Events

How to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Chicago This Year

There are still ways to have fun.

Though a pandemic is still in fact happening, it's America’s 244th birthday. We’re just gonna have to do things a little differently this year. With the Navy Pier fireworks cancelled and Chicago’s largest 4th of July events moving online, you’re gonna need to trek out to the burbs (or your backyard) to see live fireworks this year. Or you can elect to stay closer to home with star-spangled specials and holiday grill-at-home kits available from local restaurants. Here's how to celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago this year.

Spend a boozy 4th on a Chicago booze cruise

Friday - Sunday
Various locations
Several local tour boat operators including Odyssey, Spirit, and Chicago Party Boat are offering a range of 4th of July booze cruises along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River this weekend. While there may not be fireworks, you’re still on a boat. So how hard are you really complaining?
Cost: Varies

Get mojitos and bratwurst during 4th of July Weekend at Tuman’s Tap & Grill

Friday - Sunday
Tuman’s Tap & Grill
Iconic West Town hang Tuman’s breaks out the 4th of July classics with a special weekend menu featuring watermelon mojitos and Paulina Meat Market smoked bratwurst dinners, plus weekend brunch, and more.
Cost: Varies

See fireworks in a soccer stadium at the Bridgeview Drive-Up Fireworks

Friday 9:15pm
SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview
The Bridgeview Park District hosts this red, white, and blue fireworks display to view from the safety of your car.
Cost: Free

See fireworks in a baseball stadium at the Schaumburg Boomers Drive-In Fireworks

Friday & Saturday 9:30pm
Boomers Stadium, Schaumburg
The independent Schaumberg Boomers baseball club hosts this fireworks show that includes options for watching in your car, at dining tables at the stadium, or in luxury boxes. On-site food and beverage sales will be available.
Cost: $20-$400

See live music and cool cars at the Brauer House 4th of July Exotic Car Show

Saturday 11am
Brauer House, Lombard
Lombard brewery Brauer House hosts its first annual 4th of July Exotic Car Show with Lamborghinis and Ferraris on display paired with live music courtesy of members of Plain White Ts, Spitalfield, and more.
Cost: Free - $75

Zoom your dance moves at the Chosen Few Virtual Picnic & House Music Fest

Saturday 12pm
Virtual
Known as the “Woodstock of House Music,” the world’s longest-running house music festival and local 4th of July weekend tradition goes virtual for 2020 featuring nine hours of livestreamed DJ sets from the Chosen Few DJs and guests.
Cost: Free

Give a virtual “Independence Day Salute” with the Grant Park Orchestra

Saturday 6:30pm
YouTube
The Grant Park Orchestra will be livestreaming an evening performance of patriot classics perfect to soundtrack your questionable at-home fireworks display, including “God Bless America” and more.
Cost: Free

Watch Independence Day…on Independence Day

Saturday 9pm
Sears Centre, Hoffman Estates
The Sears Centre is the latest Chicago-area stadium to get in on the outdoor drive-in movie game, screening Independence Day (quite appropriately) on July 4.
Cost: $30-$50

See fireworks in a suburban sports complex at the Naperville Salute

Saturday 9:30pm
Frontier Sports Complex, Naperville
Watch the fireworks from your car or from a field within Naperville’s Frontier Sports Complex, with 906 parking spaces available on site plus an additional 1,000 spaces at Neuqua Valley High School.
Cost: Free

Host your own July 4 cookout with the Goddess Grill Box

Now through Sunday
Goddess & Grocer
Don’t feel like going out this 4th? Goddess and Grocer is selling everything you need to host your own July 4 cookout with ready-to-grill steaks, salmon, chicken thighs, and more available for pickup or delivery, paired with cocktails and desserts like American flag cake and red, white, and blueberry cupcakes.
Cost: $60

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Jay Gentile is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in travel, food & drink, culture, events and entertainment stories. In addition to Thrillist, you can find his work in The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN Travel, Chicago Tribune, Lonely Planet, VICE, Outside Magazine and more. Follow @thejaygentile