We started Independence Day early with Tortilla Espanola and Pancakes a la Naw before heading out to the beach. Parking was nearly impossible until we got way north--past Loyola. We lucked out with free residential parking and claimed a spot on the sand. As rough as it was finding parking, the beach itself was fairly quiet. Families grilled on the grassy areas and napped closer to the water.
Because we are who we are, we packed plenty of picnic snacks. Still, we went home in the late afternoon to start grilling dinner: burgers, corn on the cob, onions and peppers, and salad. Bailey left to watch fireworks from a rooftop apartment and Jesus and I took the young ones downtown to watch from the lake front. We saw Buckingham Fountain, then settled in for the show.
Chicago sets off fireworks all summer from Navy Pier (twice each week). There's something calming about watching them from a distance--you just have to sit back and enjoy. And that we did.