The Chicago Air & Water Show is scheduled for the second weekend in August every year. It plays to over 2 million people, who usually view the event from the beach around Lake Michigan. It is the largest free air show in the United States. If you want a good seat for the Chicago Air and Water Show check out the areas on the beach from Fullerton Avenue to Oak Street Beach. North Avenue Beach is the main location for the show, but also the most crowded.
Note there is no parking near the beach, the only places to park are on side streets (usually full of the resident’s car already anyway) several blocks away. So, either take the CTA 151 or 156 buses from downtown or Union Station if you plan on coming in from elsewhere in the city.
This year’s Chicago Air and Water Show is scheduled for the second Saturday in August, meaning it’s still a ways away. As always, the times and performers subject to change if needed (with weather or unforeseen circumstances). Most of the time the show runs exactly on schedule because they rehearse it about 5 times in the week before the actual show.
Some of the airplanes you will see at this year’s show are:
– U.S. Navy Blue Angels (F-18s)
– AeroShell Aerobatic Team
– Chicago Fire Department Air and Sea Rescue Team
– Lima Lima Flight Team
– The Firebirds
– Sean Tucker & Team Oracle
– Ed Hamill and his Air Force Reserve Bi-Plane
– Red Bull MiG
– U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights
Note: The City of Chicago site does not confirm any civilian performers this year. We just don’t know because they are not publishing that information before the show this year. Regardless of who is in the show, I am sure that the aerobatics will be amazing and entertaining for the whole family.
It is also fun to go downtown the day or two before the Chicago Air and Water show and see the practice runs of all the military and aerobatic planes over Lake Michigan. It’s the same show although the timing is spread out and may be throughout the day. There would be far less of a problem with parking at that time though.
While you are downtown, it would be a great time to stop by and do some shopping or try out a new restaurant in Chicago. Make it a full day of fun.