Where to Watch the Chicago Fourth of July Fireworks 2022

River cruises, hotel rooftops, and and views of Lake Michigan provide ample options.
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Nick Uliveri

Chicago summer is here, which means we can finally embrace a season of festivals, outdoor dining, and, thanks to Navy Pier’s bi-weekly shows, plenty of fireworks. The display on Saturday, July 2 will be especially epic, lighting up the night sky with brilliant colors. If you’re planning to join the crowds along Chicago’s expansive lakefront for the show, get there early to guarantee a good viewing spot. And if you’d prefer something slightly less packed, choose from other great places to watch Chicago’s Fourth of July fireworks below. 

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Navy Pier

Fireworks shows take place at Navy Pier every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the summer, meaning you can expect an Independence Day–worthy display on July 2, accompanied by holiday-themed music. The pier juts into Lake Michigan for the length of six city blocks, offering amazing views over the water, but the nearby lakeshore is also a perfect place to watch the show. Arrive early to catch the musical performances happening from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Navy Pier Beer Garden and, for an extra special evening, try to time a ride on the pier’s 200-foot Centennial Ferris Wheel to the start of the fireworks show. If you want some drinks with your pyrotechnics, the recently opened, 52,000-square-foot Offshore Rooftop is a good bet (the bar is even offering special reservations this year for the best seats in the house). Or consider a stay at Sable at Navy Pier, where a Saturday fireworks package includes Champagne and chocolate upon arrival, a late checkout, and upgrades to a higher floor, pending availability.

Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

Mike Schwartz

Shore Club

Most anything hugging the lakeshore to the north and south of Navy Pier will also afford prime fireworks views—and be slightly less crowded. For a lively option, try Shore Club, a summertime-only hotspot at North Avenue Beach, where the red-white-and-blue frozen cocktail is a must-order over the Fourth. The venue is hosting a Fourth of July beachside brunch all weekend long; book a sun bed, daybed, or cabana at The Oasis at Shore Club if you want bottle service, too. 

Grant Park

To escape the crowds all together, choose the family-friendly Museum Campus at the southeastern end of Grant Park, pitching your blanket somewhere between the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. Even further south at Promontory Point, you’ll also have wide-open views over the distant skyline. 

River cruise

Chicago looks beautiful from the water, but it’s particularly scenic underneath a colorful fireworks display. If you don’t have a friend with a boat, try booking one of the river cruises scheduled for July 2: Mercury is offering a 3D Fireworks Cruise with 3D glasses and a musical soundtrack; City Experiences is hosting dinner cruises with chef-prepared menus, signature cocktails, and striking skyline views; and Chicago Electric Boat Company has self-guided Duffy, retro, donut, and pontoon boats for rent (with the option to add a captain for an additional cost). You could even reserve one of their barges, cycleboats, or yachts—which come with a professional captain and additional deck hand—if you’re really looking to party. For a memorable staycation, book a weekend at the recently renovated Four Seasons, where guests will enjoy a guided tour aboard the hotel’s own 56-foot yacht just in time for the fireworks.

Millennium Park and the Chicago Athletic Association

On July 2, nab a spot in the back of the lawn by the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for Grant Park Music Festival’s Independence Day Salute. From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Grant Park Orchestra will perform an array of patriotic works, including “Liberty Fanfare,” “I Hear America Singing,” and “America the Beautiful.” 

For an exclusive viewing experience, gather with friends at any number of hotels with balconies, rooftops, or lake views. Our favorite is the Chicago Athletic Association, if only for its front-door access to Millennium Park and rooftop terrace bar, Cindy’s, where hotel guests can use their keycard to skip the line. 

John Hancock Center

For some of the best fireworks views in the city, get advance tickets to the 360 Chicago observation deck at the former John Hancock Center. A basic admission ticket includes access from 4 to 11 p.m. on July 2, 3, and 4, plus one specialty cocktail and a live DJ every night, but spring for the all-access ticket if you also want to experience Chicago’s highest thrill ride, TILT. If you’re after something slightly classier, book a table at the Signature Room one floor up, where you can catch the show with a glass of Champagne in hand.

The Robey

If you don’t do crowds and are content with neighborhood fireworks, opt for The Robey hotel in Bucktown. You’ll be far from the lake, but you’ll be able to spot fireworks in every direction, especially from the hotel’s 13-floor Up Room lounge. Afterward, head down to the Cabana Club on the sixth floor, where you can order frozen drinks and bar bites (and dip your toes in the outdoor pool).