Midnight fireworks have traditionally been a part of Chicago's New Year's Eve celebrations, launching from Navy Pier and from points along the Chicago River when the clock hits midnight and champagne glasses are raised. This year, the City of Chicago is teaming up with Arena Partners, Choose Chicago and Navy Pier to present "the largest fireworks display the City’s ever had," launching along a 1.5-mile stretch of the Chicago River.
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Dubbed Chicago's Very Own New Year's Eve Blast, the event has brought pyrotechnics to the riverfront in the past (most recently in 2019), organized by the same team behind the defunct Chi-Town Rising New Year's Eve celebration. This year, fireworks will be launched from eight locations:
- Orleans Street Bridge
- LaSalle Street Bridge
- Clark Street Bridge
- Dearborn Street Bridge
- State Street Bridge
- Between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Street
- Between Columbus Street and DuSable Lake Shore Drive
- South of Navy Pier
With the giant display set to begin at midnight, you'll be able to watch the display from the comfort of your own home by tuning in to WGN. Chicago Very Own New Year's Eve Blast also boasts a variety of partner events that will provide guests with great views of the display, including parties at LondonHouse, Swissotel Chicago, RPM Seafood and Gibson Italia (you can find a complete list of events on the New Year's Eve Blast website).
The City of Chicago will close come bridges and streets on New Year's Eve, making way for pedestrians to enjoy the fireworks display. Unfortunately, you won't be able to watch from the Chicago Riverwalk, which will be off limits beginning at 4pm on New Year's Eve. Instead, you'll be able to take in the pyrotechnics from Upper Wacker Drive, which will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 11pm. The Franklin/Orleans Street, Lasalle Street, Clark Street, Dearborn Street and State Street bridges will also be closed to vehicular traffic, making way for folks to view the show—a spot on one of the bridges over looking the Chicago River will probably provide the ideal vantage point.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to welcome back our New Year’s Eve fireworks and hope to continue this tradition into the future,” Mayor Lightfoot said in a statement about the event. “Importantly, the display can be viewed outdoors where the spread of COVID-19 is less likely, so our residents and visitors should feel comfortable while masking up and social distancing or even watching safely from home.”
Surprise fireworks displays have become something of a tradition for Mayor Lightfoot over the past year, including a lakefront Independence Day display featuring "high-altitude" fireworks that was announced the day before it took place.
Whether you're heading to a New Year's Eve party or dining at one of Chicago's best restaurants, you might want to peek out a window (or switch on the TV) just before midnight to catch the aerial display.