Chicago Fourth of July 2011:
Chicago celebrates Independence Day with fireworks over Lake Michigan, outdoor symphony concerts, all-American food at the Taste of Chicago, and family-friendly activities at Chicago's beaches. This year, the Fourth of July falls on Monday, July 4, making for a three-day weekend. Here's your guide to celebrating the Fourth of July 2011 in Chicago.
Chicago Fourth of July 2011 - Fireworks:
For the second year in a row, the City of Chicago is not holding its traditional fireworks display in Grant Park. Instead the Chicago Park District, which is now in charge of Fourth of July fireworks in Chicago, is encouraging people to attend the Navy Pier fireworks shows on July 2 and 4 at 9 p.m. Fireworks at Navy Pier are not just reserved for the Fourth of July. They occur every Saturday and Wednesday through Sept. 3. Navy Pier's fireworks schedule for 2011. Can't get downtown for the fireworks? Several Chicagoland suburbs will be holding their own fireworks displays.
Chicago Fourth of July 2011 - Music:
Enjoy patriotic music at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Sunday, July 3, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. when the Grant Park Symphony plays such American classics as the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. Can't make it on July 3? No problem. The Grant Park Orchestra will be doing a rehearsal on Wednesday, June 29, from 3 - 5:30 p.m. If you want to hear music on July 4, unfortunately no patriotic themes will be played but you can enjoy what the City of Chicago calls the "circus punk marching band" Mucca Pazza at Millennium Park at 6:30 p.m. on July 4, as part of Chicago's Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays series.
Chicago Fourth of July 2011 - Free Museums:
On July 2 and 3, Bank of America customers get free access to several Chicago art and cultural venues, including the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago History Museum, and more. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented at the venue upon entry. Find out which venues are free to Bank of America customers Fourth of July weekend in Chicago.
Chicago Fourth of July 2011 - Baseball:
Do something really all-American and go to a baseball game. Better yet: Go to one of Chicago's most popular games, the Chicago Cubs vs. the White Sox on Sunday, July 3, at 1;20 p.m. at Wrigley Field. While tickets are reported to be sold out for the game, you can get tickets through various scalpers, including Stub Hub owned by the Cubs.
Chicago Fourth of July - Taste of Chicago:
Considered the biggest event of the year in Chicago, the Taste of Chicago is also said to be the world's largest outdoor food festival with hundreds of local food vendors and nearly 3 million visitors. Live entertainment and music are also part of the fun. The Taste of Chicago started in 1980 and will be celebrating its 21st year. The Taste of Chicago 2011 goes through July 3. Hours each day are 11:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. On July 3, the festival closes at 6 p.m.at Let the food tasting begin! Your guide to the Taste of Chicago 2011.
Chicago Fourth of July 2011 - Hog Dogs:
Enjoy one of Chicago's culinary masterpieces that is most popular during the summer: the Chicago hot dog. Check out About.com Guide Preston Carlson's list of personal favorite places to sample a Chicago hot dog.
Bonus - Star Spangled Cupcakes for Your BBQ:
How about red, white, and blue-themed cupcakes for your Fourth of July BBQ? The Crumb Bake Shop is selling the Star Spangled cupcake - a red velvet cake topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting and red, white, and blue sprinkles and a star cookie dipped in blue fondant.
Bonus - Summerfest in Milwaukee:
Considered one of Chicago's "sister cities" it is not surprising people sometimes mistake Milwaukee for Chicago. The cities are similar in appearance with a dedicated lakefront area along Lake Michigan, a downtown with tall buildings, and an award-winning dining scene. And like Chicago's Taste of Chicago, Milwaukee has its own summertime tradition, which happens to be the world's largest outdoor music festival: Summerfest. Summerfest 2011 takes place June 29 – July 3, 2011 and July 5 – 10, 2011, from noon until midnight. Summerfest will be closed Monday, July 4.