Air and Water Show 2017

The Chicago Air and Water Show is unlike any other. The power and speed of American military planes is an impressive sight no matter where you catch a glimpse. The trail of intense sound they leave behind sends chills down your spine. The Air and Water Show in Chicago places these unique experiences against the stunning Chicago skyline and beachfront. A perfect summer day.

The Air and Water Show occurs every summer in mid-August at North Avenue Beach, just north of the Loop in downtown Chicago. The show occurs both Saturday and Sunday from 10:00a to 3:00p, with the same line-up on both days. Practice runs can be seen during the late morning to early afternoon on the Thursday and Friday prior. We had a great spot for it all.


The noise from the flybys on practice days is all the marketing this event needs. All Chicagoans are excited to run to their office windows from the rush of a plane blazing overhead to catch a sneak preview of the weekend’s main event. Acacia was home and able to run to our apartment balcony.

While North Avenue Beach is the center stage of the event, the show can be seen along the beach from Diversey Harbor down to Navy Pier. Residents often take to their rooftop decks and patios for great views with less crowds. This year, that’s what we did. We decided to catch the show from our 35th-floor rooftop deck.


With our building being just south of Navy Pier, we knew we’d be out of prime viewing range for the entire show, but willingly traded that for more cool views of the planes passing over the skyline and the chance for closer flybys. We lucked out. The Blue Angels flew right by us.

As with every year, the show included old-school military planes from the ‘50s and ‘60s, civilian performers, and a showstopper (the Blue Angels) to close the day. Here’s the full schedule  and list of performers for this year’s show.

In the photo to the left, you can see (from left-to-right) an A-10 Thunderbolt II (aka “the Warthog”), a P-51 Mustang, and an F-22 Raptor. The Blue Angels are always our favorite part of the show, and they did not fail to impress this year. They buzzed the tops of the buildings. They’re in the photo on the right.

Here’s a sampling of our shots from today.  I recommend having the Kenny Loggin’s Danger Zone playing to add to the experience. Additional images and videos can be found on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


Credits: Article and images by Acacia and Alan of Adventureontheside.

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