9 Most Awesome 4th of July Hangouts

Family Bridges

9 Most Awesome 4th of July Hangouts

Contributed by
Frederick Ford Beckley

The 4th of July is almost here, and you know what that means. Fireworks. #boom

However, thanks to the Pyrotechnic Use Act, it’s illegal to sell, have, or use fireworks in the state of Illinois. So unless you’re really into sparklers, you have to look elsewhere to get your #boom on this Independence Day. #thanksPUA

But don’t worry, I got you. Here are the 10 most awesome 4th of July hangouts, ranked in order of awesomeness.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve never actually been to any of these places. Visit at your own risk. Mentioning my name will get you no discount or benefit of any kind.

Six Flags Great America
What: Ride rollercoasters and splash around at the waterpark before the evening fireworks show.
Where:
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL
When:
July 2- July 4, 10:30 – 10:00
9:30AM – Early admission, with a can of coke
9:45PM – Fireworks
Admission: $72.99 each at the park/$52.99 each online.
Pro-tip: bring a can of coke (empty or full) to save $15 on park admission ($57.99 each) or save $22 when you tickets online at least one day in advance using promo code “Coke” ($32.99 each).
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side: You only get 15 minutes of fireworks before the park closes. Other than that, it’s just another day at Six Flags.
Awesome Level:
1 Firework

Rockin’ In the Park Concert & Fireworks
What: Enjoy a concert by Eagles’ tribute band Heartache Tonight before a grand fireworks display.
Where:
MB Financial Park
5501 Park Place, Rosemont, IL
When: July 4, 7-10PM
Admission: FREE – Parking is free with validation from any of the park’s venues.
Family Friendly:
Not particularly, unless your kids love the smooth sounds of The Eagles.
Down Side: Outside food and coolers are prohibited.
Awesome Level:
2 Fireworks

Taste of Oak Brook
What: Taste food from the finest restaurants of  Oak Brook, check out live music, and enjoy an array of children’s activities – from face painting to a petting zoo to good old fashioned stilt walkers. Food, beverage, and activities require tickets, available all day long for $1 each.
Where: Oak Brook Polo Field
1200 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook, IL
When:
July 3
4PM – Activities
9PM – Fireworks
Admission: FREE (parking is $10)
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side: The parking lot fills quickly, so spots will be difficult to find after 7PM. Also, it’s on the 3rd, not the 4th. But then again, that leaves your 4th free for other activities.
Awesome Level:
3 Fireworks

Navy Pier
What: Ride the 150-foot Ferris wheel, take a cruise out on Lake Michigan, and take in the grand firework display sponsored by the Illinois Lottery. (So that’s where all my lottery ticket money goes, huh?)
Where:
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL
When: July 4 – 9:30PM
Admission: FREE
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side: Paid parking can get pricey – $15-$30.
Awesome Level:
3 & ¾ Fireworks

Mount Prospect Lions Club Festival
What: Grab some pancakes, then enjoy a carnival! $25 gets you 4 hours of unlimited rides. Raffles and musical entertainment run throughout the day, before evening fireworks.
Where: Melas Park – 1326 W. Central Road, Mount Prospect, IL
When:
July 4
Pancake Breakfast – 7-11AM
Festival – 1-11PM
Fireworks – 9:30-10PM
Admission: $25
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side: Pancake breakfasts and carnival rides aren’t exactly “best friends”.
Awesome Level:
4 Fireworks

Tinley Park Fourth of July
What: Start the day by running the Stars and Stripes 5K race, then enjoy food, live music, bingo, batting cages, miniature golf, inflatables, face painting, a horseshoe tournament, and free watermelon!
Where: McCarthy Park – 16801 W 80th Ave, Tinley Park, IL
When:
July 4
8-9:30AM: 5K
11AM-8:30PM: Bating Cages & Miniature Golf
4-9:30PM: Activities/Opening Ceremony
9:15-9:30PM: Grand Finale Fireworks Extravaganza!
Admission: FREE
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side:
Awesome Level:
4 & ½ Fireworks

Skokie’s 3D Fireworks Festival

What: Yes, that’s right. 3D FIREWORKS.
The first 10,000 patrons receive a free pair of 3D glasses.
A parade kicks the festivities off earlier in the afternoon, and the event is concluded with a concert, children’s games, and face painting.
Where:
Parade – Oakton Street, east from Downtown to Oakton Park
Fireworks and Festival – Niles West High School – 5701 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL
When:
July 4
12PM – Parade
5PM – Fireworks and Festival
6:30PM – Concert
Admission: FREE
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side: None. Unless you’re the 10,001st person there. :(

Awesome Level: 4 & ¾ Fireworks

Naval Station Great Lakes Fourth of July
What: Get your annual does of “fire-crackin’ festival fun” with live bands, carnival rides, games, kids activities, the award-winning Kids Zone, an indoor rock wall, bingo, paintball, and roving costumed characters. “Spectacular fireworks will be CHOREOGRAPHED TO MUSIC … and visitors are promised a ‘must-see’ fireworks extravaganza.”
Where: Ross Field; Great Lakes Naval Base – Sheridan Road, Great Lakes, IL
When:
July 3 & 4, 3-10PM
9:30PM – Fireworks
Admission: FREE
Family Friendly:
Yes
Down Side: No pets.

Awesome Level: 5 Fireworks
Any Local Rooftop
What: We all have that friend with a rooftop. Or maybe you’re the friend. If so, head on upstairs for a 360-degree exhibition of Chicago’s finest fireworks.
Where:
I don’t know. I’m not psychic.
When:
July 4, dusk, around 9PM
Admission: Depends on your friend.
Family Friendly:
See above.
Down Side: Your friend might ask you to help them move to return the favor.
Awesome Level:
You tell me.

Happy Fourth of July!

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