Fourth of July is an iconic summer event. And no one celebrates like Chicago. Whether it’s a bustling neighborhood street festival, a scenic boat cruise, or a vibrant fireworks display, there’s plenty of ways to take your Fourth beyond the basic backyard cookout.

Here are some of the best things to do during Fourth of July weekend in Chicago.

Windy City Ribfest

Windy City Ribfest

July 4 to July 6, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily
4800 N. Broadway St.

The Windy City Ribfest is a Chicago mainstay. That’s because it brings together all the best parts of a holiday weekend: food, friends, and fun outdoors. Set in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, this is the 11th year for this street festival. Locals love it for the tasty slabs of ribs from top local pitmasters and the smokin' music lineup. The popular three-day fest also includes activities and crafts for the whole family.

Fourth of July Parade at Independence Park

July 4, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave.

Parades are the perfect way to celebrate this patriotic holiday. This parade in the Irving Park neighborhood steps off from, fittingly, Independence Park. Come watch the floats and flags, and take park in activities for kids of ll ages.

The 4th on 53rd Parade

July 4, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
5300 S. Lake Park Ave. W.

This old-fashioned parade is a Hyde Park tradition. Bike decorating begins at 10 a.m., and the official parade begins at 11 a.m. It ends at Nichols Park, where the family-friendly fun and picnic will continue into the afternoon.

Fireworks at Navy Pier

Navy Pier fireworks

July 4, 9:30 p.m., free
600 E. Grand Ave
.

Navy Pier is a Chicago landmark and a perfect place to celebrate the summer. In addition to its twice-weekly fireworks show on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Pier’s Fourth of July show is the ultimate display of pyrotechnic performance. Paired with patriotic music, this spectacular presentation is a wonderful family and community event. Get there early — Navy Pier will close its gates once it reaches capacity.

Fireworks Boat Cruises

Mercury Firework Cruise
Photo by Adam Alexander

Wednesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day
Prices and locations vary

Want something a little extra special this Fourth of July weekend? Consider a different perspective on Navy Pier’s eye-catching fireworks: from the water. Choose from a variety of cruise options on Chicago River or Lake Michigan, from classic tours to dinner cruises complete with a bar to live DJs.

White Sox game

Chicago Cubs versus Chicago White Sox
Adam Alexander

July 4 at 1:10 p.m.
Guaranteed Rate Field

Spend the day with Chicago's south side MLB team. The White Sox will play the Tigers on the Fourth of July. The first 10,000 fans will receive a free patriotic team t-shirt, and everyone will get to enjoy fireworks after every run. Bonus: On Saturday and Sunday, the Sox will face their local rivals the Chicago Cubs at home. 

Grant Park Music Festival

Grant Park Music Festival

July 4, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., free
Millennium Park: 201 E. Randolph St.

Summer in Chicago means being outside and enjoying music! In addition to its regular festival schedule, the Grant Park Music Festival is hosting a special performance for the Fourth of July, featuring patriotic tunes, anthems and marches such as Leopold Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, the Armed Forces Salute and more. Want to experience the concert like a local? Pack a picnic, grab a spot on the lawn with your friends and family, and kick back while the talented Grant Park Orchestra fills the night air with classical music.