Editor's note: NBCChicago.com will stream Navy Pier's fireworks LIVE starting at 9:30 p.m. in the player above.
Navy Pier is expecting to throw one of the biggest birthday parties in Chicago to celebrate Independence Day.
Last year, the Pier reached capacity with about 75,000 people showing up early to get the best seat for fireworks. Here is what you need to know to have a blast at this year’s Fourth of July show.
What time should I get to Navy Pier? As early as possible. The Pier opened to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday and large crowds are anticipated. Maximum capacity is expected to be reached, prompting gate closures for public safety. Expect multiple security checkpoints throughout the Pier.
Do I need tickets? No tickets necessary for the fireworks show. If you have tickets for other events at Navy Pier, arrive early as well.
Where can I find parking? On-site parking is located at 600 E. Grand Ave. and can hold around 1,600 cars. If this fills up, Navy Pier suggests Grand Plaza Park, 540 N. State St., and Ogden Plaza Self-Park, 300 E. North Water St.
Can I just take a cab? Sure, but locations for taxi services will be moved from the regular stand location outside to south of the Navy Pier main entrance. The taxi pick-up location will be on Grand Avenue, between Streeter and Lake Shore Drive. Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft will not be picking up or dropping off at the Pier.
I’m just going to take CTA. Sounds good! Buses that serve routes to the west and north of Navy Pier will pick up passengers at the permanent CTA terminal at the northwest corner in front. Buses to the south of Navy Pier will pick up passengers along the semi-circular roadway in the south end of Polk Bros Park. The Navy Pier Free Trolley will also run on its regular schedule.
When does the show start? The 15-minute-long fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m. and will be synchronized to a patriotic playlist.
I’m driving nearby but not going to the show. Will my commute be affected? There will be no parking, stopping or standing along adjacent streets to Navy Pier, including, but not limited to Streeter Drive, Grand Avenue and Illinois Street. Depending on crowds and traffic, the Chicago Police Department may close some streets, usually Grand Avenue and Illinois Street, temporarily.