Family-Friendly Fourth of July Ideas & Tips

Family-Friendly Fourth of July Ideas & Tips

Starting July 1 and running through Independence Day, there are a variety of fun things you and your children can do in the Chicago area to celebrate America’s birthday.

See the fireworks!
What’s Independence Day without sitting on a picnic blanket and watching the fireworks at dusk with family and friends? Chicago has a multitude of places to get comfy and take in the annual light show, including the historic tradition hosted at Navy Pier.

Relive the history.
The 59th annual Chicago History Museum Fourth of July Celebration is a shindig sure to put a smile on your child’s face. Join the festivities for a chance to take in a reading of the Declaration of Independence, live patriotic music and a variety of historical exhibits.

Enjoy a parade!
Pitch your folding chairs in the shade, bring the lemonade, and watch as the trombones, drums and clowns march by at one of the many parades around the city. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!

Cue the orchestra.
For an evening of American classical favorites, visit Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park for a performance of the Grant Park Orchestra. (If you’re concerned about the evening running too late for little ones, but still want to enjoy the orchestra, check out the public rehearsal scheduled for July 3rd at 11 a.m.)

Before Heading Out
To make the day extra fun, be sure you plan ahead (particularly if you’ll be adventuring with children). A little bit of preparation now will help you and your family stay cool and comfortable throughout the Independence Day celebrations.

  • Stay hydrated. Plan to bring plenty of water or other drinks to keep you and your family hydrated. (Tip: Put bottles of water or iced tea in the freezer the evening before the Fourth. Your drinks will be nice and icy by the time you pack your cooler, and they’ll stay cold longer.)
  • Pack snacks. BBB Accredited, Aldi, has 4th of July inspired recipes the whole family will love, whether you’re hosting a gathering at home before the fireworks or looking for snacks to pack in your picnic basket before embarking on a daylong adventure.
  • Protect your skin. That means having plenty of sunscreen and hats on hand for you and your family.
  • Banish bugs. Sadly, the crash and flash of fireworks doesn’t scare away mosquitoes! Keep everyone itch-free by bringing along bug spray.
  • Think plan B. Bring an umbrella and an extra layer of clothing in case weather changes quickly or temps drop after sunset. You can find most of seasonal essentials for your Fourth of July excursion, like folding chairs and sunscreen, at one of the many BBB Accredited, Chicago-area Walgreens locations.
  • Keep belongings safe. With the fun of the Fourth come a lot of crowds, and unfortunately potential thieves. Keep essentials at home or locked in your car’s trunk or glove box if you’re attending a parade or festival. Keep your driver’s license, cash and credit cards in a front pocket or in another safe spot close to your person.
  • Do your homework. Check out businesses and services at before plotting out your Independence Day activities. Chicago area Better Business Bureau has free resources you can use to find family-friendly activities, events, restaurants and more to make this July 4th your favorite Fourth to date!

Visit for more information about great Chicago-area businesses you can trust to help make your Fourth of July festivities a success. Check out profiles of BBB Accredited businesses, including helpful consumer ratings and reviews, or learn about current scams to watch out for in your community.