Feature photo by IndiChick

Independence Day without fireworks is like Thanksgiving without turkey, Halloween without jack-o-laterns, or Valentines Day without the disappointment. Booming fireworks displays are the essential part of celebrating our nation’s birth and our victory over those devious, tax-loving Englishmen so grab some lawn chairs and cozy up to a fellow patriot under the rockets’ red glare.

South Side

The 63rd Street Beach (located in the Washington Park/Woodlawn neighborhood at 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive) will be hosting a dazzling fifteen minute fireworks display on Sunday July 4th. The event is free and begins at 9pm. Tune into 101.9-FM WTMX for the accompanying soundtrack.

North Side
Montrose Beach (4400 N. Lake Shore Drive) hosts the free fireworks show for the North Siders on Sunday July 4th. Reportedly, you’ll be able to see all those Roman candals explode as far away as Foster Avenue Beach (5200 N. Lake Shore Drive). The fifteen minute show begins at 9 pm and you can tune into 101.9-FM WTMX for the coordinating soundtrack.

Navy Pier
Possibly the most popular fireworks in town, Navy Pier’s (600 E. Grand Avenue) display begins at 9 pm on Sunday July 4th. The free show lasts fifteen minutes over Lake Michigan. Visit their website for more details.

Arlington Heights
The Arlington Heights fireworks display, the largest in the Chicagoland area, will light up the sky for 30 minutes beginning at dusk at the Arlington Park Racecourse (2200 W. Euclid Avenue; Arlington Heights, IL 60005) on Saturday July 3rd. Admission to the park is $8 to $20 and includes thoroughbred racing earlier in the evening, live music on two stages, and family activities. Get your tickets soon, a crowd of 30,000 is expected to attend. Visit their website for ticket information.

Lake Forest
The Lake Forest Festival and Fireworks takes place on Sunday July 4th from 5pm to 10 pm at the Deerpath Community Park (400 Hastings Road; Lake Forest, IL 60045). The festival includes food vendors, a beer garden, live music from Chicago’s favorite ’80s band Sixteen Candles and KC & the Sunshine Band, and culminates at 9:30 pm with a spectacular fireworks display. Tickets to the event are $7.50 to $10 and are free for kids under 48 inches.

Oakbrook Terrace
The Terrace View Park (1 Parkview Plaza; Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181) is your best bet for a free fireworks show in the suburbs. On Sunday July 4th, the annual community celebration will include carnival rides and a picnic from 4 to 7 pm (tickets are availble for $10 prior to the event), live music by Mo-town band The Moods at 8 pm, and a fireworks display at 9:30 pm.

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