Our favorite (and LEAST favorite) things to do on the 4th of July in Chicago

Chicago knows how to through a 4th of July party

However, as locals living downtown around the Loop, we've come to learn that there are certain places to really enjoy the 4th ... and certain places to steer clear of! We wanted to share a few of our own suggestions based off our experiences. Think we missed any? Please share in the comments!


Places to go

1. Signature Lounge at the Hancock Tower

The Signature Lounge is an ideal location to view the city from the 96th floor of the Hancock Building in River North. This is a perfect view to take in, no matter what time of year. But if you can get up there on the 4th in time for fireworks, the views are even more extravagant!  Be prepared for lines, of course, but if you have a table, you have no worries of dealing with crowds and rowdiness. If you absolutely must be downtown, we suggest going here. https://www.signatureroom.com/lounge/

2. 2017 Napperville Ribfest

That's right-- get outta town! Napperville is about a 40 minute drive from the city, and you won't have to deal with the same kind of crowds. Plus, what's more American that feasting on ribs?? Find out more information on their website: 

3. International Festival of Life in Union Park

Here you'll find a family-friendly festival featuring music, food, arts, crafts, educational contests and more. We love the international spread of music they'll be having: Reggae, Caribbean, African, R & B, Blues, Gospel, Latin, Indie, and other global sounds. Celebrating America means embracing all of our global diversity. It's what makes us so beautiful! 

Places NOT to go

1. Navy Pier

While some may claim that you need to experience the 4th of July at Navy Pier at least once in your life, we feel that we owe it to you to save you from the trauma. It is unbelievably packed! And not only that, they close access to the Pier pretty early once it is filled to capacity. While there are many cops everywhere, the masses are overwhelming and sometimes the young crowd can get rowdy. Avoid at all costs!!

2. North Avenue Beach

There are many places in Chicago that are family-friendly. This is not one of them! Yes, the waterfront views of the city are lovely, but you never know when a fight might break out around you, or indecent behavior is conducted right next to you as you try to enjoy your nice outing. This is definitely the hangout spot for teens and college students. So unless you want to party with them and like them, we promise that it will overwhelm you! Stay clear!

3. Grant Park

This was a swing vote for us, because the music there is pretty awesome. But quite frankly, the crowds are a headache. This is a post for locals, so we know how much tourists can be the bane of our existence! On this one day of the year every tourist coming to Chicago wants to be in Grant Park. Sidewalks are packed, lines are long, and seating is limited. We know there are better ways to enjoy Chicago. So we vote this one out!

There are many great things to experience in Chicago on the 4th.

Sometimes, though, it just takes some creativity. Perhaps go just a little further south or north of the city if you want to stay on the Lake. Or get out to the burbs and enjoy a break from the city life. Celebrations are about memories and having fun, not feeling unsafe, confused, or annoyed with the atmosphere around you. 

So have fun and be safe! Share any of your favorites spots in the comments below.