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Exploring The 2011 Air & Water Show

Chicago Air & Water Show
North Ave. Beach
Free Admission

While most people's idea of exercise for the Air & Water Show is tilting their head up to watch the planes go by, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors at the same time. If you want to get more out of the show than a day sitting on a picnic blanket, we've got plenty of opportunities to see the sights of the lakefront (while accompanied by some high-flying background noise).

Air & Water Show


As anyone who's seen Top Gun knows, nothing goes together like fighter planes and volleyball. Luckily for those gathered at the show, North Ave. beach offers prime seating for the show as well as dozens of volleyball courts. As long as the crowds don't completely fill the area, there should be some courts remaining for you and your friends to decide who gets to be Maverick or Ice Man.

Air & Water Show

Millennium Park

While the crowds will be centered at North Ave., there's still plenty to see at Millennium Park. The bend at Navy Pier means you won't have a great view, but look at it this way – if you're done with a long hot day of watching planes fly by, a quick dip in the Crown Fountain should make for a great cool-down. Or if you're looking for a little culture to end your day, head over to the Pritzker Pavilion to hear the Grant Park Orchestra and Grant Park Chorus perform Verdi's famous Requiem Mass – a great musical equivalent to the sonic booms and zooms of the stunt planes.

Chicago Area Beaches Found To Have High Contamination Levels
(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Biking Blues

The crowds at North Ave. beach mean that you're not getting through that area on two wheels anytime soon. But if you're up for a ride, why not bike the remaining portion north or south? To the south, you can pass by the fairgrounds of the famous Chicago World's Fair, including the lagoon, the Midway, Museum of Science and Industry. To the north, there are plenty of beaches to pass through most of which should have a decent view of the show. Bonus: It's one of the few days you can get away with making whooshing noises as you speed by things on your bike.

Dan Morgridge is a writer in Chicago's Ukranian Village.
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