It's 4th of July weekend, Chicago! America's birthday is the perfect time to visit Chicago, and we've got the best combination of events below, plus this handy Independence Day weekend guide. Are you ready to watch the spectacular fireworks show up close? Well, Navy Pier is the place to be. Or are you ready to celebrate Chicago's house music heritage? Jackson Park is hosting one of the largest dance festivals of the year. It's time to make weekend plans.
Ribs On The River Cruises
July 1 // $49
Shoreline Sightseeing partners with Chicago's own Butch McGuire's for two Ribs on the River Cruises this summer. The 90-minute cruises will feature small-plate samplings of Butch's succulent BBQ ribs with assorted trimmings, live music and a cash bar. Departure will be from Shoreline's dock at Polk Bros Park at the southwest corner of Navy Pier at 8:00 pm, returning at 9:30 pm. Boarding begins 15 minutes prior.
Windy City RibFest
July 1-3 // FREE (recommended $5 donation)
Uptown is hosting the 8th annual food gathering over Fourth of July weekend featuring plenty of music, a daytime kids' activity area and, of course, lots of tasty slabs from both local and national ribbers. Rib Vendors include Aussom Aussie Australian BBQ, BBQ King Smokehouse, Chicago BBQ Company, Rancho Mateo, Texas Lightning BBQ. Main stage entertainment from headliners Too White Crew, Think Floyd, Trippin Billies, and many more performers.
African/Caribbean International Festival of Life
July 1-4 // Tickets start at $15
Head to Union Park in the West Loop for spectacular music, food, arts, crafts, and more at this family-friendly event. The festival will have 70 acts, featuring the best of Reggae, Caribbean, Latin, African, Rock, Pop, R&B, Gospel and other world music entertainers!
Chosen Few DJs Music Festival
July 2-3 // Tickets start at $25
Get ready to dance with thousands of fans from around the world to celebrate Chicago's house music heritage on our city's lakefront at The Chosen Few DJs Music Festival in Jackson Park. Guests can bring their own tents, grills and other picnic fare to the festival with its family reunion atmosphere. If you love house music and a great time, this is a must-do experience!
Mamby On The Beach
July 2-3 // Tickets start at $65
Join tens of thousands of fans at Chicago's premiere lakefront music festival at Oakwood Beach. Mamby is where indie and electronic meet for all to dance with the sand beneath your feet or cool off with a refreshing dip in the lake. Featuring an all-inclusive and diverse musical experience from headliners Chet Faker, Milky Chance, Atmosphere, Chromeo, Animal Collective and Santigold.
Spend your Fourth of July watching the sky light up during a striking fireworks show choreographed to a patriotic score on Lake Michigan. Watch for free from Navy Pier's dock or along the lakefront (Museum Campus is another insider pick).
Whether you choose to watch aboard an evening fireworks cruise, from 1,000 ft. above the city in 360 CHICAGO or with a patriotic live concert from the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park, all can find the perfect way to cap off Independence Day weekend.
Bonus: For more free fireworks shows throughout the summer, take a look at Navy Pier's 2016 Fireworks Schedule.
Broadway In Chicago Half-Price Deals
Show dates vary // Ticket prices vary
Enjoy thousands of bright lights gleaming in the night and music, dancing and laughter during a musical or play at Broadway in Chicago. BIC is now offering half-price tickets for The SpongeBob Musical, The Book of Mormon, Disney's Newsies, and Schoolhouse Rock Live! You can also easily catch dinner and a show on the nights you're in town with these dining spots to choose from scattered throughout the downtown area.
Chicago Helicopter Tour
Tours given year-round // Tour prices vary
Enjoy the thrill of a helicopter skyline tour giving you the most unique perspective of Chicago's lakefront and landmarks. The helicopters hold up to six passengers and offer unforgettable 180' views with floor to ceiling bubble windows. Invite your friends and fly as a group or plan a date night with that special someone in a private tour for two to create memories that will last forever!