Helpful tips to tackle the Chicago Air and Water Show

You don’t have to be sad to see August arrive; there’s enough time to squeeze in one last summer extravaganza thanks to the 58th annual Chicago Air and Water Show. With returning acts such as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the F-35 Heritage Flight soaring through for the first time this year, the Air and Water Show is one of Chicago’s most popular free events.

If you go

Chicago air and Water Show

10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 20-21

But it can get a bit hectic, especially for families with little ones. Mary May, from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs& Special Events, shares three tips to help make your experience smooth sailing (or flying) from start to finish.

Travel smart

Public transportation is definitely recommended to avoid traffic hassles. But if you’re coming from the suburbs, park at the Millennium Park Garage. It has $35 all-day parking and a free shuttle to North Avenue Beach.

Avoid the crowds

Since all of the action takes place at North Avenue Beach, be sure to plan ahead. Many spectators arrive early to stake out their spot and it gets crowded fast. If you plan on coming later in the afternoon or just want to avoid the craziness, you can still get a great view along the Lakefront from Oak Street Beach to Fullerton.

Have a back-up plan

If the kids are excited for the show but it’s just too hot to hit the sand, don’t panic. Tune into WBBM 780 or 105.9FM to hear a broadcast of the event. Or view the livestream at for complete coverage of the show.

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