On a typical busy summer weekend, Navy Pier draws between 55,000 and 65,000 people to the Chicago attraction. On Fourth of July, that number likely will more than double, up to 125,000 people.
That means one thing for anyone hoping to snag a spot to view fireworks on the pier: Show up early.
Chicago Police had to turn away people last year after Navy Pier reached capacity, and pier personnel said it's not a matter of if it reaches capacity again this year, but when.
"Last year, first the garages filled up and then at a certain point we reached capacity. We expect the same thing to happen this year."
Navy Pier's gates and parking garage are expected to close sometime Friday afternoon. Partner parking garages are available at a discount rate of $15 for 12 hours, but it's still expected to be crowded. Public transportation is suggested as the best bet.
This year's fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m. and lasts 15 minutes.
For those who'd rather steer clear of July 4 crowds, Navy Pier hosts an encore performance Saturday night, July 5, at 10:15 p.m.
The pier closes at midnight but trolleys will be offered Friday to parking garages up to 1 a.m.