AUGUST 2017 – If you’re in the city for the days leading up to the annual Chicago Air & Water Show, be sure to look up! As the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels’ jets zip through the sky, their high speed almost breaks the sound barrier, sending thrusting bursts and sonic booms through the air. It’s at first a little scary, but quickly becomes exciting as you make a game of catching sight of the fighter jets.
Even if you don’t see the practice runs, you’ll still want to come out for the free annual event, taking place Aug. 19 and 20 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The show happens on the lake and in the air between Fullerton Avenue and Oak Street with North Avenue Beach the center. In addition to the Blue Angels, spectators will get treated to stunts by U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team and U.S. Navy Leap Frogs, which both will jump out of planes flying at 12,500 feet.
A number of other planes — both professional and amateur — participate in the two-day event as do a variety of boats and other water vehicles. Most of the approximately two million people attending stake out space in the parks or on the beach. Lucky people with access to a boat will drop anchor in the lake for the day. And a variety of restaurants and bars like the J. Parker, Oak Street Beach Café, Caffe Oliva, Drumbar and the Terrace at Trump allow for pretty good sightlines. While Cindy’s is off the main thoroughfare for viewing, you may catch the Blue Angels whiz by. And if you’re on the Far North Side, set up at Montrose or Foster Beach since that’s where the jets fly over before turning around to head back south.