4 fantastic fourth fests

This month, we’re celebrating the good old US of A from sea to shining sea—and all across Chicagoland. Independence Day parades are a dime a dozen, and fireworks displays can happen in your backyard (sometimes quite literally). But here are four fourth fests that combine all the festivity into some pretty epic shindigs. 


This party kicks off in the morning and doesn’t stop until after the sun goes down! Highland Park’s 4th of July Celebration includes a children’s bike and pet parade before the main parade steps off, so they can march and collect those piles of candy (that is why they’re really there). Then spend the afternoon in Sunset Woods Park, which has carnival rides and amusements, plus a petting zoo, pony rides, good eats and rockin’ music. Wrap up your day at Hidden Creek AquaPark, where you can watch the spectacular fireworks from the comfort of a pool raft.


Whatever your family’s interests, you’ll find lots to do at Oak Lawn’s Star Spangled Fourth of July Celebration. The day is packed with family-friendly pursuits from inflatables to a treasure hunt and even a tricycle car wash. Show off your unusual abilities in the Oak Lawn’s Got Talent competition or the more traditional Watermelon-Eating Contest (adults can join too!). Tickets include admission to Centennial Aquatic Center, so you can really make a splash. And once you’ve worn out the kiddos with a full day of fun, head over to Richards High School for music and a fireworks display.


We’re firm believers in keeping the party going as long as possible, which is why Glen Ellyn’s 4th of July Celebration sounds like such fun. The festivities kick off on Saturday (July 1) with a Food Truck Picnic in the Park and a cardboard boat race across Lake Ellyn. Then come back on the 4th for a four-mile run, followed by the community parade, afternoon activities such as a penny arcade, an inflatable obstacle course and dancing, and fireworks at dusk. Sounds like there’s a good chance your kids might actually sleep in on the 5th!


Everyone knows that Chicago has the best fireworks, and the rooftop at Navy Pier is simply the best vantage point for maximum ooohs and aaahs. So head to the family-friendly Freedom Fest, where you can chow down on BBQ faves before watching the brightly colored explosions over Lake Michigan. A DJ will be spinning some tunes—patriotic and otherwise—so be sure to wear some shoes you can dance in. And bring along your very best awestruck expressions for good measure.

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