Break out binoculars, the Chicago Air and Water Show is taking flight this weekend, August 17 and 18, 2019. Every year jets and aircrafts soar through the Chicago Sky and can be seen all over Lake Michigan. You can expect to see incredible flight aerobatics, parachute teams, and water rescue. The performers are from the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Red Arrows Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team, and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. View the entire lineup of performers.

Where to Watch?

Millions of people will be crowding the beaches and shorelines for this free festival of flight. Hear are some go-to spots to view the most action!

North Avenue Beach

Source: Chicago Tribune

1600 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60613

The best place to watch the show is at North Avenue Beach, which will get packed fast. Just make sure you are there in plenty of time to find a spot for you and your family. The punctuality will be worth it once you find yourself in the middle of aerobatic action!

Lakefront Between Oak Street and Fullerton Ave

The lakefront from Oak Street Beach to Fullerton Avenue will provide great spots with minimal obstructed views. Oak Street Beach is probably the next best bet for viewing the most action next to the North Ave show center.

The J. Parker

Source: Ratio Design

1816 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

Directly West of North Avenue Beach, the J.Parker is a great outdoor rooftop at the top of Hotel Lincoln. It offers a great elevated view of the show and also looks over Lincoln Park. Make a reservation to secure a table and standing area.

Theater on the Lake

Source: eventbrite

2401 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

This lakefront restaurant has a three-acre beer garden and a nice view and atmosphere to watch the show. They have a $20 admission fee into the restaurant, but you can always find a free spot near Diversey Harbor.

Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Although Navy Pier tends to be a tourist trap, especially during one of the largest festivals of the summer, it also has it’s perks. Its a prime location for flyovers and has plenty of family-friendly activities and vendors to keep your children entertained. Navy Pier also has a new bar and rooftop terrace perfect for beer, BBQ, and viewing the action.

Lake Michigan

Source: Odyssey Cruises

Wishing you had a friend with a boat? Don’t stress, there are plenty of cruise options or spots to rent a boat for the weekend. The views from the lake will be hard to beat.

Transportation Tips

As you can guess, parking is going to be extremely limited. Therefore, public transportation is the way to go. The No. 72 CTA Bus will bring you directly to the beach. If you want to take the train, Sedgwick is the closest stop if you take the Brown Line.

What to Bring?

It’s going to be a day-long adventure in the sun so you should be prepared like you’re going to the beach. That means sunscreen, sunglasses, and lots of water. Binoculars and camera for viewing and documenting the show. Depending where you are, it could get loud. I’d recommend bringing some ear plugs.

The Chicago Air and Water Show only happens once per year. Don’t miss out on this amazing Chicago festival!