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Air & Water Show Sunday, August 21, 2016
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Where to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show 2022

Get the best views of the Chicago Air and Water Show from rooftop bars, restaurants, tall buildings and boats.

Zach Long
Emma Krupp
Written by
Zach Long
&
Emma Krupp
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The Chicago Air and Water Show is officially set to return to the city's skies this summer, presenting a series of death-defying jet flyovers above the lakefront on August 20 and 21 (in addition to practice runs earlier in the week). Want a front-row seat to the aerial action? You can't go wrong finding a spot at Chicago beaches—especially those locate between Fullerton Avenue and Oak Street, where the show is centered—but those looking for an enhanced experience can also attend viewing parties at waterfront restaurants and rooftop bars, or even get out on the water for a boat tourFind your preferred vantage point with our guide to where to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show.

RECOMMENDED: Your complete guide to the Chicago Air and Water Show

Restaurants and bars

  • Restaurants
  • Lincoln Park

Sip cocktails and graze from a breakfast buffet while you stare up at the Blue Angels during Shore Club's Air and Water Show bash, which features an open bar and plenty of snacks. Seating is first-come, first-served, but you can reserve a table or VIP cabana if you're feeling extra ritzy. $150–$2,000

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

This cruise ship-shaped North Avenue Beach bar throws an all-inclusive party for the Air and Water Show—including an open bar and lunch buffet—in a sandy area appropriately dubbed "The Sand Bar." $95–$115

  • Theater
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

The Chicago Park District's lakefront venue hosts a party on its Lakefront Green area, providing prime views, lunch from Smoque BBQ and an open bar during the Air and Water Show. Looking for a more budget-friendly viewing option? Opt for the $10 general admission ticket, which gives you access to a separate area stocked with concessions available for purchase. $10–$100

Beaches

  • Things to do
  • Lincoln Park

North Avenue Beach is the official viewing area for the Chicago Air and Water Show, which means that it gets packed with people (and their chairs and coolers). If you want to watch the action from this stretch of sand, arrive early and take public transportation so you don't waste time parking your car.

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Montrose Beach
  • Things to do
  • Uptown

Don't want to deal with the hordes of people gathered on North Avenue Beach? Head north to Montrose Beach where you can take in the aerial sights while still enjoying the feel to sand beneath your toes.

  • Things to do
  • Gold Coast

Oak Street Beach isn't too far from North Avenue Beach, which means that plenty of people have figured out that it's a good alternative for Air and Water Show watching. It's worth a try to scope out a spot here if the sand at North Avenue is already covered with chairs and coolers.

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Boats

  • Things to do
  • Streeterville
  • price 2 of 4

Launching from Navy Pier, Spirit of Chicago is hosting early brunch and afternoon lunch cruises on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21 during the Air and Water Show, plus a preview cruise on Friday, August 19. Tickets include a three-course buffet, a DJ, entertainment and games. Starting at $65

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