The Chicago Air and Water Show

Fireworks at the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan

The Navy Pier has it all, from rides to restaurants, exhibitions to entertainment, shopping to dining cruises and tour boats. The Pier also features fireworks displays that light up the nights with color and sound all summer long.

When: Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 10:15 p.m. until Labor Day

Where: Navy Pier at Lake Michigan, 600 E. Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Cost: Free

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Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival, showcasing the diversity of Chicago's restaurant culture. The delicious array of food served is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago's beautiful Grant Park on the city's magnificent lakefront has been home to the world's largest food festival. 

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When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (the festival closes at 7 p.m. on July 3); June 24 to July 3, 2011 (subject to change)

Where:  Grant Park, Michigan Ave. & Congress Dr., Chicago IL 60604 

Cost: Admission and events are free, but guests pay for food and drink.

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Chicago Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world, running over three days and on five stages. More than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World." Past performers included Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.

When: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; June 10-12, 2011

Where: Grant Park, Jackson Blvd. & Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60604

Cost: Free

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Chicago Cultural Center

Drawn by its beauty and the fabulous free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicago. The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes and hosts free music, dance and theater, films, lectures, art exhibitions and family events.

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When: Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Where: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60602

Cost: Free

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The Chicago Air and Water Show

The Chicago Air and Water Show is the largest free show of its kind in the United States. The show can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Aug. 20-21, 2011

Where: Lakefront, North Avenue Beach, Chicago, IL 60614

Cost: Free

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