It is time once again time for one of our favorite free events in Chicago: The Chicago Air and Water Show. While there may be a lot of air shows throughout the country, none is better than the one in Chicago. The acts are part of what makes it so great but it is the setting that makes it truly amazing. Watching a jet zoom past a high-rise, barely clearing the roof, at 500 mph is truly and incredible sight.
This year’s headliners are the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Their high speed, precision flying is both thrilling and a bit nerve racking. They make the most of the city by flying in and out of the buildings and they often use them to come out of nowhere and surprise the crowd. New this year will be an appearance by the Breitling Jet Team. Based in France they will bring a second jet precision flying team to the Chicago Air and Water Show. Military jets flying by at high speeds is always a crowd favorite and some are so loud and close they can set off car alarms. There will also be several civilian stunt planes preforming spins and dives that often appear impossible.
Insider Tips: The air show is a great way to spend a beautiful summer day but there are some drawbacks. The crowds are huge. You can be hard pressed to find a few inches to sit. One way to avoid the worst of the crowds is to skip the epicenter of the show at North Avenue Beach and sit between Oak Street Beach and Navy Pier. There will still be a lot of people but it will not be nearly as crowded. Traffic is also a headache. Try to take public transportation and avoid using your car. If you want to avoid the crowds and traffic come to the practice show on Friday. While it is not officially part of the show most acts will be practicing. You will be able to see the show with a few hundred other people rather than hundreds of thousands.
The 2015 Chicago Air and Water Show is August 15 & 16 from 10:00 am until 3:00pm. The Blue Angels are always the closing act so they will hit the skies around 2:45. The center of the show is North Avenue Beach but most of the show can be seen anywhere from Navy Pier up to Fullerton Beach.