Looking for a place to watch Chicago fireworks on July 4th? There are several shows and viewing options near CTA stations so you don’t have to drive. Explore the options below to plan your trip. Keep in mind that trains and buses will be on a Sunday schedule, and the red line operates 24 hours/day.
Navy Pier Fireworks
The main fireworks show in Chicago is at Navy Pier. In addition to walking 20 minutes from the Grand (Red) CTA station, you can take a water taxi, free trolley, bus or ride your bike or a Divvy bike to the area. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m., but you’ll need to arrive early in order to get access to the pier.
Another great option if you don’t want to deal with downtown Chicago crowds is the Evanston fireworks. Beaches, parks, family activities and a parade provide daytime entertainment before the night show. Use the Demster Station on the purple line for easy access to the lakefront for viewing the show. View area map.
Fireworks at John Hancock
Get a 360 view of fireworks around the city from the John Hancock Tower near the Chicago (Red) CTA Station. Choose from the bar or restaurant, and expect long lines. The 360 Chicago observatory will also be open. Admission is $20 for adults and $13 for children.
Fireworks at Shedd Aquarium
The grounds next to the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium provide a clear view of the Navy Pier fireworks as an option south of the Loop. Nearby Roosevelt CTA station on the red, orange and green lines can help you get there. Walking time is about 15 minutes to the first lake viewing area.
Enjoy the waterfront as well as the fireworks from these beaches for best views of the downtown fireworks:
Ohio Street Beach
Next to Navy Pier, Ohio Street Beach will likely be crowded, but is a good option if you arrive at the pier and it is closed due to reaching capacity. View walking directions to Ohio Street Beach from the Grand (Red) CTA Station.
North Avenue Beach
Just up the street from Oak Street, North Avenue Beach is next to Lincoln Park Zoo and has a restaurant/bar and water sport rentals for a day of outdoor fun before the night fireworks. The closest CTA station is Sedgwick, about a 20-minute walk away (view walking directions) or hop on a Divvy bike — there’s a dock on Sedgwick Street just north of the station.
Another recommended beach spot for firework viewing is Montrose Beach in Uptown. It is a little bit longer walk — about 25 minutes from the Wilson Station on the red and purple lines (view walking directions). Divvy is also an option with bikes next to the station, or request an Uber or Lyft car. If you’re new to Uber, use promo code transitguide to $20 off your first ride.