Chicago Air and Water Show Takes Flight: What You Need to Know

View the complete guide to a stress-free, fun-filled weekend in Chicago

All eyes will be on the skies this weekend in Chicago as the Air and Water Show returns.

This years’ 61st annual show will take place from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Aug. 17–18, remaining the oldest free air and water show in the United States.

Here’s what you need to know:

Where to Watch

Chicago Beaches: People are encouraged to bring chairs or a blanket to claim a spot in the sand or grass anywhere along North Avenue Beach or Oak Street Beach.

Navy Pier: Cruise ships at Chicago’s Navy Pier give a view of the show from the water itself, while enjoying a buffet and entertainment. Prices for cruises through Odyssey, Spirit Cruises and Mystic Blue start at $64.90. Or the Seadog speed boat offers rides starting at $27.95.

Sky high: The John Hancock building offers 360 Chicago and The Signature Room at the 95th for viewing of the performance. People can also visit the Skydeck at the Willis Tower for a view of the city front – both water and sky.

Where to Park

Millennium Park Garage provides parking spots and a free shuttle to and from North Ave. Beach to avoid crowds the day of the Air and Water Show.

How to Get There

This weekend, the Metra train line will run added/modified service for the Air and Water Show. These will affect the following lines: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West.

The Chicago Transit Authority will also be in operation, running the red, blue, brown, green, orange, purple, pink and yellow lines.


Military Teams

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo

U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter

U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter

C-130 Hercules

T-38 Talon

USMC Osprey Demo

KC-135 Stratotanker

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs

Royal Air Force Red Arrows

Civilian Teams

American Airlines

Bill Stein Aerosport

Chicago Fire Department Air/Sea Rescue

Chicago Police Department Helicopter

Sean D. Tucker & Team Oracle

Susan Dacy in the Super Stearman Model 70

The Firebirds Delta Team

Matt Chapman Air Shows

Warbird Heritage Museum Foundation P-51 Mustang

What can you NOT bring

Alcoholic Beverages

BBQ Grills (Open Flames)

Drones (Personal and Commercial)

Fireworks or Explosives

Illegal Substances & Weapons

Pop-up Tents/Canopies



Flag Poles

All Pets (except service animals)


For those with disabilities, seating will be available primarily at the north end of North Avenue Beach. The following list can obtain accessible seating:

Individuals who use wheelchairs

Individuals with disabilities who are ambulatory, but use mobility devises such as walkers or crutches

Individuals who are ambulatory, but who are unable to stand during the performance

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and need unobstructed sightlines to the sign language interpreter

Individuals who are blind or have visual impairments that require seating in close proximity to the stage

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