Chicago Air & Water Show Parking and Transportation Tips
“Free”. It’s the second-greatest four-letter word in the English language (next to “Beer”). While Chicago is a wonderful city, we all know that it can be a bit rough on the wallet. Fortunately, there are a number of summer events in Chicago that can be attended free of charge, and our absolute favorite is the Chicago Air & Water Show, which takes place at North Ave Beach on August 18th and 19th. With around two million attendees every year, this show is the largest free air and water show in the country, and makes a terrific family event. This year’s show will feature representatives from the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as a number of stunt pilots. With all these amazing performances available free of charge, you’d be crazy not to check it out! Of course, we know that paying $50 to park your car defeats the purpose of going to a free event, so make use of our handy transportation and parking guide to the show!
Tips for traveling to the Chicago Air & Water Show
· Do yourself a favor and leave your car at home. With millions of people descending on the beach and limited parking spaces available, you’ll be glad you did. There are a wealth of public transit options, including the 22, 36, 151, or 156 buses. You can also take the EL to Sedgwick (on the Brown Line), and walk over to North Ave Beach.
· If you must drive, pre-reserve Chicago Air & Water Show parking! While there is some parking available on the day of the show, including the Lincoln Park Zoo/North Ave Beach parking lot just off Fullerton and the Millennium Park Garage (which offers a free shuttle to the beach), these options are quite pricey and there’s no guarantee they will have availability. Reserve parking ahead of time, save some cash, and take the stress out of your commute.
· Get some fresh air! Summer is winding to a close and, come December, as you stare into the throes of another long, miserable Chicago winter, you’re going to wish you spent more time outside while you had the chance. So why not make your own way to the festivities? Walk or jog along Lakeshore Drive to get to the beach. Rent a bike or a Segway and make the trip. Be creative! Mother Earth will thank you.
· Taxis aren’t a bad option, depending on where you’re coming from, though keep in mind that they may be hard pressed to drop you too close to the action. Also, things are a lot harder on the back end, so you might want to use a car reservation service like Uber to ensure that you’re not sitting around until the sun goes down.
· Remember, you don’t need to be at North Ave Beach to enjoy the show! Great vantage points also exist at Navy Pier, Oak Street Beach, and Belmont Harbor. These can be great options if you’d rather avoid the huge crowds, and they can be much easier to commute to as well.
Resources for getting to the Chicago Air & Water Show
Pre-reserve your parking so you don’t need to stress about finding a place to put your car.
Make sure you’re up to date on bus/EL schedules.
A handy guide to parking options for the show.
Check out ExploreChicago’s guide to planning your visit to the show.
Another useful blog post with details about the show.
About.com’s comprehensive guide to the show, including some transportation info.