There are so many ways to celebrate Independence Day in Chicago. To some folks it means cooking out with friends or family. Others try to get an early spot along a curb to see a community parade. Very often the day concludes with “oohs and ahhs” offered up as fireworks light up the sky. Before many firework shows, there is usually live entertainment by bands playing patriotic melodies or popular, contemporary music. Take a look at some of the best 4th of July concerts happening around Chicago.

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Independence Day Salute
Grant Park Music Festival
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St. at Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-7647

Date: July 4,2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Millennium Park is always a fun place to walk and visit “The Bean” sculpture, but on July 4 it is also the place to rev up the American spirit with patriotic music in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The event is part of the Grant Park Music Festival. This year, the Music Festival’s annual Independence Day Salute will be performed by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and the National Youth Choir of Scotland under the direction of Grant Park Chorus Director Christopher Bell. Of course the program will start with the Star Spangled banner, move on to a march, Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs and several other stirring pieces. The evening extends to about 9 p.m. but don’t leave early if you want to hear excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and then march out to Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. The concert is free if you want to sit on the lawn. To snag a reserved seat in the Pavilion costs $25 and up.

American Independence Festival
Bowen Park
1800 N. Sheridan Road
Waukegan, IL 60037
(847) 782-3621

Date: July 3, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.

About 40 miles north of Chicago, the Waukegan Park District holds an annual band concert to celebrate American Independence. The Waukegan Band plays patriotic tunes to an appreciative audience of more than 3000 oldsters and youngsters on the lawn at Bowen Park. People usually  bring folding chairs to this event. The concert goes from 3 to 5 p.m. but families start descending on the park at 2:30. Parking is available on neighborhood streets across Sheridan Road from the park.

Glenview Fourth Of July Celebration
Gallery Park (behind Park Center)
2400 Chestnut Ave.
Glenview, IL ST 60026
(847) 724-5670

Date: July 4,2016 at 7 p.m.

If you want to relax in the north suburbs on the Fourth, then head over to Glenview’s Gallery Park on Chestnut Avenue at 7 p.m. That’s when the North Shore Concert Band will strike up marches, military music and other American songs. There will be food vendors if you haven’t brought your own noshes. You will hear more popular Fourth of July tunes if you stay for the fireworks that start about 9 p.m.

Related: Best Outdoor Music Venues In Chicago

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Aurora’s Fourth Of July Celebration
RiverEdge Park
360 N. Broadway Ave.
Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 896-6666 

Date: July 4, 2016 at 6:15 p.m.

At Aurora’s RiverEdge Park, about 40 miles west of Chicago, you get an evening of patriotic music and American standards while sitting along the Fox River. First, the Aurora American Legion Band will mix marches, American standards and contemporary music beginning at 6:15 p.m. They will be followed at 7:45 p.m. by the Fox Valley Orchestra doing classics and music from the movies. Fireworks start about 9:30 p.m. You can bring food or pick up something from vendors located in the park. No alcohol allowed.

Evanston Fourth Of July
Dawes Park
Sheridan Road at Church Street
Evanston, IL 60201
(847) 6375236 and (847) 448-4311

Date: July 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Bring a blanket or chairs to Evanston’s Dawes Park Lagoon July 4. The park is lovely, but come early because it fills quickly. The Palatine Concert Band that entertained folks last year is returning to play a mix of patriotic military and march music, plus popular songs. Fireworks over Lake Michigan follows at about 9:20 p.m. The event is part of day-long activities organized by the Evanston Fourth of July Association.

Related:  Best Fireworks In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on