Like the Taste of Chicago, the Blues Festival or just a day at the beach, summer in the city cannot be called complete without the annual Chicago Air and Water Show. This year’s 53rd edition (August 20-21) will once again feature dozens of roaring civilian and military aircraft, some amazing waterborne stunts and hundreds of thousands of sun-baked spectators up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline. Take in the aerial action from one of these interesting vantage points:
From the Beach: While many aviation buffs will scrape and claw for a nice patch of beach for the day, those looking for a secured front-row seat and a good meal can find both at the conveniently situated Castaways Bar & Grill (1603 N. Lake Shore Drive; 773/281-1200) or the Oak Street Beach Food + Drink (1001 N. Lake Shore Drive; 312/988-4650). For the busy Air & Water Show weekend, these beachside cafés are featuring special menus and reserved table packages – call for details and reservations.
From Above: As odd as it may seem to look down on an air show, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing for at least part of the time at the John Hancock Observatory (875 N. Michigan; 312/751-3680). Not only will you beat the heat and the crowds, you may even get a chance to go eye-to-eye with one of these daredevil pilots from your 94th story perch.
From the Sea: Another way to beat the big beach crowds is to hit the water instead for a great view aboard some of the city’s best sightseeing boats. Check out the morning and afternoon buffet cruise options available on the Odyssey (866/305-2469), Spirit of Chicago (866/273-2469) or Mystic BlueNavy Pier (600 E. Grand). (877/299-7783) – all departing from