• Fireworks boat tour with Mercury Skyline Cruiseline


Celebrate Independence Day 2017 in Chicago with fireworks, special concerts, festivals & more!

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.


Fourth of July Events in 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 Tuesday, 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 Tuesday, July 4 from 6:30-8:00 pm, the Grant Park Music Festival presents its annual holiday concert. Bring your family and friends and celebrate the Fourth of July under the stars in Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with an evening of patriotic favorites, including Stars and Stripes Forever, the 1812 Overture and more. An encore performance will be held on Wednesday, July 5 at 6:30 PM at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive.          


Freedom Fest 2017 at Navy Pier
Tickets from $39 · 600 E. Grand Ave.

The 4th Annual Freedom Fest is a July 4th event like no other. You are going to celebrate this national holiday on the Navy Pier's 27,000 square foot rooftop all night long. This event is good for all ages so make sure you bring along the family to really enjoy the night! Enjoy amazing views of Chicago, Lake Michigan, and all of Chicago's best sights from the Navy Pier's rooftop. This event is going to feature delicious BBQ food items to satisfy your July 4th cravings. As you view Chicago with your loved ones, you are going to enjoy this year's top hits provided by your live DJ. Dance and celebrate all night long to your live DJ as you celebrate the most memorable Chicago July 4th night.


Fireworks Sightseeing

Mercury Cruises

ODYSSEY CRUISES: Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Tuesday, July 4 (Board 6:30 pm, Cruise 7:30-10:30 pm)
Tickets from $189.90
866-305-2469 | 

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 Dinner Cruises.


SPIRIT OF CHICAGO CRUISES: Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise

Tuesday, July 4 (Board 7:00 pm, Cruise 7:30-10:30 pm)
Tickets from $149.90
866-273-2469 | 

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. For a daytime option, there will be a lunch cruise, which boards at 12 p.m. and runs 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


WENDELLA BOATS: 4th of July Fireworks Cruises

Tuesday, 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 |

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.



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.



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. 



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.



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.).


Weekend Festivals & Activities Across Chicago

Chicago Summerdance

Windy City RibFest in Uptown: June 30-July 2
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 9th 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 25th year.

Jurassic World: The Exhibition: Through January 2018
Walk through the Jurassic World gates and get up close to the huge dinosaurs, some over 24 feet tall, for an experience like no other. Visitors of all ages can learn all about these incredible prehistoric creatures and enjoy high-quality entertainment.

Robot Revolution Exhibit: Through February 4, 2018
Explore a collection of cutting-edge robots secured from some of the most innovative global robotics companies and universities. Guests will have extraordinary opportunities to interact with robots that have rarely been shown to the public before — including several new robots for its 2017 return.

Chicago Cubs, Chicago Fire & Chicago White Sox
Cheer on a professional Chicago sports team over the holiday weekend! On July 1, the Chicago Fire take on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Toyota Park in a MLS match. Baseball fans can also get a taste of America's favorite pastime on July 4. The Chicago Cubs kick take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Wrigley Field, and the Chicago White Sox take on the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate 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.

Featured Partners

Book A Trip

Best 2017 Chicago July Festivals
Chicago’s best July 2017 festivals include...
20 Ways to Cool off in the Summer
Boats, beaches, water sports and cold brews......
Summer Essentials
Spring and summer in Chicago is a time to get...
10 Things You Have to Do in Chicago this Summer!
A bucket list for first time visitors, this...
2 Days Summer Fun for Families
Find things to do in Chicago with kids right here!...