11 Prime Spots To Watch The Chicago Air & Water Show


The Air & Water Show is returning to Chicago for another spectacular display of stunts and astonishment on August 19th and 20th. This multi-day event has been an element of the city’s summer season for more than 6 decades, and it seems to get better by the year! As the largest free show of its kind, residents and visitors alike rush to witness the magnificence. While North Avenue Beach takes center stage, the entire lakefront stretch from Fullerton to Oak Street provides equally splendid vantage points, and we want to guide you to the best spots!

Caffe Oliva

Ohio Street Beach houses one of CP’s favorites: Caffe Oliva. This establishment is perfect for any summer day, but particularly the Air & Water Show! This coastal restaurant is hosting an Air & Water Watch Party, fully taking advantage of their superior location. Caffe Oliva is offering reservations on cabanas and tables of all sizes, all single handedly providing some of the best views of the iconic show! Click here to book!

Theater on the Lake

This lakeside establishment boasts the best vistas of Lake Michigan regardless of external factors. Due to this, Theater on the Lake is a premium spot to perceive the Air & Water Show. Rightfully making the most of their location, they too are hosting a viewing party on their outdoor expansive green space! Click here for more information on tickets for either day.

Chicago Fireboat Tours

Chicago Fireboat Tours in front of the Chicago skyline.

Experience the Air & Water Show upon a cherished piece of the city’s past with Chicago Fireboat Tours. Founded by Navy Veterans Erich Totsch and Ray Novak, this exceptional endeavor stands as a premier choice for witnessing the show from an unobstructed view. During the cruise, delectable sandwiches will be at your fingertips for purchase, enhancing the voyage even further. Check out their calendar for tickets!

City Cruises

For those in search of an uninterrupted vantage point for the Air & Water Show, City Cruises presents a variety of choices. Beyond the offerings of a buffet-style cruise on August 19th and 20th, they extend their services to the 18th as well, providing an opportunity to witness the event’s practice run! 

Shoreline Sightseeing

At Shoreline Sightseeing, tours of the city’s skyline and architecture are always available. It is no different for this upcoming weekend, as tours from 10:30am to 3pm are accessible (and affordable). During these times, the Air & Water Show will be in motion, and Shoreline Sightseeing patrons will be able to witness the magic from one of the best spots in the city: Lake Michigan! Check out their schedule here.

360 Chicago

Male on The Tilt at 360 Chicago

Is there really any better way to witness the Air & Water Show than from 1,000 feet in the air? With 360 Chicago, the John Hancock Center is always a viewing party. Alongside the CloudBar and The Tilt, patrons can enjoy breathtaking views while relaxing. This is precisely why it is a prime location to witness the Air & Water Show from! Check out their wallet-friendly deals here, and book your venture on the 19th or 20th between 10am and 3pm! 


The tallest building in Chicago is naturally one of the best spots to be when witnessing the Air & Water Show. At the Willis Tower, visitors can experience Chicago from the Skydeck, a viewing tower that is 1,353 feet in the air! This vantage point provides one of the best angles of the Air & Water Show, so it is lucky that they have availability on the 19th or 20th between 10am and 3pm! Peruse their times here

Offshore Rooftop

Green Sitting Area at Offshore Rooftop

The world’s largest rooftop is certainly a great choice for the upcoming weekend. Offshore Rooftop, situated upon Navy Pier, offers an unparalleled setting to savor cuisine, drinks, as well as views of the Air & Water Show! Gather friends to relish in the special menu featuring chicken wings and a Miller High Life promo for just $15! Secure your spot here

Chicago Winery

Count on Chicago Winery for your Air & Water Show essentials. Swing by and grab the Chicago Winery Picnic Party Pack, complete with a bottle each of Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, a Chef’s Whim for 4 people (ready to travel), a bamboo serving tray with tongs, and a LIVA at Chicago Winery logoed tote bag!


Uncover views amidst the action at Lirica. Nestled along Chicago’s Navy Pier boardwalk, Lirica offers a refined yet approachable dining experience on a contemporary outdoor patio, just steps away from the Air & Water Show! Elevate your weekend even further with Spanish-inspired culinary delights like the valencia paella or spanish fried chicken. Reserve your patio seat here!

Aloft Chicago Mag Mile

Just a delightful 15-minute stroll from Oak Street Beach, Ohio Street Beach, and Navy Pier, Aloft Chicago Mag Mile presents a charming boutique hotel, the perfect base for your Air & Water Show stay. Embrace family-friendly vibes with an indoor pool and easy access to the Chicago Children’s Museum. Even your furry friend is welcome! 

Written by Bridget McGann

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