11 Things to Do in the Chicago Area for the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July calls for American traditions and celebrations that go beyond just fireworks, so check out these holiday festivals and parties throughout the Chicago area happening all weekend.

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Naval Station Great Lakes Fourth of July Celebration: The biggest free Fourth of July celebration in the Chicago area takes place July 3 and 4 at the Naval Station Great Lakes. The event includes a fireworks show with music, several food vendors and musical performances.
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Windy City RibFest: Head to Uptown for the annual Windy City RibFest, where vendors will offer finger-licking slabs from some of the best local and national ribbers. The festival, which runs July 3-5, also offers music performances from bands including the Trippin Billies, Rod Tuffcurls & the Bench Press and Lucky Boys Confusion.
Frontier Days Festival: Take a trip to Arlington Heights for the annual Frontier Days Festival featuring live music, a carnival, a Fourth of July parade and a weekend craft market. Several musical acts will also perform, including 7th Heaven, Blackhawk, The Outlaws (pictured), Dennis DeYoung & The Music of Styx, Vertical Herizon and American English. The festival runs July 1-5.
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Oak Fest: Suburban Oak Forest will hold its annual Oak Fest July 1-5, featuring live music, a carnival, bingo games, and a car and bike show. Admission is free!
Freedom Fest: Join the crowds at Navy Pier for one of the Chicago area's biggest Fourth of July celebrations. Before the fireworks show, enjoy a barbecue, full bar and live music by a DJ on the Navy Pier rooftop.
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Naperville Ribfest: Mmm... barbecue. Naperville will host its annual rib festival July 2-4, featuring performances by musical artists, including The Band Perry on July 5.
Northwest Fest: Head to Hoffman Estates for the largest suburban Fourth of July celebration. The festival, which runs July 1-5, offers a carnival, fireworks, a craft fair, parade and performances by 7th Heaven, Infinity, Exit 147 and Ralph's World.
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Hot Air Balloon Festival: Lisle will host the award-winning Eyes to the Sky Balloon Festival July 2-4. The fest has been named one of the country's top 100 tourist destinations six different times by the American Bar Association. Events at the festival include a carnival, balloon launches, fireworks and more.
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American Music Festival in Berwyn: Spend your Fourth of July weekend nights in suburban Berwyn for the annual American Music Festival at FitzGerald's Night Club. The focus of the festival is on roots and Americana music, and it will feature more than 40 local and national music acts.
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Enjoy a Historic Celebration: The Chicago History Museum will host a Fourth of July celebration with patriotic music, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a children's costume parade led by Uncle Sam.
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Celebrate in Springfield: There's no better place to be than a state capital to celebrate the Fourth of July, so head to downtown Springfield July 3 and 4 for the "Capital City Celebration." Activities include a pageant for children up to 12 years old and performances by the Springfield Municipal Band, F5 and Lick Creek. Admission is free!
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