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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
| Shutterstock

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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1. Belmont Harbor

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3600 Recreation Dr
Chicago, IL 60613

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.

2. 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.

3. Oak Street Beach

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1000 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 742-5121
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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.

4. Milton Lee Olive Park

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E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611

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.

5. OffShore Chicago

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1000 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 535-6660
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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.

6. Navy Pier

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600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437
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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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7. Cruises on Lake Michigan

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474 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

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.

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8. DuSable Harbor

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111 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-3577

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.

9. Millennium Park

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201 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-1168
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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.

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10. Maggie Daley Park

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337 E Randolph Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 552-3000
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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.

11. Cindy's

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12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 792-3502
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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.

12. Buckingham Fountain

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301 S Columbus Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-7529
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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.

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13. Adler Planetarium

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1300 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-7827
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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.

14. 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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1. Belmont Harbor

3600 Recreation Dr, Chicago, IL 60613

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.

3600 Recreation Dr
Chicago, IL 60613

2. North Avenue Beach

Chicago, IL

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.

3. Oak Street Beach

1000 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

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.

1000 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

4. Milton Lee Olive Park

E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

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.

E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611

5. OffShore Chicago

1000 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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.

1000 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

6. Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

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.

600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Cruises on Lake Michigan

474 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

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.

474 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

8. DuSable Harbor

111 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

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.

111 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

9. Millennium Park

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

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.

201 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601

10. Maggie Daley Park

337 E Randolph Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

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.

337 E Randolph Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

11. Cindy's

12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

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.

12 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

12. Buckingham Fountain

301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

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.

301 S Columbus Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

13. Adler Planetarium

1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

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.

1300 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605

14. 31st Street Beach

Chicago, IL 60616

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