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Enjoy Free Family Fun on Fourth of July Weekend in Chicago

Experience great value and discover something new with a visit to Chicago this Fourth of July weekend. Celebrate the summer’s biggest holiday by visiting lakefront beaches, enjoying magnificent fireworks on the lakefront, experiencing the Taste of Chicago or attending a Major League baseball game. Learn about Chicago’s exquisite cuisine, incredible sights, and affordable options for a fun-filled weekend getaway on a budget.

Don’t miss this chance to explore Chicago’s many vibrant communities with newly expanded neighborhood pages on, the city’s official tourism website. From Albany Park to South Shore, discover the many ways you can embrace the history, culture, and people of the city’s 75 diverse neighborhoods as you uncover the world in Chicago’s backyard.

Begin your adventure at the Visitor Information Centers at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St., and Water Works, 163 E. Pearson St. at Michigan Ave. For more information about all Fourth of July weekend events, visit or call 877-CHICAGO. The following highlights are free unless otherwise noted.

Millennium Park Celebration, Fireworks and Taste of Chicago

Saturday, July 3

Fourh of July Fireworks, Chicago, Illinois

Fourth of July Fireworks, Chicago, Illinois

Fourth of July Celebration in Millennium Park

Get a head start on the holiday festivities at the Grant Park Music Festival’s Independence Celebration on July 3, at 1:30 p.m. A free concert by the Grant Park Orchestra at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park celebrates our country’s birthday and musical heritage and features the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s BAM! and the Trinity Irish Dancers. Other events on July 3 include workouts in Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates, and salsa lessons on the Great Lawn, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Family Fun Festival, presented by Target, offers interactive activities and musical games for kids of all ages from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, July 4


Enjoy a spectacular triple play of pyrotechnics on the Fourth of July with fireworks displays occurring up and down Chicago’s 26 miles of lakefront. Beginning at 9 p.m., 15 minute pyrotechnic displays will light up the sky. Prime viewing locations are Downtown at Navy Pier and the surrounding area; on the South Side from 63rd Street Beach to Promontory Point; and on the North Side from Foster to Montrose. The American flavored and themed musical soundtrack can be heard on 101. 9 THE MIX.

Through July 4

Taste of Chicago

Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest outdoor food and entertainment festival. From June 25 –July 4, the ten-day lakefront event in Grant Park features food choices ranging from ethnic to exotic to Chicago specialties. A buffet of musical talent as varied as the menu includes free performances by Trey Songz on July 1, Rob Thomas on July 2, the Steve Miller Band on July 3, Passion Pit on July 4, and more. Note: Taste of Chicago closes at 7 p.m. on July 3 and at 6 p.m. on July 4.

Other Events and Activities

Chicago SummerDance Festival

Feel the beat at the 14th Annual Chicago SummerDance. The largest outdoor dance festival of its kind in the U.S. features one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors, followed by two hours of live music and dancing on a 4,600 square foot open-air dance floor in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park. On July 1, join the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society and its Music Ensemble for Greek folk dance lessons and music. On July 2, Narcotango plays its electronico tango music with Argentine tango dance lessons taught by the ARTango Center. Dance lessons are from 6-7 p.m. and live music is from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Neighborhood Festivals

Discover the many diverse neighborhoods of Chicago this Independence Day weekend. On July 2 through July 5, visit Washington Park for the 17th annual African-Caribbean International Festival of Life. The festival includes live music, including reggae, calypso, and gospel, plus food vendors, arts and crafts, games, kids' activities and exhibits. Admission is $15.

Hyde Park and Old Town InstaGreeter Outposts

Pay a visit to Hyde Park, President Obama’s long-time home or stroll through the historic Old Town neighborhood with the Instagreeter program, free one-hour walkabouts guided by a knowledgeable local. Stop by the Hyde Park InstaGreeter Outpost at the Hyde Park Art Center or the new Old Town Neighborhood Outpost at Second City anytime on July 3 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Visits are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and no reservations are needed.

Farmers Markets

Over 70 vendors offer fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers at local Farmers Markets that sell to more than 20 neighborhoods throughout the city. On July 3, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., visit the Lincoln Park Farmers Market at Lincoln Park High School and the Division Street Farmers Market in the Gold Coast. On July 4th, the Erie Street Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Chicago’s Lakefront Beaches

Chicago offers 15 miles of lakefront beaches for the enjoyment of locals and visitors. Lifeguards are on duty all weekend long. The lakefront is also home to the lakefront trail, volleyball, soccer, concessions, golf courses, harbors, bird sanctuaries, and natural areas.

Museum Exhibitions

Escape into a whole new world at Chicago’s renowned museums. Feel the physics and consider the chemistry of natural phenomena like tornados and avalanches at the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Storm Stories” exhibition. At The Field Museum, celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sue, the largest, most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. Work your way through The Art Institute of Chicago’s 20th-and 21st century art collection in the Modern Wing. Designed by Pulitzer Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the 264,000-square-foot building, which opened last year, makes the Art Institute the second largest art museum in the U.S. At the Museum of Contemporary Art, explore the influence that modern sculptor Alexander Calder had on an emerging generation of contemporary artists in “Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy”.

Chicago Neighborhood Tours

Venture out of the Loop and into some of Chicago’s most fascinating neighborhoods. Take a Summertime Sampler tour on July 2 and visit Greek Town, Chinatown, & Little Italy. The tour leaves at 10 a.m. from the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St., and lasts approximately three hours. For more information, including a complete schedule of Chicago Neighborhood Tours, visit

The Ledge at the Sears Tower Skydeck

Experience never-before-seen views of Chicago at “The Ledge” at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. It features all glass boxes set 1,353 feet up, and extending out 4.3 feet from the 103rd floor Skydeck. The famed Willis Tower Skydeck also offers additional attractions including new interactive and educational museum-quality exhibits that celebrate the City of Chicago.

Chicago Cubs Baseball

Complete your all-American weekend with a trip to Wrigley Field on Chicago’s North Side. On July 1, the Chicago Cubs kick off a four day series hosting the Cincinnati Reds. Wrigley Field is easily accessible by car or on Chicago’s rapid transit system. For tickets, visit

Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive Chicago brochures, reserve hotel accommodations and receive trip-planning assistance by calling toll-free 1.877.CHICAGO (1.877.244.2246), or visiting Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. The centers are located at Chicago Water Works, 163 East Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 East Randolph Street. The TTY toll-free number for the hearing impaired is 1.866.710.0294.

Chicago Fireworks photo by whitneyartgirl

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