Chicago Air and Water Show: Where to watch, how to get there

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the most popular summer events put on by the city, so it's easy to see why some 2 million people will head to North Avenue Beach to get a front-row seat.

With so many people flocking to the lakefront, it can be challenging to get there and find a good spot to watch. Officials advised people to leave their cars at home.

"As with all major events in the city, we always recommend public transportation," said Rich Guidice, of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Both Metra and the CTA will offer extra service. If people must drive, park at the Millennium or Grant Park garages and take the free shuttle to North Avenue Beach. Divvy bikes are another option. They'll have free valet service at four locations near the show.

Want to avoid the crowd all together? Check out the 31st or 41st Street beaches. Great view, less crowd. Another great way to view the show is on the water, aboard one of the many boat rides people can take from Navy Pier. There's nothing like it.

"We're on the water anyhow. We're going fast and then out of nowhere you'll see the whole squadron of Blue Angels in formation flying right up behind you, 250 feet above your head. You'll feel like you're being escorted around," said Grant Simon, a Seadog captain.

The Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago and Mystic Blue also offer air show cruises.

Even if people are not lucky enough to have rooftop access, they can still get above the beachfront crowds. The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center is offering brunch all weekend and a VIP viewing party that includes an open bar.

"It's one of the best view, I think, from air and water perspective. You can see the pilots and see what's going on. You can enjoy yourself and don't have to be downstairs in the crowd," Signature Room Executive Chef Cardel Reid said.

How about an air show picnic? The Willis Tower Skydeck is pulling out the baskets for its 3rd annual picnic in the sky.

"Being 99 floors above, you are at eye level with the planes. It is something that's awe inspiring," SkyDeck Chicago General Manager Randy Stancik said.

There are plenty of options to help make the Chicago Air and Water show less stressful and a lot more fun.

ABC7 will feature many stories this week leading up to the Chicago Air and Water Show. For more information about watching the show, CLICK HERE.
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