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Photograph: Anthony Soave

Fireworks are returning to Navy Pier this weekend

The lakefront tourist attraction will host glittering fireworks displays, live music and more free events this summer.

Lindsay Eanet
Written by
Lindsay Eanet

The next couple of days may be grim and rainy, but we're in for a sunny and warm long holiday weekend—and with it, the return of the summer spectacle that is the Navy Pier fireworks.

The popular show will make its 2022 debut on Saturday, May 28 at 10pm, and will recur Wednesdays at 9pm and Saturdays at 10pm through Labor Day. The displays feature a variety of music, including unique soundtracks for special occasions. 

And lest you haven't been to Navy Pier since that work booze cruise five years ago or an ill-fated family outing to the long-gone Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. location, the Pier is offering new attractions, cultural activities and food options starting this weekend. The sprawling Beer Garden, which offers free live music in the summer under the "Live on the Lake" banner and "farm to foam" craft brews from Ottawa, IL-based Tangled Roots Brewing Company, also opens on May 28.

Kicking off the summer of jams are '90s rock cover band Mike & Joe, perfect for your nostalgic buddies who warble through Eagle-Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" at karaoke, and acclaimed New Orleans multihyphenate Shamarr Allen, who has worked with icons like Willie Nelson, Patti LaBelle and Lenny Kravitz. If relaxing with a brew, a view and some Third Eye Blind covers isn't doing it for you, Saturday will also be the opening installment of Wave Wall Wax, where top local house and dance DJs spin by the Wave Wall on Saturdays from 5 to 7pm. 

Navy Pier also welcomes two new restaurants to its ever-growing food lineup this week. Starting Thursday, you can chow down on Italian beef at Ciccio, a spot combining traditional Italian favorites with Chicago staples, and on Saturday, guests will be able to visit Jake's On the Lake, the new Navy Pier outpost of beloved downtown pub grub institution Jake Melnick's Corner Tap (so while you watch the fireworks, you can incinerate your insides with some hurts-so-good XXX wings). 

In addition to the live music and new food options, you'll find some cultural programming and other new attractions. In keeping with the "Year of Chicago Dance" theme, catch free live dance performances at the Pier on Saturdays in the summer beginning May 28 at 3pm with the See Chicago Dance kickoff, when five local dance troupes will perform. If you're bringing the kids (or adults who get weepy at that one scene from Inside Out), Pixar Putt, a pop-up Pixar-themed mini golf course featuring themed obstacles based on the animation studio's beloved movies, opens at Polk Brothers Park outside the Pier entrance on Saturday. 

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