7 Fireworks Shows for 7 Types of People

It’s that time of year again. America’s birthday means sporting patriotic clothes and filling a cooler with Pinterest-sourced goods. It means packing up or camping out to watch sky-high wonder. Struggling to find an experience that fits? We’ll shed some light.

1.   If you (or your kids) are not easily impressed…
June 30-July 2 – Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival, Lisle

This massive festival includes gigantic crustacean inflations, magic shows, groovy tribute bands, hot air balloon launches, ethnic eats, AND Pyro-Musical productions (or fireworks to the tune of Fitz & the Tantrums, Justin Timberlake, and more). Now that’s pop.

2.   If you’re stuck in the suburbs…
July 1-4 – Northwest Fourth-Fest, Hoffman Estates

Heart set on the “Burbs’ Biggest Fourth of July Celebration”? Hear whispers of a computerized fireworks production? Skip the traffic, and hunker down for a progressive display and other offerings—greasy concessions, cinnamon roasted nuts, and over 40 carnival rides. Fireworks (July 2, 9:30 PM), parade (July 4, 9 AM).

3.   If you’re a carnivore…
July 3 –  Naperville Ribfest & Fireworks, Naperville

Make your way to Naperville for some serious BBQ and aerial excitement. They’ve rounded up the best “ribbers” around to satisfy every level of meateater. Not in the mood? Maybe this fest isn’t for you. Still, buckets of fried options, shaved ice, and the B-52s should rock you. 9:30 PM.

4.   If you’re looking to maximize water time…
July 4 – Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture July Fourth Fireworks Cruise, Lake Michigan

For up to an hour and a half, you can take in 4th of July splendor from the lake. Witness Chicago’s skyline glow a little brighter. Forgo your local parking lot, and forget the neighbors. You can revisit tailgating gossip and Pop-Its next year. 8:15-9:45 PM.

5.   If you expect a 3-course meal, even on the 4th…
July 4 – Spirit Fourth of July Fireworks Dinner Cruise, Navy Pier

Trade a candlelit dinner at home for an offshore experience. Dine, dance, and get swept up in patriotic ambiance. After dipping your whole-roasted pork loin in Dijon mustard cream sauce and ogling the city’s best fireworks, turn up for giant Jenga. 7 PM.

6.   If you live for summer rooftop hopping…
July 4 – Freedom Fest, Navy Pier

Sure, you’ve hit the city’s booziest heights and loftiest taquerias, but have you ever scored an overlook of Lake Michigan fireworks? Let freedom ring and beats drop. Celebrate the 4th with unreal views while the DJ spins. All ages welcome. 6:30-11 PM.

7.   If Evanston’s your scene…or you wish it was…
July 4 – Twilight Concert & Lakeshore Fireworks, Evanston

Relish in your own Americana by filling up on Wisconsin cheese curds at Farmhouse or saying Aloha to your favorite poke bowl. Can’t stake out the ideal fireworks post on an empty stomach. Show launches from Clark Street Beach, so any part of the lakefront (east of Downtown Evanston) is fair game. 9:30 PM.

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