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Colorful fireworks explode over Lake Michigan and Navy Pier at night.
Navy Pier fireworks
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Where to watch Navy Pier fireworks in Chicago

Navy Pier’s grand finale summer show happens Labor Day weekend

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Navy Pier fireworks
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Chicago comes alive during the summer, and fireworks are an essential part of that. Block parties echo and cicadas call at dusk but there’s nothing like laying on blanket to watch the sky light up with a pyrotechnic display.

The city, just like every resident, doesn’t take the warm weather for granted. That’s why a fireworks show isn’t just for the Fourth of July, but all summer long too. There are two shows at Navy Pier at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday and 10:15 p.m. on Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

A special event takes place on the Fourth of July, of course, and the lakefront gets packed along with all the rooftop bars and restaurants with a view of Navy Pier. Now, as the summer comes to a close, there will also be a big finale for Labor Day weekend.

Whether you’d like a bird’s eye view from a historic hotel’s rooftop or you’d rather stake out a spot in park—here are some of our favorite spots to see sparks fly with friends and family.

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Belmont Harbor

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A highly popular spot for viewing fireworks on the North Side, this harbor and park is a great place to see fireworks and has staircase-style concrete breakwater.

North Avenue Beach

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Closer to the action, North Avenue beach is a lively atmosphere. With Castaways and volleyball players nearby, don’t expect to lay quietly on the sand.

Oak Street Beach

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Dramatic high-rises, a perfect sliver of Chicago beach, and a cool breeze from Lake Michigan—is there a better spot? Lots of others seem to think not, so get to this downtown location a bit early on big weekends.

Milton Lee Olive Park

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One of the most scenic small parks in Chicago, this location is right along the lake. It’s a close up spot with a beautiful alley of honey locust trees and a phenomenal view of the Centennial Wheel.

OffShore Chicago

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You couldn’t get closer to the action than Navy Pier’s newest rooftop bar Offshore. The 52,000-square-foot space offers VIP experiences so check ahead of time if you need tickets for big holiday weekends.

Navy Pier

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Of course, there is a ton on deck for Labor Day weekend: Carnival games, VR games, art exhibits, cruises and music. Find a spot anywhere along Navy Pier or parks near the entrance to watch the fireworks.

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Cruises on Lake Michigan

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Ahoy! Watch from the water on one of Navy Pier’s firework cruises—there are games, a DJ, and drinks aboard. The Chicago Architecture Center offers a members-only fireworks cruise, too.

A post shared by Jon R. (@rufio08) on

DuSable Harbor

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From downtown, follow the Chicago River walk to DuSable Harbor to find a good viewing spot. It’s just south of Navy Pier so you’ll be able to get good photos from there.

Millennium Park

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Break out the picnic basket and lawn chairs. Find a spot in the Pritzker Pavillion or maybe Lurie Garden to take a break and look up at the show.

A post shared by Rachael (@killdevilfalls) on

Maggie Daley Park

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Head to Maggie Daley Park to keep little ones occupied until the fireworks begin at the massive playground, skating ribbon, and climbing wall. When they do, the whole family can end the day with a pretty fireworks display.

Cindy's

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The historic Chicago Athletic Club has the ultimate view of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan, and Navy Pier. There’s no doubt the fireworks will be spectacular from here if you can find a spot on the popular bar’s outdoor balcony.

Buckingham Fountain

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We highly recommend seeing Buckingham Fountain at night when its beautifully light. Have a seat on Chicago’s front lawn and watch the fireworks unfold.

A post shared by Snehal (@1moonshadow1) on

Adler Planetarium

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Adler Planetarium juts out into Lake Michigan on a little peninsula. Around the institution there is a concrete breakwater and that’s a perfect spot to see a fireworks show from Navy Pier. And, not a bad location to see the sparkling night skyline.

31st Street Beach

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There are plenty of places for viewing the show here. Get to the beach or find a spot along the 31st Street Harbor.

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Belmont Harbor

A highly popular spot for viewing fireworks on the North Side, this harbor and park is a great place to see fireworks and has staircase-style concrete breakwater.

North Avenue Beach

Closer to the action, North Avenue beach is a lively atmosphere. With Castaways and volleyball players nearby, don’t expect to lay quietly on the sand.

Oak Street Beach

Dramatic high-rises, a perfect sliver of Chicago beach, and a cool breeze from Lake Michigan—is there a better spot? Lots of others seem to think not, so get to this downtown location a bit early on big weekends.

Milton Lee Olive Park

One of the most scenic small parks in Chicago, this location is right along the lake. It’s a close up spot with a beautiful alley of honey locust trees and a phenomenal view of the Centennial Wheel.

OffShore Chicago

You couldn’t get closer to the action than Navy Pier’s newest rooftop bar Offshore. The 52,000-square-foot space offers VIP experiences so check ahead of time if you need tickets for big holiday weekends.

Navy Pier

Of course, there is a ton on deck for Labor Day weekend: Carnival games, VR games, art exhibits, cruises and music. Find a spot anywhere along Navy Pier or parks near the entrance to watch the fireworks.

A post shared by Navy Pier (@navypierchicago) on

Cruises on Lake Michigan

Ahoy! Watch from the water on one of Navy Pier’s firework cruises—there are games, a DJ, and drinks aboard. The Chicago Architecture Center offers a members-only fireworks cruise, too.

A post shared by Jon R. (@rufio08) on

DuSable Harbor

From downtown, follow the Chicago River walk to DuSable Harbor to find a good viewing spot. It’s just south of Navy Pier so you’ll be able to get good photos from there.

Millennium Park

Break out the picnic basket and lawn chairs. Find a spot in the Pritzker Pavillion or maybe Lurie Garden to take a break and look up at the show.

A post shared by Rachael (@killdevilfalls) on

Maggie Daley Park

Head to Maggie Daley Park to keep little ones occupied until the fireworks begin at the massive playground, skating ribbon, and climbing wall. When they do, the whole family can end the day with a pretty fireworks display.

Cindy's

The historic Chicago Athletic Club has the ultimate view of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan, and Navy Pier. There’s no doubt the fireworks will be spectacular from here if you can find a spot on the popular bar’s outdoor balcony.

Buckingham Fountain

We highly recommend seeing Buckingham Fountain at night when its beautifully light. Have a seat on Chicago’s front lawn and watch the fireworks unfold.

A post shared by Snehal (@1moonshadow1) on

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium juts out into Lake Michigan on a little peninsula. Around the institution there is a concrete breakwater and that’s a perfect spot to see a fireworks show from Navy Pier. And, not a bad location to see the sparkling night skyline.

31st Street Beach

There are plenty of places for viewing the show here. Get to the beach or find a spot along the 31st Street Harbor.