Celebrate Independence Day 2016 in Chicago with fireworks, special concerts, festivals & more!

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This Fourth of July, enjoy the summer’s biggest holiday in Chicago with festive events that salute the nation and honor its history. From spectacular fireworks at Navy Pier that light up the city’s lakefront to a concert of beloved classics in Millennium Park, from a baseball game to a bbq rib fest, there is no better place to celebrate the country’s independence than Chicago.



Grant Park Music Festival

Fireworks at Navy Pier
FREE · 600 E. Grand Ave.

Enjoy a spectacular show of pyrotechnics with a special holiday fireworks display along the downtown lakefront. At Navy Pier beginning at 9:30 pm on Monday, July 4, colorful fireworks will light up the sky with a mix of patriotic music in the background. Don't forget, also at Navy Pier all summer long, catch the free fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

PLEASE NOTE: Navy Pier expects to see some of its biggest crowds and at certain points, may reach capacity and close its gates to ensure the safety and comfort of all guests. Plan your visit accordingly and arrive early if you have advance tickets/reservations for performances, dinner or cruises.


Grant Park Music Festival: Independence Day Salute 
FREE · Millennium Park · 201 E. Randolph St.

On Monday, July 4 from 6:30-9:00 pm, the Grant Park Music Festival presents its annual holiday concert. The 110-voice National Youth Choir of Scotland joins the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras for an evening of patriotic favorites. Enjoy an evening filled with American spirit and pride at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with an outdoor picnic on the Great Lawn (free) or reserve seats right in front of the stage with a Single Night Pass (starting at $25).


Chicago History Museum: Fourth of July Celebration
FREE · 1601 N. Clark St.

Commemorate the nation’s independence with time-honored traditions and festivities for the entire family! From 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on Monday, July 4, join the fun as the Chicago History Museum presents it's 57th Annual Fourth of July Celebration with patriotic musical performances, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and a children’s costume parade led by the World’s Tallest Uncle Sam. Held outdoors on museum grounds throughout Uihlein Plaza.


Freedom Fest 2016 at Navy Pier
Tickets from $39 · 600 E. Grand Ave.

JulyFourth.com is putting out all the stops for the 3rd annual Freedom Fest, a massive celebration at the quintessential event space in Chicago - the Navy Pier RoofTop. This Independence Day event will feature a delicious BBQ to satisfy your hunger, a full bar where you can indulge in your favorite drinks, and music by a live DJ to keep the atmosphere festive. Plus, it's the absolute best place to watch the firework spectacular once the sun begins to set on the bright lights of Chicago. This is an all-ages event, so bring the entire family along for the experience.



Mercury Cruises Chicago

ODYSSEY CRUISES: Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Monday, July 4 (Board 6:30 pm, Cruise 7:30-10:30 pm)
Tickets from $169.90
866-305-2469 | www.odyssey.com 

Witness the spectacular Navy Pier fireworks display aboard Chicago's Odyssey for an upscale dinner cruise complete with dinner, platinum open bar, DJ entertainment and dancing. For a daytime option, there is also an Independence Day Skyline Lunch Cruise, in addition to Champagne Brunch or Dinner Cruises throughout the weekend.


SEADOG CRUISES: Independence Day Fireworks Speedboat Cruise

Monday, July 4 (Board 8:45 pm, Cruise 9:00-10:00 pm)
Tickets from $79.95 
888-636-7737 | www.seadogcruises.com

Every seat on Chicago's most exciting excursion vessel has spectacular open panoramic views of the world famous Chicago skyline, which are paired with the city’s world class fireworks display. You can also take a spin on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River during the July 4th holiday weekend.


SPIRIT OF CHICAGO CRUISES: Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Monday, July 4 (Board 7:00 pm, Cruise 7:30-10:30 pm)
Tickets from $159.90
866-273-2469 | www.spiritofchicago.com 

Treat yourself to a front-row seat to one of the best fireworks displays in town! Step aboard the Spirit of Chicago for a festive buffet, a platinum open bar and DJ entertainment while you take in the spectacular city skyline and a top-notch pyrotechnics display provided by Chicago's Navy Pier.


WENDELLA BOATS: 4th of July Fireworks Cruises

Monday, July 4 (Depart at 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:15 pm)
Tickets from $34-$45
312-337-1446 | www.wendellaboats.com

With two docks right on The Magnificent Mile, cruise out to Lake Michigan with Wendella for the festivities. Take in the sights both north and south along the city’s spectacular lit up skyline. A briefly narrated tour is part of the ride, and your ship is stocked with a full-service bar and snacks like chips and candy. This is a unique Chicago experience for a date night, a fun outing with friends, or an exciting night with the family.



Monday, July 4 (Schedule TBD)
Tickets from $20-$42
312-527-1977 | www.chicagoline.com

In centuries past, English kings and invited nobles beheld spectacular displays of fireworks from royal barges. Now you can, too! Fireworks cruises sail on both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, but please note that unlike the Architectural and Historical cruises, there is no narration. Complimentary Starbucks Coffee, Coca-Cola soft drinks, lemonade, and muffins or cookies are included.


MERCURY CRUISES: 4th of July 3D Fireworks Extravaganza

Monday, July 4 (Schedule TBD)
Tickets: TBD
312-332-1353 | www.mercurycruises.com

Celebrate America with your family, friends or that special someone aboard Mercury Cruises' annual July 4th Lakefront Cruise featuring a traditional Chicago-style fireworks display - with a twist! Each guest will receive complimentary 3D glasses and a delicious treat box from Corner Bakery to enjoy the fireworks show. Millions of lights along the skyline will twinkle as you cruise along the downtown lakefront. The highlight of this great fun-for-all-ages cruise is the thrilling 9:30 pm fireworks show. A cash bar is available onboard, featuring soft drinks, cocktails, wines and beers.



Monday, July 4 (Departs at 7:15 pm)
Tickets from $45-$65
312-953-9287 | www.wateriders.com

One-of-a-kind views will surround you as you kayak through the city on guided twilight tours. See the brilliant colors of the fireworks display as they shimmer off the water’s reflection. Your vessel? Either a single or double kayak, which is kid-friendly as they can take the bow (front seat) with an adult. And the departure point? The Wateriders Riverwalk along the North Branch of the Chicago River (900 N. Kingsbury St.).



Chicago SummerDance

Windy City RibFest in Uptown: July 1-3
The best local and national ribbers mix it up with three days of bbq and music (local and national rock/pop and classic indie acts as well as local tribute bands) at this 8th annual summer event in the Uptown neighborhood. 

African/Caribbean International Festival of Life: July 1-4
Enjoy spectacular food; fashion, arts and crafts from exhibitors; and dancing and live music — multiple stages feature Reggae, R&B, Gospel, African, Jazz, World Beat, Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and other Caribbean/Latin Music — at this family-friendly event in Union Park, now in its 24th year. A special Earth, Wind and Fire tribute in memory of R & B legend Maurice White will be performed.

Def Leppard: July 2
See Def Leppard live with special guests REO Speedwagon and Tesla July 2 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. Lawn and reserved seats available!

Modest Mouse and Brand New: July 2
Enjoy a live concert outdoors at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island on July 2. Featuring Modest Mouse and Brand New, this concert experience may also include a view of Navy Pier's 10:15 pm Saturday fireworks display! 

Chosen Music Festival: July 2-3
The world's oldest and largest dance music party is expanding, from the one-day Chosen Few Picnic to the two-day Chosen Few Music Festival. It features non-stop DJ performances and special musical guests in Jackson Park, not to mention over 40,000 dance music fans! 

Mamby On The Beach: July 2-3
Chicago's premiere lakefront music festival returns to Oakwood Beach over the 4th of July holiday weekend! From dancing with the sand beneath your feet to cooling off with a refreshing dip in the lake, Mamby On The Beach offers an unmatched setting in Chicago that gives attendees a chance to get away from the city without ever having to leave. This year's headliners include Chet Faker, Milky Chance, Atmosphere, Chromeo and more.

Chicago Cubs, Chicago Fire, Chicago Sky & Chicago White Sox
Cheer on a professional Chicago sports team over the holiday weekend! On July 1, the Chicago Fire take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Park in a MLS match. Also on July 1, catch our WNBA team Chicago Sky play the Washington Mystics at Allstate Arena. Baseball fans can also get a taste of America's favorite pasttime on July 4. The Chicago Cubs kick off their homestand against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field, and the Chicago White Sox take on the New York Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field. 

Ravinia Concerts
See a concert at Ravinia, North America's oldest and most diverse music festival presenting over 140 different concerts every summer. Purchase a reserved seat in the Pavilion or enjoy the sounds from the lawn. The weekend lineup features the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter on July 1, Steve Miller Band on July 2, Chris Cornell on July 3, and Chick Corea Trio, Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton on July 4.  

Millennium Park Summer Workouts
Start your weekend with an outdoor workout on the park's Great Lawn and choose between classes in Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba®. These Saturday morning fitness sessions are free and open to people with all levels of experience.

Chicago SummerDance
Groove to the tunes and dance the night away at the largest annual outdoor dancing series in the United States. This spirited event brings people of all ages and skill levels onto the outdoor dance floor in Grant Park, with free, introductory 1-hour dance lessons led by professional instructors followed by 2-hour live music dancing sessions. Dance lessons and music performances take place on Friday and Saturday at 6:00 pm and Sunday at 4:00 pm.

Chicago InstaGreeter Tours
Take a fun — and free! — guided walk of Chicago with insiders leading the way. These informative excursions offer one hour tours of The Loop and Millennium Park over the holiday weekend.

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