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Best Memorial Day Events For The Family In Chicago

by Melanie Falina

Although originally intended as a 'Decoration Day' to commemorate the men and women who perished during their military service for the United States, Memorial Day has since taken many forms in how it's celebrated. The holiday is also considered the official start of the summer season, and many spend the day picnicking and doing other fun, outdoorsy activities. Fortunately for us, Chicago is just brimming with things to do on this special day.


Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest
N. Sheffield Ave. from Belmont to Roscoe
Chicago, IL. 60657

Date: May 28-29, 2016 from Noon to 10:00 P.M. daily

If you're looking for a lively outdoor event to celebrate Memorial Day weekend this year, then round up the family and head on over to the Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest. Celebrating its 32nd year in 2016, this fest kicks off Chicago's vast and exciting outdoor festival season and the beginning of summer all in one weekend. The Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest offers a full range of activities including all kinds of food, arts and crafts, and some of the best music bands and performers that the city has to offer. Admission into the fest asks for a donation that will benefit the Central Lakeview Merchants Association, a group of businesses that work together to improve the community.

Chicago Memorial Day Parade
State St. from Lake St. to Van Buren
State St. & Lake St.
Chicago, IL. 60602

Date: May 28, 2016 at 11 A.M. for Wreath Laying Ceremony; 12 Noon for the Memorial Day Parade

Children of all ages alike - everyone loves a parade, and on May 28 the Chicago Memorial Day Parade will honor all the men and women who have died in defense of our nation. It all takes place in downtown Chicago, with a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza, then the parade begins at noon, proceeding south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren. One of the largest Memorial Day parades in the entire country, the Chicago Memorial Day parade has been celebrated since 1870. Come stand with about 10,000 other Chicagoans to honor those who have given their lives to protect us and our way of life.

Navy Pier
(Photo Credit: Navy Pier's Facebook)

Navy Pier Fireworks
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60611
(312) 595-7437

Date: May 28, 2016 at 10:15 P.M. and all Saturdays at 10:15 P.M. and Wednesdays at 9:30 P.M. - Memorial Day through Labor Day

Watching the sensational fireworks show from Chicago's Navy Pier has become one of 'the' things to experience in the city for Chicago natives and visitors alike. The Navy Pier Fireworks season kicks off on Memorial Day weekend, offering a synchronized  show every Saturday and Wednesday. Come out for a full day and evening at the Pier, grab a dinner at one of the many trendy restaurants on hand, maybe even enjoy a cruise, and then be sure to stay for the fabulous fireworks. Bring the entire family, and don't forget your camera! The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel Grand Opening will also be taking place on May 27th, so be sure to give it a whirl too.

Related: Best Indoor Pools In Chicago

Bike The Drive
Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 427-3325

Date: May 29, 2016 at 5:30 A.M.

During the Bike The Drive event, you can actually watch the beautiful sunrise over the famous Chicago skyline while riding a bicycle! Just once a year, participants can bike Lake Shore Drive completely sans automobiles, and do so to support a good cause. The event benefits the Active Transportation Alliance, a non-profit organization that works to make bicycling, walking, and public transit safe, fun, and convenient. Now in its 15th year, Bike The Drive is open to adults and kids alike, and registration is open now. There are even bike rentals available if you don't own your own!

Chicago Sports
Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Wrigley Field
1060 W Addison St.
Chicago, IL. 60613

Date: May 30, 2016: Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers at 4:05 P.M.

Chicago is a sports town - there's no doubt about it. So maybe after the parades and picnics earlier in the day on Memorial Day, the perfect way to top it off can be with a good old fashioned Chicago sporting event. The Chicago Cubs will be taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the legendary Wrigley Field if your family is in the mood for some baseball.

Related: Best Music Classes For Kids In Chicago

Soon after earning her BA in journalism, Melanie Falina began writing about one of the loves of her life - music. Since then, she's covered some of the biggest names in music, in addition to writing on an array of other topics as well. She has written for Black Belt magazine, KISS: The Official Authorized Quarterly Magazine, Examiner,, Yahoo Voices, and more, and was editor for Don Lemmon's KNOW HOW Book Three, Refuse To Fail. Melanie is also a poet with six published collections of poetry available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various establishments.
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