by Carly Boers - 48 Reviews - 11 List
July 4th, summer's quintessential party, is upon us. Find out where in Chicago to get all-American eats, see the most ?ooh?- and ?aah?-inspiring fireworks and what high-profile festivals are right in our backyard. Yes, July 4th makes us proud to be Chicagoans (and Americans, of course). From barbecue to baseball, we've got your guide to a fun-filled holiday weekend.
Updated: June 28, 2010
Taste of Chicago--Saturday, July 3, 10am-6pm; Sunday, July 4, 10am-6pm. Sure it's hot, sticky and jam-packed, but how many opportunities do you get to chow down on Eli's Cheesecake and Harold's Fried Chicken (by the way, we hear there'll be grub from 11 new restaurants this year, including Pegasus Restaurant and Tavern) while taking in gratis performances by big-name musical acts? Headliners on the Petrillo Music Shell main stage include Steve Miller Band on Saturday at 3pm and Carney, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Passion Pit on Sunday at 12pm.
Grant Park Music Festival--Saturday, July 3, 1:30pm. Slather on the SPF, fill your picnic basket and set up camp at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion for the Grant Park Orchestra's family-friendly afternoon performance of all of your flag-waving Americana faves. This year, the Trinity Irish Dancers performs with the orchestra, adding a wee bit o? Irish, not to mention fancy footwork, to the celebration.
Fourth of July Fireworks--Sunday, July 4, 9pm. Expect big changes in the Chicago's pyrotechnic presentation this year. Instead of shooting off one gigantic display in Grant Park on July 3, the city will put on a triple-play of smaller, coordinated blasts on July 4: one show at Navy Pier, another along the South lakefront and a third at a North lakefront location.
Fireworks Dinner Cruise--Sunday, July 4, 7:30pm; $139.90 per person. What could possibly top the view of the fireworks along the Chicago lakefront? Only the view of the fireworks from the deck of a cruise ship, with the Chicago skyline twinkling in the background. Throw in a buffet dinner, dancing to live music, a DJ and three hours of open bar, and we wager that by the end of the night you'll be buzzing with patriotic spirit.
Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds--Thursday, July 1, 1:20pm; Friday, July 2, 1:20pm; Saturday, July 3, 12:05pm; Sunday, July 4, 1:20pm. The field will be filled with red, white and blue jerseys when the Cincinnati Reds roll into town for an interdivision showdown with the Cubbies. The series of four afternoon games, played at the Friendly Confines Thursday through Sunday, promises fireworks of its own. If you don't want to fork over the cash to get inside, Wrigleyville bars will provide plenty of parties outside the park.
For those who've yet to experience the 84-year-old Chicago tradition that is the rainbow cone, now's your chance to try the simple, yet addictive stack of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts) and pistachio ice cream, crowned with orange sherbet, all balanced on a crisp cone. No matter your destination, the creamy amalgamation of flavors is worth parading to the Southside.
Summer means fabulous fresh berry pies, but for the Fourth of July? Classic apple, all the way. Follow your nose to this sweet Southside standby's adjoining bakery for Gracie's apple pie. With its thick, buttery crust and tart chunks of fruit, it's begging to be taken home for your backyard cookout. We like it best served warm with an oozing dollop of vanilla ice cream.
If you don't have time to grill out (or if your barbecue skills are sub-par), this BYOB smoke shack in Old Irving Park has you covered with an array of carnivorous delights, from 15-hour smoked ribs to Texas hot links to applewood-smoked pulled-pork, and lip-smacking good sides like creamy mac 'n' cheese and vinegary coleslaw. Word to the wise: Save room for the incredible peach cobbler.
The namesake Italian beef is the main attraction at this unassuming, mostly takeout Taylor Street joint. The nutmeg-scented shredded beef with jus-sopped French bread was born here in 1928, and although it's been duplicated, local residents, UIC students and clued-in tourists know it's still unparalleled.