CHICAGO (CBS) — The 2019 Chicago Air and Water Show returns to North Avenue Beach on August 17. Here’s what you need to know.

The 61st annual Air and Water Show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 17 and 18. Admission is free to the 2 million audience members that attend each year.

READ MORE: Girl, 17, Among 2 Shot In Back Of The Yards

The Thunderbirds fly in formation at the Air and Water Show. (Credit; City Of Chicago)


The headlining performers are the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, an elite group of Navy pilots famous for their diamond formation and precision flying and the U.S. Army Parachute Team the Golden Knights, known for their precision parachute demonstrations.

The Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, will be honored as special guests. The team has “defended the skies of Britain.”

The show will also feature six Military aircraft demonstrations as well as civilian performances including Bill Stein Aerosports and Susan Dacy in the Super Stearman.

Viewing Locations:

According to the City of Chicago website, the best viewing locations for the event are North Avenue Beach, the lakefront from Oak Street Beach to Fullerton, and the Ohio Street Beach. Check out alternative places to view the events without the crowds. 


Parking is available at the Millennium Park garage where there is a free shuttle to and from North Avenue Beach.

Public Transit:

READ MORE: Police Investigate Loop Carjacking

Metra is adding extra trains for suburban fans.

For CTA service, the Red Line stops at Chicago Avenue. The #22 Clark, #72 North and #151 Sheridan routes operate close to all the activities. Check CTA’s website for updates.

Facts About The Show

According to the City of Chicago:

  • The majority of planes flying in the show take off and land at the Gary Jet Center in Gary, Indiana.
  • Some of the military planes fly in from bases around the mid-west. They time their flight to fly over the show at an exact moment.
  • 14 federal, state and city agencies work together to put the show on safely each year.
  • All pilots perform stunts over the water in a set safety area. When a plane does fly over buildings, it is merely doing so in its flight path to return to the show area or the airport.
  • On average, 2 million people view the show annually.
  • At 61, the Chicago Air and Water Show is longest running free show of its kind in the United States

Places To Watch (Other Than North Avenue Beach):

Offshore Rooftop & Bar Air and Water Show Viewing Party:

Theater on the Lake Viewing Party:

Odyssey Air & Water Show Cruises

Spirit of Chicago Cruises:

Seadog Cruises:

MORE NEWS: Chicago Police Restrict Time Off For Officers; Unclear If Order Is Related To Battle Between City Hall, FOP Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Cité Air & Water Show Buffet Brunch: