago's beaches, which open
Memorial Day weekend. Wish someone could show you around on a bike? Book a
guided bicycle tour with Bobby's Bike Hike, which offers
fun options like a lakefront neighborhoods tour, a night tour and a bites and
brews tour. Or, join 20,000 fellow cyclists during the annual MB Bike the Drive, on Sunday, May
28, when the waterfront Lake Shore Drive is closed to motorists and open to
10. Catch a live show.
is home to numerous theater and performing arts venues. See the classic,
musical love story Disney's Aladdin at the
Cadillac Palace Theatre (April 11-July 2); Objects
In The Mirror at the Goodman Theatre (May 26-28); Shakespeare
in Love at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (May 26-28) or, get your laugh
on at one of our numerous comedy theaters like ComedySportz
(improv), The Second City (sketch and
improv) and Zanies Comedy Club (stand-up).