Note: The traditional Chicago Air and Water Show won’t take place in 2021, but the city will be hosting a special event from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

The Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the city’s most beloved summer traditions. While there won’t be a full display this year, the city has planned a special flyover event by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels for 2021.

The event will take place from 12 to 1 p.m. on Aug. 21 and 22, 2021, with practice flyovers on Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Looking for a spot to catch the show? We’ve got you covered with waterfront viewing parties, the best beaches, and more. Check out the top places to catch this unique summer spectacle. 

Chicago beaches

Chicago’s gorgeous beaches are popular all summer long, but the Air and Water show always draws crowds to Lake Michigan’s sandy shores. The best spot to view the show will be on the lakefront between Oak Street and Fullerton Avenue, which includes North Avenue Beach and Oak Street Beach. Bring a lawn chair and find a spot on to watch the show!

Shore Club

©Shore Club

Located directly on North Avenue beach, Shore Club is the perfect option for those wanting to elevate their experience and be in the center of all the action. Their annual Air and Water Show watch party includes access to the Shore Club’s outdoor patio and shaded restaurant, a beachside brunch buffet, bloody Mary bar, frozen cocktails, and premium open bar. Get your tickets today.

Theater on the Lake

Theatre on the Lake Air & Water Show
Photo courtesy Theater on the Lake

Spread out across three acres of open green space along the lakefront while enjoying food, drinks, and music at Theater on the Lake’s annual viewing party. The all-inclusive experience, which includes lunch from Smoque BBQ, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 21 and 22, 2021. On Friday, there will be free general admission with a cash bar and food vendors.


Castaways Cabanas

You won’t get much closer to the action than at Castaways, the iconic blue and white boathouse on North Avenue beach. The upper deck offers lounge-style seating and laidback vibes, not to mention unobstructed view of the jets soaring through the air. This year’s viewing party on Aug. 20 – 22, 2021 includes an open bar, a lunch buffet, and live music

Navy Pier

miller lite beer garden at navy pier

Navy Pier offers unbeatable views of Lake Michigan and the Miller Lite Beer Garden is a great space to soak up all the excitement of the weekend. In addition to being an excellent spot to see the Blue Angles, the Miller Lite Beer Garden will also feature various live music throughout the weekend. You can also check out Offshore Chicago, the largest rooftop bar in the world, for more stellar drinks and views right on the Pier.

Lake Michigan cruises

Mystic Blue Cruises Chicago

One of Chicagoans favorite ways to enjoy the Air and Water Show is to watch the festivities from the bright blue waters of Lake Michigan. There are a variety of afternoon cruises that will give you a perfect vantage point of the Blue Angels flyover, including Odyssey, Spirit Cruises, and Mystic Blue. Check out more boat cruise options.

The Patio at Cafe Brauer

Cafe Brauer at Lincoln Park Zoo

Avoid the crowds and head further into Lincoln Park for one the most iconic al fresco options in the city. Situated inside Lincoln Park Zoo, The Patio at Cafe Brauer is a great option to soak up the city lakefront views and watch the activities from the sky.