Experiencing the Chicago Air & Water show is more than just looking up in the sky wherever you may be in the city.
Whether it's on a rooftop bar or a city beach, there are plenty of ways to take in the heart-stopping performances in the largest free show of its kind.
The iconic event returns for its 58th time on August 20 and 21 to North Avenue Beach with headliners including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs.
With the highly-anticipated performances just days away, here is everything you need to know before the weekend festivities begin.
Where to Watch:
Chicago Beaches: Viewers can watch the performers along the lakefront of Fullerton to Oak Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day along with several other spots that will offer views of the planes taking flight.
Navy Pier: Locations like the Miller Lite Beer Garden on Navy Pier will host an Air & Water Show special for the weekend featuring all-day entertainment. The pier is also offering special Air & Water show cruises.
Sand Bar Beer Garden: Starting August 19 to 21, there will be a pop up Sand Bar Beer Garden at North Avenue Beach open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The complimentary admission will have $1 to $7 food and drink specials for purchase.
J. Parker: The J. Parker, known for its rooftop view, will offer a Air & Water show packages along with specialty drink called "The Aviation," which will cost $13 with $1 of the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Skydeck Chicago: Skydeck Chicago is also offering specialty viewing packages, with premium seating priced at $150 and second row seating at $100 per person.
GreenRiver: GreenRiver is offering up its rooftop view for Air & Water show fans. The 18th floor terrace will offer a summer barbecue and open bar with ticket prices beginning at $85/person.
Where to Park:
Parking locations include Millennium Park Garage, Millennium Lakeside Garage (5 S. Columbus Drive), Grant Park South Garage (325 S. Michigan Ave.) and Grant Park North Garage (25 N. Michigan Ave). All-day packages are available for $35 and include shuttle service to North Avenue Beach.
How to Get There:
Metra is adjusting its schedule for the weekend’s festivities with more trains and larger amounts of passengers on rides. The $8 Weekend Pass gives unlimited rides and kids under 11 can ride free with an adult until Labor Day.
Divvy Bikes are also available at four locations: Theater on the Lake; Clark & North; Michigan & Oak; and Streeter & Illinois.
The Chicago Transit Authority is also offering additional service for spectators. Longer trains will operate along the Blue, Brown, Green and Orange lines both Saturday and Sunder from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Extra service will also be provided on the No. 72 North Avenue and No. 151 Sheridan routes. The extra service will begin at approximately 9 a.m. and conclude approximately one hour after the event ends each day. No. 72 buses will only travel as far east as North Avenue and Clark to avoid traffic congestion and the North Avenue Beach terminal will be closed to all traffic until Monday at 3 p.m.