Fun Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago with the Kids

Can you believe it? July is already here! Many a firework-loving kid’s favorite holiday is just around the corner and we know you’re looking for some great ways to celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago with your kids this year! 

Here are a few ideas for your family’s 4th of July this year: 

1. Enjoy a free Concert at the Grant Park Music Festival: Independence Salute

The traditional, free, Grant Park Music Festival at Millenium Park will surely make you and your family smile. From 6:30-8:45pm on July 4th, come enjoy some favorite patriotic songs and a special appearance by 16-year-old pianist, Emily Bear, as she features in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

2. Go to a Parade and then see the Fireworks

Of course, the parade and fireworks combo is often the favorite thing to do every Fourth of July. Bring the kids to one of many of Chicago’s great parades and firework shows to celebrate (leave Fido at home for the fireworks though, animals often hate the loud bangs that fireworks make). 

Here are just a few of the parades and firework shows you can choose from around Chicago: 

Skokie’s Parade and 3D Fireworks Festival

At noon, Skokie’s great 4th of July celebration will kick off with a parade of vintage cars, marching bands, drill teams, clowns, and many other things that will delight your family. Then at 5pm, food, drinks, and music will be on at Niles West High School for Skokie’s 3-D Fireworks Festival. The first 10,000 people will receive a free pair of 3-D glasses. Children’s games, faceprinting, and a concert will begin at 6:30p, and the fireworks at dusk. 

Glen Ellyn’s 4th of July

If you find yourself a bit further west for this Fourth of July, Glen Ellyn has a morning run, followed by a noon parade with plenty of bands and floats, a carnival in the afternoon, music, dancing, and a dusk fireworks show.

Highland Park festival

Up further north, the Fourth Fest at Highland Park has a parade at 10am, followed by food, music, carnival rides, and fireworks in the evening. 

3. Set sail on a Cruise

If you want an even more memorable way to view the fireworks with your friends and family, a family cruise is great way to do it. Grab some friends, the kids, and maybe Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins and make it a real holiday memory for years to come. 

Here are a couple samples of the July 4th cruises on offer: 

Shoreline Sightseeing 

Boards from Navy Pier beginning at 8:35 pm

For only $69 per person, you can bring your family to take in the whole length of the Chicago skyline on this 60-minute panoramic tour and watch the Navy Pier fireworks from the boat before returning to land. viewing of the July 4th fireworks at Navy Pier. Cash bar available.

Wendella Boats

Wendella Boats also offers a very affordable cruise and fireworks viewing that is kid-friendly, at a price of $34-$49, which is also wallet-friendly. Enjoy the skyline with a brief narrated tour, then watch in awe as the fireworks go off at Navy Pier. All tours will return about 30 minutes after the fireworks show which is set to begin at 9:30pm. 

However you choose to celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago with your kids this year, play safe and have a very Happy Fourth!

Share this post