Once again, scores of people will line the city’s lakefront for two days for the Chicago Air & Water Show to watch aeronautical maneuvers as the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and Leap Frogs, the Army’s Parachute Team Golden Knights perform stunts both in and out of fighter jets. The 57th annual free event taking place Aug. 15th and 16th mainly over North Avenue Beach will feature the debut of France’s Breitling Jet Team, a seven-plane civilian-based aerobatic team.
The event, which happens daily between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., draws one of the largest crowds to a summer event with more than 2 million expected during the weekend. But you can start catching the action in the days leading up to the show as the Blue Angels start practicing and buzzing along the lakefront. And it’s loud!
If you plan to camp out, go early with blankets and a picnic. You can also try to set up at Castaways, Caffe Oliva or Oak Street Beach Café. Book a cruise on Mystic Blue, Odyssey or the Spirit of Chicago. You can reserve a table at the Signature Room atop the John Hancock building or hit the J. Parker rooftop lounge. Even better: find a friend with a boat and head out on the lake for the day.
Another place to catch the show is farther north on Montrose Beach. It usually serves as a turnaround point for the planes.