Navy Pier will host the largest fireworks celebrations in the area at 9:30 p.m. At about 5 p.m., the parking garages were filled and the pier reached capacity, prohibiting new visitors from entering.
PHOTOS: JULY 4, 2016 CELEBRATIONS
In scenic Riverside, there was a 5K in the morning, but suburban Prospect Heights, Homewood, Highland and Skokie all held traditional parades.
In Chicago, the History Museum held its popular annual celebration which featured a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
On the south side of Chicago, Hyde Park's "Fourth of 53rd" parade marked its 25th anniversary on Monday. Anyone could jump into this parade and march along as it traveled down 53rd Street to Nichols Park where the celebrations continued with a picnic.
But of course, the lakefront is where the largest crowds were found. On Montrose Beach, the grills were fired up early, for big family affairs, that have become a yearly tradition.
"Every year on Fourth of July we come really early because as you can see it gets really packed," Leonor Jimenez, said.
And while it wasn't quite beach weather, many enjoyed the chilly lake water.
For those looking for something a little different to do, on the city's Near West Side, the International Festival of Life brought together the best of Caribbean, Latin American and African culture.
"It's fun to get in touch with my heritage. I see so much that looks so familiar and I love. I wish I had more money to spend," Vicky McGee said.
VIDEO: RECORD TRAVEL EXPECTED DURING JULY 4 WEEKEND
At Navy Pier, over 150,00 people were expected to visit throughout the day - even before the fireworks started.
The city's only lakefront show takes place Monday night and increased security presence could be felt with checkpoints set up at every entrance.
"It's a good idea. Nowadays everybody is worried with what is going on at the airports, TSA checks, so I don't mind it," Rosario Cassata said.
This year's Highland Park parade started with a salute to World War II veterans. Veterans led the parade along Central Avenue and were met with cheers and a standing ovation.
VIDEO: HIGHLAND PARK PARADE
It was a perfect way to help celebrate the nation's Independence Day. A day, for many, to celebrate with family.
The parade wass just the beginning, festivities are being planned all day for the whole family, something that many look forward to.
In north suburban Skokie, ABC7's Karen Jordan and her husband Christian Farr were grand marshals at the parade. They brought their daughter, Vivian. The event paid tribute to veterans and featured marching bands and other attractions.