Tired of your run-of-the-mill Fourth of July plans?
Year after year you wake up early for the parade, hit the BBQ at Uncle Joe’s, and settle in for the local firework show. This year, beat the crowds and shake things up with any of these fresh, fun ways to spend the Fourth.
Chicago Beer N’ Pizza Tours
What better way to celebrate than with a beer and pizza tour around Chicago? Stops on the tour include Half Acre Beer Company, Atlas Beer Company, Revolution Brewing, and Goose Island Brewing. At each stop, you’ll be served a pint of their most recently released beer, and at the second stop you’ll be chowing down on Chicago-style pizza with a fresh garden salad. 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, $80, 5-8 p.m.
Deerfield Family Days
Start off your Fourth of July right with a Pancake breakfast or 10K race. There’s never a dull moment at Deerfield Family Days, and it’s a great festival for kids of all ages. Events include an arts and crafts sale, rides, petting zoo, pony rides, concessions, a flower show, a concert band, and to end the day, free swimming at the Deerspring and Mitchell Pools. Brickyards Park, Fountain View Drive, Deerfield; free admission
Wilmette’s Fun Run and Walk
Get your heart rate going at Gillson Park this year on the Fourth. Adults are welcome to join the 4-mile run and 2-mile walk at 8 a.m., followed by the kid’s events in five different age ranges: 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 5 and under, which begins at 9:15 a.m. Upper Drive, Wilmette; Adult registration fee: $20, children over age 6: $10
Looking for another race? Check out Lincolnshire’s Red White & Boom! There will be a 5K followed by a bike race, parade, old-fashioned pie-eating contest and more! Spring Lake Park, 49 Oxford Dr., Lincolnshire, 847-236-0305
Whip out your picnic basket and lawn blanket for a festive night filled with treats, drinks and live music. There are still tickets available to catch this awesome lineup with Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls. 418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park, 847-266-5100; tickets available for $38-125
Lincoln Park Zoo
Spend the day outdoors with with free admission to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Check out the 1,200 animals housed on the 35 acres of land, and take a stroll through one of the many gardens. Grab lunch at the Park Place Café, and soak up the beautiful day. On your way out, make sure to wish their newest resident, a 2-year-old African lion, Sahar, a happy Fourth of July! Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, (312)-742-2000
Chicago White Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
What better way to spend the Fourth than watching America’s pastime? Support the Chicago White Sox as they take on the Baltimore Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field. Treat yourself to a Chicago-style hot dog, and enjoy an afternoon of family fun. Worried about missing fireworks? Not to worry, after every homerun fireworks shoot out of The Cell to celebrate! U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W. 35th St., Chicago, (312)-674-1000
Blue Man Group
Tired of the same old fireworks display? Change it up with the Blue Man Group’s bright and innovative display of color and music that will leave you in tears from laughing. Their famously witty show is a perfect way to end your Independence Day. Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N Halsted St., Chicago, (773)-348-4000