It’s that time of year when Chicagoans flock to rooftops across the city, tourists and locals alike head to the beach and people of all ages settle in to watch jaw-dropping aerial and water stunts. Yup that’s right, I’m talking about the über popular Air & Water Show – the largest free military air & water show in the country…and it’s back for its 54th year! This coming weekend, August 18th-19th starting at 10am, prepare to be wowed by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team & U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as they take to the skies to perform dazzling acrobatics 12,000+ feet in the air. The best part, it’s completely free.
If you don’t have a friend (or a friend of a friend) with a rooftop you can chill on, then you can “borrow” a rooftop view! Okay, you can go to a couple of fabulous rooftop options in the city for light fare and drinks and an incredible view. First up, the newly opened Hotel Lincoln’s rooftop joint, J. Parker; it’s part of the Boka Restaurant Group so there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy yourself. Your other option is the WET Deck at the W Chicago. If you’re not so into rooftops, be sure to head down to the prime viewing location, North Avenue Beach (from Fullerton to Oak St.), nice and early…preliminary forecasts are promising some pretty great weather meaning it’ll get crowded early and fast. Located at North Ave Beach is the super popular summer destination, Castaways – also known as the Big Boat on the beach – and with a rooftop lounge, offers one of the best spots to watch the Air & Water Show. You can also head to the ever-popular Navy Pier and hang out on the North side of the Pier for optimal viewing. Crowded beach or Navy Pier not really your thing either? Want to be a little closer to the action? How about in the water? Well then you’re in luck! You can hop on a special cruise from Mystic Blue, Odyssey or the Spirit of Chicago or hop on one Chicago’s tour boats with optimal viewing from their decks, such as Wendella Boats, Shoreline Sightseeing, Seadog Ventures, Chicago’s First Lady or Chicago Line Cruises. I’m sure one of those options is bound to work for you! I guess I should also mention if you don’t feel like trekking downtown to actually watch the show, you can always listen to a broadcast of it from the comfort of your home on WBBM Newsradio 780AM and 105.9FM.
So Chicagoans (and tourists), pack up your coolers, grab your beach towels & blankets and find a spot to settle in on the beach to enjoy one amazing show! I’ll see you on the beach this weekend!
P.S. – If you want to see the Air & Water Show in person without the huge crowds, head downtown on Friday; they do a practice run of the show.