The city canceled its fireworks show in 2011, and Navy Pier has been Independence Day central since. A patriotic soundtrack blares as fireworks go boom overhead. Of course, you don’t have to go to the pier to see the show—just find a nearby beach (or patio). Navy Pier. July 4, 9:30pm.
The village of Itasca takes the Fourth of July very seriously, putting on one of the largest displays outside of Chicago, after performances by Pat McKillen and Maggie Speaks. Prepare yourself for 25 minutes of midair explosions. Hamilton Lakes Office Campus (Illinois Rt 53 and Thorndale Ave, Itasca). July 4, 9:45pm. Free.
Northwest Fourth Fest
From June 30–July 4, Hoffman Estates’ Northwest Fourth-Fest offers up family-friendly activities, including a carnival, a craft fair and concerts. A computerized fireworks display will be launched on Sunday, July 3. Sears Centre Arena (5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates). July 3 at 9:30pm. Free.
Skokie’s celebration begins with a parade at noon, before moving to Niles West High School for food, drinks and live music. The fireworks display gets some extra spark with “3D fireworks.” Guests receive special glasses that add color to the aerial display, making them really pop. Niles West High School (5701 Oakton St, Skokie). July 4 at dusk. Free.