Things to Do in Chicago on 4th of July Weekend

With the Fourth of July falling conveniently on a Saturday this year, you have the perfect opportunity to spend a long weekend in Chicago – a city known for its festive summer celebrations.

Known for hot dogs, deep-dish pizza and its loyal sports fans, there’s a lot more to do than simply getting great food and catching a ballgame. All of the great Chicago attractions that the city has to offer are sure to keep you entertained on Independence Day.

Extravagant fireworks displays and music festivals are just the beginning, and you’ll find plenty to do in any of Chicago’s many diverse neighborhoods. Take a look at some of the most popular upcoming events for this year’s holiday.

Planning on doing it up this holiday weekend? Snag an all-inclusive Go Chicago® Card and save 55% on combined admission costs. Or, build your own customized pass and save 20% guaranteed.

Navy Pier Fireworks – Navy Pier

July 4, 2015

By far the most popular fireworks attraction is the Navy Pier display, hosted as part of the AON Summer Fireworks series. The explosive event is more elaborate than the weekly summer presentations, so you’re in for a treat even if you’ve been lucky enough to catch them on another night over the summer.

Head to the Pier or Millennium Park for the best views – but be warned the crowds will be fierce. This year’s fireworks begin promptly at 9:30 pm.

Since opening in 1995, the Navy Pier has brought thousands of international and domestic tourists to the shore of Lake Michigan. The park is the perfect destination for the entire family and will surely be a great place to enjoy the 4th of July.

There are tons of great rides to go on including the Navy Pier Carousel, Navy Pier Ferris, Navy Pier Wave Swinger and The Light House at Navy Pier. There’s also a miniature golf course featuring 18, Chicago-themed holes.

Eyes to the Skies Festival – Lisle Park District

July 1 – July 5

eyes-to-the-skies-chicagoAnother unique event is the Lisle Community Park Eyes to the Skies Festival. Enjoy vibrant fireworks displays at night and colorful hot air balloons during the day.

You can even take a ride in one of the balloons if you’d like to add some adventure to your Independence Day weekend! Throw in a carnival, live music, craft booths, and a food court and you’ll never want to leave.

RibFest – Naperville

July 2 – July 5

Image copyright Ribfest.

Image copyright Ribfest.

This one is for those of us who just can’t get enough barbecue in our summer. Justifiably advertised as the “best BBQ you will ever taste,” the food at this festival is like no other.

With over a dozen different rib vendors competing to see who can provide the tastiest fare, everyone’s a winner at this carnivore’s delight. You’ll also find plenty of family-friendly activities, great live music, craft beer tasting, special events, and even fireworks – one heck of a party!

Outdoor Activities

bike-and-roll-chicagoSince we’re now in the heart of summer, why not enjoy the great outdoors with a Chicago bike rental? Pedal leisurely along the Chicago River and down by Navy Pier, or head out to the Museum Campus to pay a visit to one or two of its famed institutions.

Prefer to explore on two feet? Stroll around Millennium Park and the Lurie Gardens for a combination of culture and nature that can’t be beat in the heart of one of the nation’s largest cities.

Historical Attractions


What better way to celebrate the country’s independence than with a visit to a few attractions that capture the essence of American history? The Field Museum is a great place to start, with its World’s Fair heritage and unbeatable collection of American artifacts.

You could also explore the Chicago Historical Museum to learn about this city’s place in American history.

Of course, one of the most popular ways to learn about Chicago history is with the Chicago Architecture Cruise – you won’t believe how much of a city’s story can be told through its buildings!

So if you’re lucky enough to spend this 4th of July weekend in the Windy City, check out a few of these holiday attractions to make the most of your vacation. With everything from barbeques to boat cruises and beyond, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Chicago.

Remember, if you’re planning on seeing a lot during your vacation, pick up a Go Chicago® Card to save up to 55% off admission vs paying at the gate!

Go Chicago Card

Please leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *