Seven Luxurious Places to Watch the Chicago Air and Water Show

The Chicago Air & Water Show is the largest free show of its kind in the USA. Check out this complete guide to find everything you need to know, including how to get there, where to stay, and where to watch. #Chicago #AirandWaterShow #Midwest #Free
Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 8:38am

If you're going to watch the 2019 Chicago Air and Water Show you don't have to fight the crowds for blanket space. Instead, make plans to elevate your experience with a buffet on the beach, a picnic in the sky, or a rooftop away from the fray.

Below, seven luxurious places to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show. 

Check out our ultimate guide to the Chicago Air & Water Show!

360 Chicago

360 Chicago

Get unobstructed views of the Chicago Air & Water Show 1,000 feet up. When looking out and up gets to be too much, you can look down for a bit with TILT. The attraction is a viewing platform that literally tilts away from the building, allowing you to see what’s 1,000 feet below.  

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Tilt at 360 Chicago

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Photo courtesy Caffe Oliva

Caffé Oliva

Located on Ohio Street Beach, this seasonal café offers an open bar and an all-you-can-eat package, including a “Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae” buffet. If you’ve got a group of friends, you can get a cabana for 10, 15, or 25 people. 550 E Grand Ave,, 312-612-0734

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Patio at Shore Club Chicago on North Avenue Beach

Photo courtesy Shore Club

Shore Club

North Avenue Beach's newest place for dining and cocktailing is hosting a beachside viewing party. The signature Shore Club Brunch will be included from 9 AM to 2 PM, as well as a premium open bar.

A pre-show event will also be held on Friday, August 17th. VIP cabanas are available in The Oasis at Shore Club as an upgrade to the General Admission tickets. Tickets can be purchased at

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Theater on the Lake

Photo courtesy Theater on the Lake

Theater on the Lake

The lakefront at the Fullerton promontory added an additional 5.8 acres in 2015, and now Theater on the Lake has been renovated with a restaurant featuring Chef Cleetus Friedman. Theater on The Lake will host a viewing party with some of the best, unobstructed views of the action on the lakefront. 

Fullerton Ave and Lake Michigan


Chicago Skyline from Skydeck

Skydeck Chicago

While further away from the action, the tallest observatory in the city gives you the long view. This means that you’ll be able to see a lot of the performers as they fly in from distant airports.

For an exclusive experience that's normally not open to the public, you can watch the show from The Metropolitan. This members-only club on the 67th floor of Willis Tower will have food, drink, and "skip the line" VIP access to Skydeck. 233 S Wacker Dr (877) SKYDECK

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Oak Street Beach Food + Drink

Photo courtesy Oak Street Beach Food + Drink

Oak Street Beach Food + Drink

You’ll feel like you’ve taken a tropical getaway at this oasis. They often offer an ala carte menu and charge for the seats, but the fee will go towards your food and drink for the day. 1001 N Lake Shore Dr,

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TLTip: Alcohol is not allowed on Chicago beaches unless you’re in a designated area.


Chicago Air & Water Show, photo courtesy Odyssey Cruises

Photo courtesy Odyssey Cruises

Odyssey Cruises

For an upscale cruising experience consider Odyssey Cruises. The luxury vessel has a sophisticated rooftop lounge and an elegant interior. In between soaring planes, you can enjoy a three-course buffet. Learn more

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For more details on the 2019 Chicago Air & Water Show check out our FREE guide! It's the ultimate resource for the largest free event of its kind, with tips on where to watch, how to get there, and more. 

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About Theresa Goodrich

Theresa  Goodrich is the founder and publisher of The Local Tourist and author of the "Two Lane Gems" book series, uplifting and slightly humorous tales of American road trips.

875 N Michigan Ave
94th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Perched 94 stories above the Windy City, the 360 Chicago provides commanding views of Lake Michigan and Chicago’s towering skyscrapers, including Willis Tower.
550 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 612-0734
Be sure to join us on Ohio Street Beach with magnificent views of the lake and Chicago's skyline.
Caffe Oliva
505 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
Elegant Dining At The Top Of Lake Point Tower offers an unprecedented dining experience 70 stories above ground.
Cite Restaurant Chicago
1814 N Clark St
13th Floor, Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 254-4747
1000 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
This summer, soak in the sun and waves while enjoying delicious food and cocktails at Chicago’s best beachfront bar, Oak Street Beach.
1603 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611
(708) 613-7132
Shore Club offers an unparalleled hospitality experience on Chicago’s famous North Avenue Beach.
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Located on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, the Skydeck offers spectacular sweeping views and is full of interactive exhibits.
Skydeck Chicago

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