Why the Chicago Air and Water show 2012 is going to be awesome

The Chicago Air and Water Show 2012 and the best places to watch the Chicago Air and Water show 2012, August 18, 19 2012

Chicago air and water showNow that it’s starting to warm up, its time to start gearing up with some summer posts on Chicago Rants. First, we’ll start with the basics, the Chicago Air and Water show 2012. It’s one of the highlights of the Chicago summer, only topped by being behind the throttle of the jetplanes that fly between the buildings and cruise down the north side hitting up every Chicago beach before spiraling into the air and dropping a handful of parachuters on North Avenue Beach (One year, Vince Vaughn parachuted down). No matter what celebrity parachutes down, its always a good time. Especially if the Blue Angels are there.

First off, one of the most awesome parts of the Chicago Air and Water Show are the practice days. It isn’t really advertised, and remains one of Chicago’s best kept secrets. On the Thursday before the show, you might see a F-14 soaring around town. Or if you go down by the lakefront a day or two prior to the show, you’ll see fighter jets soaring close enough to the beaches that you can hit them with a stone. It’s awesome.

In most cities across the United States, people have to trek out to a remote field and set up camp to watch it, but in Chicago for the most part, you can see it out your bedroom window. Which brings me to my next point…

The best places to watch the Chicago Air and Water Show 2012

Blue Angels airplaneTechnically, the best place to see the Chicago Air and Water show would be North Avenue Beach. It’s pretty much the main spot to watch it from. But it’s always PACKED! Move a little further South and you’d be at Oak Street Beach, a little less crowded but more limited, in that the John Hancock building is right there the planes tend to stay away, but an awesome view nonetheless. If you get there early enough you can set up camp between the two beaches on “the wall” or “the rocks” that bridge the stretch of the two beaches, but given the capacity, you can’t go swimming or jump off the wall as usual. But if you’re lucky enough, you can nab a spot at the John Hancock Observatory to view the show.

Really, the best place to watch it is on a boat. Last year, I was out on the water just south of Montrose Harbor, and that seemed to be the hotspot. Not too many boaters, with just enough flybys.



  1. It really is an awesome air show!

  2. Thomas Watters says:

    Thanks for the insight. I havent been there in years.

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