Blue Angels to zoom across Chicago skies this weekend


Navy Blue Angels to fly over Chicago. (Photo courtesy of the US Navy Blue Angels)
Navy Blue Angels to fly over Chicago. (Photo courtesy of the US Navy Blue Angels)


Hopefully the full Chicago Air and Water show will return in 2022. But at least the show’s star, the  U. S. Navy’s Blue Angels, will brighten the city’s skyline midday Friday in a practice run and Saturday and Sunday as the scheduled show’s solo attraction.

Watch from the North Avenue Beach as  suggested by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Events.  The beach, ground zero in past years, typically isn’t as crowded for the Friday practice.

North Avenue Beach is at the beach at 1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.  Admission is free, however, the planes can also be seen between Oak Street and Fullerton Ave. A new show feature is audio accessibility.

The practice run is Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The  aerial demonstrations are Aug. 21 and 22 from noon to 1 p.m.

Or watch from the water. Several local cruises have scheduled the event. Among them is the new City Experiences’ City Cruises Chicago 


Jodie Jacobs

Five ideas on where to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air and Water Show comes Aug. 17-18. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)
Chicago Air and Water Show comes Aug. 17-18. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

If you hear thunder but the sky is blue, Aug. 16, it is likely the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are flying overhead on their way to practice above North Avenue Beach.

The Chicago Air and Water Show, now in its 61st year, will be above and on the popular beach from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17-18. By the way, the U. S. Air Force Thunderbirds headlined last year.

The event is free but given that it attracts about two million people those two days, it makes sense to go the day before when the headliners and acrobatic flights are practicing.

Tip: All the fly-bys are great but the top draw this year, the Blue Angels, come at the end of the show.

Taking public transportation  is best. Parking is also available in Millennium Park Garages where people can take a shuttle to North Avenue Beach.

But an alternate to going the day before or milling with the crowds during the show is to watch from somewhere between Ohio Street and Fullerton Avenue such as the places listed below where you can eat lunch or brunch during the show.

Continue reading “Five ideas on where to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show”

When and where to see the Air and Water Show

The US Air Force Thunderbirds are among the headliners of the 2018 Chicago Air and Water Show. (US Air Force Thunderbirds photo)
The US Air Force Thunderbirds are among the headliners of the 2018 Chicago Air and Water Show. (US Air Force Thunderbirds photo)

Look up! The best time to watch Chicago’s annual Air and Water Show is actually Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, when the North Beach crowds are low and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are high over the city’s waterfront.

If you live fairly close to the lake you will probably hear them overhead on Friday even if you are in the northern suburbs. Yes, the Thunderbirds are 2018’s headliners.

As for the weekend, even though the show goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday,  the headliners have tended to do their thing towards the end.

Finding a prime spot at North Beach, the festival’s loci, does mean coming early but how much sun is OK? The show can be seen from south of North Avenue at Oak Street and north to Fullerton Avenue.

Speaking of Fullerton, check with Theater on the Lake which is hosting a catered viewing party that includes an open bar. Theater on the Lake is at 2401 North Lake Shore Drive at Lake Michigan and Fullerton.

However, arguably the best spot if going to North Avenue beach is at The Shore Club if reservations aren’t already filled. The Shore club is at 1603 N Lakeshore Dr.

The Signature room, on the floor 95 in the Hancock Building is a choice spot but lunch reservations may be filled so check its lounge on the 96th floor or  consider going to the observation deck “360.” You will need tickets. For information visit 360.  The Hancock is at 875 N. Michigan Ave.

Down on the ground, The Patio at Café Brauer and the bridge behind it are good viewing points for some of the air action and the café is offering some deals on beer. Cafe Brauer is at 2021 N. Stockton Dr. in Lincoln Park.

For more information visit the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Jodie Jacobs


Chicago festivals fill out the summer

Taste of Chicago has been here and gone but there are lots more festivals to feed our culinary, cultural and musical cravings this summer. With a city as rich in ethnic neighborhoods and interest in music as Chicago you would expect an almost endless list. But here are a few of the festivals to enjoy before fall’s back-top-school and cooler temps change the social calendar.

Blue Angels return to Chicago in August for the city's Air and Water show. City of chicago photo.
Blue Angels return to Chicago in August for the city’s Air and Water Show. City of Chicago photo.



July 14 Ravenswood neighborhood

Think revolution. The French celebrate their rising up not July 4 but July 14 when the populace took over the hated Bastille prison in 1790. In Chicago, Bastille Day, also called French National Day is celebrated in French restaurants but also on the grounds of the French School translated as Lycée Français. Located at 1929 W. Wilson, the festival includes the game, pétanque to watch and learn, children’s activities,  music, a DJ, a waiters’ race with trays and a child appropriate film. Attendees bring their own food for a picnic. Wine and beer will be sold nearby because the public cannot bring alcoholic beverages on the school property. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. For other information visit Bastille Day.


July 14-16, West of River North

The popular Windy City Smokeout  is back with more beer, barbeque booths and bands. VIP tickets are sold out but individual tickets of $40 and $45 plus three-day $110 tickets are still available. The event is at 560 W. Grand Ave.nue a block west of the Chicago River. For more information visit Windy City Smokeout.


July 14-16, Near West neighborhood

Chicago’s famed Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park at Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue. The festival’s reasonable prices and predilection for featuring good bands draws about 50,000 music lovers from across the world. For hours and tickets visit Pitchfork.


July 21-23, River North

Taste of River North spreads across Kingsbury and Erie with music stages and food booths the fourth weekend of July. Hours are Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For other information visit Taste of River North.


July 22-23, Sheffield Neighborhood

Now in its 29th year, the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk has become a much anticipated summer event. Entered at Sheffield and Webster,the community festival asks for a $10 donation. Hours are noon to 10 p.m.. For other information visit Sheffield.


July 29-30, Wicker Park Neighborhood

Wicker Park Fest is all about neighborhood fun with music, food, crafts and children’s activities. For other information visit Wicker Park.



Aug 4-6, Jefferson Park neighborhood

Jeff Fest features is a music festival in the northwest Jefferson Park area of Chicago around 4822 N. Long Ave. For the band lineup and more information visit Jeff Fest.


Aug. 12-13, Boystown

The street-filling North Halsted Market Days returns to Lakeview with food, music and crafts centered at 3400 N. Halsted St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  For other information visit North Halsted.


Aug. 18-20, Taylor Street

Go to Festa Italiana to enjoy the culture. There will be traditional food, music, folk dances and games and, of course, meatballs. The festival is on Taylor Street from Ashland Avenue to Racine Street. Hours are Friday, 5  to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. For other information visit Starevents.


Aug. 19-20, North Avenue Beach

The Chicago Air and Water Show, a wonderful, free event that draws folks to North Avenue B each and anywhere along the near north shoreline, features the U.S. Navy Blue angels this year along with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and other heart-stopping aerobatics. For more information visit City of Chicago.


Aug. 31-Sept 3, Downtown Chicago

The Chicago Jazz Festival ends  the summer in Millenium Park  and at the Chicago Cultural Center. Headliners include Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom and Rebirth Brass Band. For line-up locations and times visit Chicago Jazz.