Best Fireworks Shows in Chicago

Tobias Roberts, June 26, 2018


John Adams, the first vice-president and second president of our country, once said that our Independence Day was to be celebrated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” Over 240 years later, we´re still taking his advice to heart.

While we´ve gotten rid of the guns and cannons, the “bonfires and illuminations” in the form of firework shows continue to be a major part of how our nation celebrates its independence. In 2014 alone, we collectively spent close to 700 million dollars on fireworks.

Independence Day is right around the corner, and while the 4th falls on a Wednesday this year, that shouldn’t keep you from celebrating in style our nation´s independence. After the parades have finished, the hot dogs, bratwursts, and barbecue have been eaten, and the heat of the day gives way to a cool, pleasant evening, finding a front row seat to a bombastic fireworks show is the absolute best way to finish the evening.

Fortunately, there will no shortage of fireworks in the Chicagoland area. From downtown on Navy Pier to virtually every suburb around the city, you could most likely enjoy a quality fireworks show by simply heading up to your rooftop or finding an open field with an unobstructed view.

If you want the real deal, however, fireworks shows around Chicago offer a full, sensorial experience that will let you celebrate in style. Live music, food vendors, fireworks choreographed to patriotic music, and even 3-D glasses to enhance an already spectacular show, are just a few of the ways to enjoy fireworks in style this year. We´ve got the inside scoop on the absolute best fireworks shows in Chicago to help you plan your 4th of July celebration.

Navy Pier

  • Start Time: 9:30 PM
  • Phone and Address: 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-595-7437
  • Price: Free

Fireworks over the lake with the Chicago skyline in the background offers one of the most visually stunning venues for a quality show. The fireworks show at Navy Pier is the quintessential spot to celebrate Independence Day. This year, the Pier will blast patriotic music that is choreographed to what promises to be a truly epic fireworks show.

While you could head to the Pier, thousands of families will find a spot in Grant Park or head to the Adler Planetarium (they´ve got some great grassy knolls with fantastic views of the skyline) to enjoy the spectacle. Alongside those leftover bratwursts, make sure to bring along a couple of watermelons for a picnic to accompany your fireworks celebration. This video tutorial offers some great ideas on how to make the most of a traditional 4th of July treat, preparing watermelon as either sweet, savory, or margarita-style delicacy.

Another option to enjoy the fireworks at Navy Pier is to book a Fireworks cruise where you´ll be able to enjoy the show with the Chicago skyline as a fitting backdrop. Odyssey Cruises is one company offering fantastic cruises both on Lake Michigan and on the Chicago River this 4th of July. Their cruises come with a complete dinner menus, an onboard DJ, and unobstructed views of a truly iconic fireworks show. Wendella Boats is another company offering more affordable cruise options this 4th of July, with cruises starting at $49 for adults and $34 for children.


  • Start Time: Dusk
  • Phone and Address: Niles West High School, 5701 W. Oakton St. 847-674-1500.
  • Price: Free

If you live on the north side of the city, and don´t want to battle the traffic to head downtown, the village of Skokie is organizing what is shaping up to be a quality 4th of July celebration. Around noon, the streets of Skokie will feature parades of marching bands, vintage and custom cars, and clowns for the young ones. At dusk, the fireworks show will start at the local high school. Make sure to show up early, as the first 10,000 people to arrive will receive a complimentary pair of glasses that will allow you to enjoy the fireworks show as a 3-D, interactive, and perhaps mesmerizing experience.  The Goo Roos and Mike & Joe are the invited artists whose live show will add musical accompaniment to one of the only    3-D fireworks shows in the region.


  • Start Time: Dusk
  • Address: Meadowhill Park, 1479 Maple Ave.; and Techny Prairie Park and Fields, 1750 Techny Rd.
  • Price: Free

Also on the North side, the suburb of Northbrook has a full day of festivities planned for this 4th of July.  The Liberty Loop 5K run and a walk will help you justify eating a few more bratwursts or hotdogs than you should during the afternoon cookout sponsored at the Village Presbyterian Church. Their fireworks show begins at dusk and is a great way to end a full day of activities.

You can find a complete program of the 4ht of July Festivities at Northbrook here.

Rosemont Rockin´ in the Park

  • Start Time: 7 PM, on July 3rd
  • Address: Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Pl, Rosemont, Chicago
  • Price: Free

Is there a better way to celebrate 4th of July than with a classic rock ´n´ roll concert followed by an epic fireworks show? The Rosemont Rockin´ in the Park celebration promises to be a classic way to “pre” celebrate the 4th of July a day early. Following from their summer concert series, Jay Dupuis brings a unique Elvis tribute show that will be followed by fireworks. If you don´t have plans for the 3rd, this is a great opportunity to extend your Independence Day celebrations by starting a day early.


  • Start Time: 9:30 PM
  • Address: Engstrom Park, Millview Drive and West Main Street, Batavia
  • Price: Suggested $5 dollar donation per car

On the west side of the city on the Fox River, the suburb of Batavia has lined up a fantastic 4th of July celebration. This show is unique because it is funded by the community itself. A city-wide garage sale held last May alongside a recently held ice cream social helped raise funds for the city to offer a unique celebration. The celebrations begin with Savor-the-Flavor food vendors that will be at the park from 5 PM onwards. To conclude a night of festivities, the “Sky Concert fireworks” offer a great show choreographed to a special musical ensemble.

Lake Forest Festival

  • Start Time: Fireworks start at 9:40 PM
  • Address: Deerpath Community Park, Deerpath Rd at Hastings Rd, Lake Forest
  • Price: $20

Lastly, if you want something with a bit more spunk than the classical or patriotic music set to a fireworks show, the Lake Forest Festival is featuring the 80s metal cover band “Hairball.” Enjoy classic songs by KISS and Def Leppard with a lively show that will features lights, video screens, smoke, fire, bombs, and confetti before ending with a great fireworks show.


  • Start Time: All Day
  • Address: Knoch Park in Naperville, Illinois
  • Price: Starting from $45

If you are looking for a huge celebration this Independence Day, the Naperville Ribfest, which is hosted by the Exchange Club of Naperville, is a festival, concert, and fireworks show all wrapped into the one. While the festival spans several days, the 4th of July concert features the band Stray Cats and Melissa Etheridge. There will also be activities for the entire families, award-winning rib vendors from several different states, and a fireworks show that is sure to be one of the best in the region. If you want to continue celebrating after the 4th officially comes to an end, the concert on the 5th features hip-hop artist Pitbull.

Any one of these seven venues will make for an absolute classic and unforgettable 4th of July celebration.


Celebrating at home and need some summer recipes? Watch below for 3 watermelon recipes to cool down your party.