Forget the televised Independence Day extravaganzas, from Navy Pier to
Comiskey The Cell, Chicago has several prime places to catch the real deal when it comes to fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Although smaller neighborhood displays like those at Winnemac Park and Promontory Point are no more, the city's best display remains the annual showcase at Navy Pier (Chicago magazine has a handy guide to alternative viewing spots for the show).
For all the 2013 Independence Day fireworks action, we've rounded up some of the best spots around the Windy City and the Chicagoland area, some of which kick off on July 3:
Story continues below
<strong>July 4 </strong> Patriotic music and 15 minutes of fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m. with the best views at the Dock Stage near 600 E. Grand Ave. Note: This is among the most popular fireworks events nationwide, so expect crowds, crowds, crowds. <a href="http://www.odysseycruises.com/Chicago/july-4th" target="_blank">Lake Michigan cruises</a> departing from Navy Pier are also available for the 4th (and other evenings with fireworks displays) and range from roughly $50 - $120.
Clark Street Beach In Evanston
<strong>July 4 </strong> Live music starting at 7:30 p.m. precedes the 9:15 p.m. fireworks display on Clark St. Beach at 1811 Sheridan Rd.
Taste Of Lombard
<strong>July 4</strong> The Taste of Lombard, which runs July 2-6, will have <a href="https://www.facebook.com/LombardJayceesTasteofLombard" target="_blank">fireworks for it's Thursday festivities starting around 9:30 p.m.</a> TOL will run extended 4th of July hours from noon to 11 p.m. Admission is $3 for everyone age 10 and older and free for 9 and younger. No pets allowed.
Naperville Rib Fest
<strong>July 4</strong> Naperville's Ribfest will host its annual fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. with the park open for free at 7:30 p.m. at Knoch Park on S West St. <a href="http://www.ribfest.net/event-info/directions-to-ribfest" target="_blank">(See shuttle and parking information.)</a> Get there early to hear Jim Cornelison — the awesome Blackhawks home-game singer — belt out the National Anthem shortly before 4:30 p.m.
Arlington Heights Racetrack
<strong>July 4</strong> <a href="http://www.arlingtonpark.com/calendar/day/2013-07-04" target="_blank">Promising "the best fireworks show you will ever see,"</a> The Arlington Park race track will follow a day of racing and music with a "spectacular" fireworks display. Gates to the event open at 1 p.m., $15 admission for adults, $2 for children.
Sears Centre Arena Fireworks In Hoffman Estates
<strong>July 4</strong> Hoffman Estates will launch a fireworks show beginning at 9:30 p.m. at Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway.
Kane County Cougars Fireworks Show
<strong>July 4</strong> In suburban Geneva, the Kane County Cougars minor league baseball team will have a postgame fireworks after their 6:30 p.m. game at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, 34W002 Cherry Lane.
Evergreen Park Fireworks
<strong>July 3</strong> Pre-Independence Day fireworks start at dusk (around 9 p.m.) in Evergreen Park on the near South suburbs. <a href="http://www.evergreenpark-ill.com/" target="_blank">The action will launch from Duffy Park,</a> 9101 S. Ridgeway.
Park Ridge Patriotic Salute
<strong>July 3</strong> <a href="http://www.prfas.org/event-calendar/" target="_blank">The sky will light up at Maine East High School</a> at 2601 W. Dempster St. in Park Ridge at dusk.
White Sox Independence Day Celebration
<strong>July 3</strong> The White Sox will have extended post-game fireworks on the third, but no actual fireworks on Independence Day (game begins at 7:10 p.m.) For Wednesday's game versus the Baltimore Orioles, <a href="http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/ticketing/groups/gsg/gsg.jsp?loc=usa" target="_blank">the team is offering specially priced tickets</a> to all past and present members of the military, law enforcement, and fire protection, their families, supporters, and friends.
As fireworks are illegal in the city limits, the Chicago Police has an obligatory fireworks safety guide and "no fireworks" reminder. Anyone caught with illegal fireworks in Chicago faces a fine of $200 to $500 or felony charges.
Those with rooftop access and a box of matches: consider yourself warned.
Check out additional Fourth of July safety tips below:
Did you nab a great photo or video of fireworks? Send them in to us at email@example.com.
Also on HuffPost:
Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday. If you don't want to brave the tourists, grab a spot anywhere along the lakefront near the Pier and you'll still get a decent view. Curbed <a href="http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2012/07/03/fireworks-map.php" target="_hplink">has some more picks for where you can get a good look</a> at the show. <br> <em>Photo by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hinnosaar/6367501365/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
Clark Street Beach, Evanston
<a href="http://www.evanston4th.org/fireworks/" target="_hplink">Twilight concert begins at 7:15</a>, fireworks at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free. Tune your radio to 90.5 FM to listen to the music amid the booms. <br> <em>Photo by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hinnosaar/3688682657/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
U.S. Cellular Field
The White Sox will be having a fireworks display following their 6:10 p.m. game against he Texas Rangers. <br> <em>Photo by xmatt <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hine/1155782322/sizes/o/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
Arlington Heights Racetrack
<a href="http://www.arlingtonpark.com/calendar/day/2012-07-04" target="_hplink">Thirty-plus minutes of fireworks</a> begin at dusk, on the heels of a family-friendly celebration. The first 10,000 people to arrive get free 3D fireworks glasses. Admission will set you back $12. <br> <em>Photo by Herkie <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dherholz/3697115430/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
<a href="http://www.ribfest.net/" target="_hplink">Ribfest</a> is capped off by a 30-minute show well-known for its awesomeness. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. at Knoch Park. Free after 7:30 p.m. <br> <em>Photo by Mrs. Gemstone <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gemstone/4762821202/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
Loggins In Lake Forest
Kenny Loggins headlines Lake Forest's annual fireworks show this year at Deerpath Community Park. <a href="http://www.chicagoevents.com/event.cfm?eid=132" target="_hplink">Fireworks begin at 9:35 p.m.</a>, gates open at 5 p.m. Admission costs $10 for Lake Forest or Lake Bluff residents, $15 for everyone else 5 and older. <br> <em>Photo by barbostick <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/barbostick/2635752382/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
A number of Chicago-area fireworks shows have been canceled this year, due to lingering damage from last weekend's storm and drought conditions. These include displays in Wheaton, Wauconda, Carol Stream and more. CBS Chicago has <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/07/03/fireworks-shows-canceled-and-postponed/" target="_hplink">details on more cancellations</a>. <br> <em>Photo by barbostick <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/barbostick/2634954075/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
Of course, you can always keep the show closer to home. <em>RedEye</em> has a handy guide to <a href="http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2012-07-02/news/32511466_1_illegal-fireworks-public-fireworks-displays-firework-devices" target="_hplink">what fireworks are legal to use in the state of Illinois</a> and where it's legal to use them. <br> <em>Photo by Nimesh M <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nimeshm/2995294917/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_hplink">via Flickr</a>.</em>
Extinguishing and Cleaning Up Fireworks
In this video you will get some tips on how to extinguish fireworks and how to clean up fireworks' litter.