Happy birthday to the Stars and Stripes! It’s the weekend before the 4th, so in between the fireworks and Yankee Doodle-ing, check out these can’t-miss events. You’ll have finger-lickin’ fun at a rib-focused fest, watch hot air balloons take flight in Lisle, indulge in a patriotic BBQ in Millennium Park, courtesy of South Dakota’s Tourism, and more. Get out there and celebrate!

photo: Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies



Chicago Fire Home Game
Pretend the US made it into the World Cup and root for your hometown soccer team by taking in a Fire home game. But, first, pregame at FireFest with an inflatable soccer field, soccer pool (billiards in soccer format), a speedshot competition and street soccer games. Sat. Event details.

Hyde Park

The Science Behind Pixar at MSI
We all have a favorite Pixar movie. Whether it be Toy Story, Inside Out or A Bug’s Life, Museum of Science and Industry is giving you an in-depth, immersive look at the Pixar process of creating these instantly classic films. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Mag Mile

Sunday Funday at 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
Sure, sleeping ’til noon on a Sunday is swell, but what’s even better is 360 CHICAGO’s Sunday Funday. Infuse a little excitement into your life by taking the family to the 94th floor for a little magic, a little music and a whole lot of amazing Chicago views. Sun. Event details.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park Family Fun Fest
Millennium Park’s Family Fun Festival is back with a summer of interactive activities, sing-a-longs, delightful story times, and arts and crafts. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Patriotic BBQ
For just one day, it doesn’t require a road trip to Mount Rushmore to salute George, Tom, Teddy and Abe. South Dakota’s Tourism is hauling a 22-foot tall model of Mount Rushmore and dropping it in Millennium Park for a day-long celebration and barbecue for the first 1,000 people to arrive. Sat. Event details.

Navy Pier

Last Chance to Celebrate Equality at Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Children’s Museum is getting in on the Pride celebration by inviting families to help transform the central staircase into a giant rainbow with colorful ribbons and to write your ideas about family on a huge chalkboard. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier
Keep the kids up a tad later to experience the fireworks display synchronized to music at Navy Pier. Sat. Event details.


Windy City Ribfest
Get the wet naps ready! This fest is the messiest kind of fun with the areas top rib cookers. Kids will have fun playing in the family zone and exercising their right to vote for best ribs. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Cubs Kids Sunday
It’s always a beautiful day for a Cubs game, especially if it’s a Sunday afternoon home game. The Cubs celebrate their youngest fans with giveaways and a chance to run the bases post-game. Sun. Event details.



Fireworks, Racing and Music
If your kids are horse-crazy, then head to Arlington Park Racecourse for face painting, live music performances, crafts and roaming entertainment. The night will close with fireworks just after dusk. Sun. Event details.


Troll Takeover at Morton Arboretum
Something special is emerging from the vast open spaces at the Arboretum . . . Trolls with an environmental message, each made of reclaimed wood and measuring 15- to 20-feet-tall. Take a stroll and see if you can seek them hiding in the trees. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Eyes to the Skies Carnival & Festival
Here’s your chance to see a hot air balloon up close, or even ride in one! You’ll also be treated to a carnival with a special kids area, skydiving shows and fireworks that end the festivities every night. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

— Maria Chambers

Pride Month Fun for Families
Amazing Summer Camps that Still Have Space
Fourth of July Events that Sparkle and Shine

. . . and check out our Events calendar for even more suggestions.