Where to Dine During the Air & Water Show

In case the thunderous calamity of jets don't give it away, this weekend marks the annual Air and Water Show over the city and along its shores. Taking place August 15 and 16, coupled with preceding days of "practice runs," it's pretty impossible to avoid the show no matter where you are. But if you really want to do it right and drink it in proper than you need a proper al fresco setting. Because nothing says "summer in Chicago" like patios and fighter planes. Here's where to dine and drink with a view this weekend: 


The Signature Room
The Signature Room. Not a bad place to watch the show.

The Signature Room: Get high at The Signature Room. And by that I mean ascend 95 stories in the air to marvel at the air and water display from one of the ultimate vistas in the city. The restaurant is hosting a special Chicago Air & Water Show viewing party from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. This high-flying fete includes picture-perfect seating, a gourmet buffet, and a bar stocked with cocktails. Tickets cost $150 per person and can be purchased by calling the restaurant. 

THE dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar: Another chic view point with impeccable views is THE dec Rooftop Lounge + Bar at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago. The skyscraping Streeterville bar is comfortable, sexy, and delicious, with delicious views of the show to match. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better setting with food and cocktails as pristine as this spot, which  makes the nautical and aviation show in front of you that much more enjoyable. 

Cindy’s: One of the summer's hottest openings is undoubtedly one of the hottest rooftop tickets in town. Perched atop the 13th floor rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, Cindy's offers breathtaking views of the weekend display along with its usual breathtaking panorama of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. To round out the vista, DJ Hopkins will be on-site spinning tunes on August 15 and 16 from noon until 3:00 p.m. There will also be a massive art installation on the terrace designed by artist Andrea Jablonski, who crafted a piece inspired by a plane. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 

Castaways: What Castaways lacks in height, it more than makes up for in front-row seating. Located smack dab on the sands of North Avenue beach, amidst the nexus of the festivities, Castaways is prime seating all weekend long. In special celebration of the events, Castaways is offering $120 tickets for a special practice day event on Friday, August 14, which includes a breakfast and lunch buffet and an open bar from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the show. On August 16, Castaways is at it again with $175 tickets for the same spread, available 9:00 a.m. until show's end. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Colleen Quinlan at cquinlan@stefanigroup.com. 

The J. Parker: For a bit of a different view, head to Lincoln Park's Hotel Lincoln and ride the elevator up to the J. Parker. Here, on the 13th floor of the boutique hotel, you'll revel in awe-inspiring views of Lincoln Park proper, the downtown skyline, and of course the shores of Lake Michigan. It's a beautifully apt spot to marvel at the Air & Water Show all weekend long. The rooftop bar will also be holding a few select tables on a first-come, first-serve basis for hotel guests. Locals can make table reservations by calling the bar ahead of time.

- Matt Kirouac