It’s that time of year….dark shadows on the skyscrapers, loud noises from the friendly blue skies, even more people packed into our beautiful city….it’s time for the Air and Water Show! Here are some of my tips on navigating Chicago’s Air and Water Show with kiddos in tow.
Where to Watch the Chicago Air and Water Show
Rooftops and Skyscrapers
Take it from me…you want to avoid the Sears (ahem, Willis) Tower and John Hancock building because it is the most popular weekend for these top city heights. Instead, reach out to friends who live near the lake in towers and skyscrapers and see if they would be willing to have a viewing play date with you. Offer to bring booze and food to talk them into it if they don’t invite you over first.
North Avenue Beach is undoubtedly the most congested beach to watch the Air and Water Show because of the great front row view. Instead, head a bit north where you can spread out and have some much needed space for your little ones. My top picks for less crowded beaches are Oak Street Beach, Northerly Island, and Montrose Beach. You can also snag a spot on the grass east of Lake Shore Drive near Diversey Harbor.
What to Bring to the Chicago Air and Water Show
Similar to any outdoor outings, you want to make sure you pack sunscreen, water, a hat, some snacks, a couple toys or books to keep your kids from getting antsy.
Since there will be fighter planes (hello, Blue Angels!) flying right above your head, the sound can be pretty amazing/terrifying to little ones, so protect their ears (and even yours) with noise cancelling headphones. You can pick up a great pair of Baby Banz Hearing Protection from the Sensory Kids Store here.
Where to Park for the Chicago Air and Water Show
You should always try to use public transportation when heading to popular events such as the Air and Water Show, but if that isn’t feasible for you, definitely use the parking app Park Whiz. You can reserve your spot ahead of time (and cancel anytime) and snag a discounted space in hundreds of parking garages in the area. I even have a special discount code for my awesome readers.
When to Go to the Chicago Air and Water Show
The Air and Water Show is held August 15 and 16 from 10-3 on both Saturday and Sunday. But since weather really decides when the show goes on, the key to attending the festivities is to be flexible. Flexible with the weather, the crowds, your temperamental kiddos…. My boys and I will be attending the Friday practice show when it is a bit less crowded (fingers crossed there is no rain) so hopefully we will see you at Fullerton Beach!
Have a plane lover but can’t make it to the Air and Water Show? No problem! There are some fun things for every plane lover in the Chicagoland area:
Check out the Palawaukee Viewing Area to get a great look at numerous runways, as well as listen to live radar communication between the tower and incoming and outgoing planes. The viewing area is located on Palatine Road off of Milwaukee in Wheeling.
Located in Schaumburg, it is the only plane themed restaurant in the area. It is a great place to bring the family for a delicious meal, as well as watch planes take off and land while enjoying a delicious meal. Read my review here.
Looking for other free family fun? Check out the “Fun Freebies” page!