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The Skies Have It: Unique Places to View the Air and Water Show

Photo courtesy Benjamin Lipsman. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/blipsman/)

If you’ve not noticed the influx of fancy planes flying overhead already, you certainly will this weekend as the Chicago Air and Water Show takes over the beaches for its fantastic flying fete. For some, it’s motivation to get out of the area for a while while the tourists flock to the beaches and flood the Magnificent Mile.  

But what if you could see the show from somewhere other than North Avenue Beach or Navy Pier? There are several unique places to get a glimpse of all the aerial acrobatics this weekend, and we’d like to share them with you. The Air and Water Show may make a mess of traffic and crowd the shoreline, but it’s also a pretty impressive spectacle. Now in its 59th year the 2017 show features the Blue Angels, the Golden Knights and a skydiving former Cub as well as a number of military and civilian airplanes ready to dazzle in formation and out.  

Photo courtesy Benjamin Lipsman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/blipsman/)

Here are a few ideas for you if you’d like to get in on the action:  

Photo courtesy HL Group.

Over at the Willis Tower’s SkyDeck, you’ll be on top of the world for the 3rd annual “Picnic in the Sky” event. Taking place Saturday, August 19th, this event gets you seats on the 99th floor of the tower for a gourmet feast. From this high up, the show is at eye-level, and the picnic fixings do seem delicious, ranging from piccata and roast beef to bahn mi, with a gourmet pb&j for the kids. The event runs from 11 to 3 pm and includes Fast Pass entry, reserved seating, access to the Ledge attraction, lunch and beer and wine. Prices for the tickets range from $100 to $150 per person and can still be purchased by following this link. 

You can also go at the show from the “sea” as it were, and take in the sights while cruising Lake Michigan. The Mystic Blue cruise line is offering Air and Water Show preview cruises all weekend starting today and still has tickets available for the main event Saturday afternoon. The Afternoon Air and Water Show Lunch Cruise offers its guests a buffet style lunch and a guaranteed window ticket so you can take in the sights. Tickets for the cruises range from $55 for the previews to $99 for Saturday’s afternoon cruise. The Odyssey offers similar preview and day of shows, touting ‘spectacular unobstructed views’ with tickets in the same general price range.  

If you’d still like to have a go at a beach day, many people swear by Montrose Harbor. Though it’s not going to provide the best views, it’s often among the best options because of its lighter crowds and more relaxing atmosphere. Plus, you can cook out or bring your own food.  

Finally, an enterprising soul looking for a little Air and Water Show action will find a wide selection of rooftop bars to peruse the happenings from. Some notable examples are the J. Parker and the Rooftop on the Wit. If you don’t want to fly high, you can stay grounded over at the newly opened Shore Club or over at the Patio at Café Brauer near the zoo, who’s offering a burger, fries and beer for a very reasonable $15.95. 

No matter what you do, we hope you’ll take time to appreciate the summer fun the Air and Water Show provides. For more information on the show itself, check out the official website. 

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