Air and Water Show: where to watch the spectacle in Chicago

Get the lowdown on which beaches, rooftop bars and skyscrapers give you the best view of all the stunts at the Chicago Air and Water Show.



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Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air and Water Show Photograph: Max Herman

Chicago Air and Water Show regulars will no doubt notice something missing this year: the sonic boom and lightning-quick moves of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The precision demonstration team-a perrenial favorite of the Chicago Air Show, which takes flight August 17-18, 10am-3pm, off of North Avenue Beach-won't perform due to the sequestration, the federal budget cuts that went into effect in April. (Traditionally, the Thunderbirds trade headlining duties with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.) The scarcity of Top Gun trickery notwithstanding, the lineup of the air and sea stunt spectacular retains plenty of mavericks ridin' the highway to the danger zone. Among the performers bringing pagentry and daredevil moves to the lakefront are the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, verteran pilot Sean D. Tucker and Team Oracle, the high-octane Firebirds Delta Team and "Malibu" Chuck Aaron, who claims to be the only U.S. civilian pilot licensed to perform helicopter aerobatics. Look at photos from past shows and check out our guide the best sightlines, whether it's a rooftop bar, beach or skyscraper.

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