7 things to do for 4th of July in Chicago
I adore the Fourth of July. Since I was a little girl, the holiday always meant the five Fs: family, friends, festivals, food, and fireworks. As an adult, not much has changed for me. With so many opportunities to celebrate the independence of our country, it can sometimes be difficult to decide what exactly to do. Of course, if you’re visiting Chicago, you’ll find hundreds of events, activities and must-see places on your Fourth of July wish list. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites below.
Watch the sky light up over Lake Michigan as you enjoy an evening on or near Navy Pier for a beautiful light display put on by the city of Chicago.
For a VIP experience, consider purchasing tickets to the family-friendly Freedom Fest, where you can ooh and ah at fireworks from the rooftop.
Make your way to Arlington Heights for an afternoon of horse racing, live entertainment, food, contests, and activities for the entire family at Arlington International Race Park. As the evening sets in, get comfortable and enjoy the music before catching one of the best fireworks displays in the area.
The Annual Naperville RibFest boasts some of the best Chicago food festival headliners. Chow down on some of the tastiest ribs the area has to offer while you jam out at one of the two music stages. Celebrate the growing craft beer industry by washing down your ribs with delicious beverages at the International & Craft Beer Tasting. On the fourth, you’ll enjoy a fantastic fireworks show while you eat and drink.
If you’re looking for something a little more unique, head out to the west suburb of Lisle, for the annual Eyes to the Skies. A mixed festival of music, food, fireworks and hot air balloons, this yearly event draws thousands of visitors as they elevate and illuminate colorful balloons every night. On the Fourth (and every night of the fest), you can set up a space for yourself on a cozy hill where you can enjoy live music before and after the fireworks display.
On the South Side, head over to Oak Forest to revel in more than 25 years of tradition. With a carnival, craft show, car show, food vendors, and knock-your-socks-off music, Oak Fest has everything you’re looking for in a free family fun festival this summer. On the Fourth, stick around for a spectacular fireworks display.
If you’re tired of the same food festivals and fireworks displays, make your way to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a stunning display of botanic-themed artwork, demos, and discussions. At the Chicago Botanic Art Festival, you’ll enjoy wandering the exquisite property as you admire the gardens and lakes. Avoid the hustle and bustle of Independence Day with a relaxing and peaceful afternoon in Chicago.
International Festival of Life
Take in the worldly sights and sounds of the International Festival of Life in the West Loop. With musical acts, shopping, and food representing the people of the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa, you’ll be transported to another place. Migrate to each of the three music stages for life entertainment as you dine on authentic cuisine and experience cultural togetherness.
Chicago is ripe with amazing things to do on the Fourth of July and the surrounding weekend. Celebrate with your friends and family all weekend long, and check out a few of these festivals and fireworks displays. What are your plans for Fourth of July? Who do you celebrate with? What events are on your must-attend list?