Note: The Taste of Chicago fireworks have been canceled for 2010. This info remains for archive purposes if/when it returns.
The biggest fireworks show of the year takes place on July 3 in Grant Park as part of Taste of Chicago. Why July 3rd instead of the 4th? Supposedly it's because most people have the 4th off, so it attracts more people on the 3rd to spend money on food and beer at Taste of Chicago.
The display features over 5,000 aerial devices and shells, along with a live music soundtrack at the Petrillo Music Shell. Over a million people attend these fireworks, so if you have an aversion to crowds you might want to consider booking a hotel room that faces Grant Park, instead, and watch them from your window.
Note: Venetian Night has been canceled for 2010. This information remains for archive purposes if/when it returns.
The second most popular fireworks display in Chicago is Venetian Night, which takes place every summer towards the end of July. Hundreds of thousands of people line up along Lake Michigan to take in the lighted boat parade along with the fireworks. Bring along a radio (or an MP3 player with an FM tuner) along with headphones and tune in to local radio station WXRT (93.1 FM) who provides a soundtrack for the event.