Thousands descend on the shores of Chicago during the annual Air and Water Show. But if you plan your seating arrangements ahead of time, the best views can be yours as the show zooms through the city August 16 and 17.
You might not find a view like this—but we've found the next best vantage points.
The Signature Room
Take in the stunts at eye level from the 360-degree views at The Signature Room. You’ll find crafted cocktails, a gourmet buffet, and luxurious private dining rooms on the 95th floor of the Hancock during the Room's Air and Water weekend special. Plus, you'll be just steps away from Oak Street beach, so you can get double the perspective. 875 N. Michigan Ave., 312-787-9596
Situated right on the sand where the waterfront trail jets out into the lake, Caffe Oliva promises a killer view of the planes overhead. For an exclusive setting, grab five friends and reserve a private cabana; you’ll have access to a buffet of salads, sliders, and wings as well as an open bar. Ohio Street Beach, 312-612-0734
J. Parker's rooftop will fill up fast.
Arrive early to snag one of the 140 outdoor lounge seats at J. Parker and witness the Blue Angels speeding overhead from Hotel Lincoln’s rooftop bar. While you’re up there, you’ll also get jaw-dropping views of the city skyline looking south and Lincoln Park looking toward the water. Should hunger strike, you’ll be in good hands with one of Chef Paul Virant’s small plates, including the memorable crab beignets. 1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4747
Cité Elegant Dining at the Top of Lake Point Tower
Even the panorama feature on your iPhone can’t do this view justice. From 70 floors up, you’ll catch the Golden Knights as they fly along the shoreline and beyond—your view up here extends into two other states. To celebrate the Air and Water Show weekend, Cité is offering an experience complete with a seafood bar, carving station, traditional breakfast favorites, and did we mention the views? 505 N. Lake Shore Dr., 312-644-4050
North Avenue Beach
Bring your own front-row seats to North Avenue Beach, the hub of all of the action. If you’re not one for large groups, head north to find a slightly more secluded lakeshore spot, like Diversey Harbor. Though the show technically starts at 10 a.m., arrive early to secure your place in the sand.