Each summer, millions of visitors flock to the Chicago lakefront in late August for a spectacular display of aerial and nautical stunts: the Chicago Air & Water show. From military fighter jets to civilian aircraft to water skiers, families can watch a range of daredevils along the beach stretching from Oak Street to Fullerton Avenue. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are always one of the highlights of the weekend, which typically falls two weeks before Labor Day.
The show is free and has been running for more than 50 years. Here are three important tips for making the most of this Chicago classic.
Where to Watch
North Avenue Beach marks the middle of the viewing area. While this gives visitors a view of the entire show, it's also very crowded. If you're traveling with children, there is a grassy park area just west of Lake Shore Drive that serves as a great vantage point with fewer spectators.
How to Get There
Parking isn't easy to find during the show. If you're staying in a downtown Chicago hotel, there are numerous bus routes and train lines that will help you eliminate the hassles and high costs of driving to the viewing area. You can also take a taxi to Old Town or Lincoln Park and walk to the beach.
What to Bring
While food and water are sold at stations along the lakefront, you can also pack your own picnic. Blankets and chairs are also permitted. Sunscreen is highly recommended to protect yourself from the summer rays soaking the beach.