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Last-Minute Ideas for the Unfortunate Wednesday Fourth of July

The holiday falls on the bummerest of days this year, but there’s still time for a micro-weekend.

Fun—but not so much that you can’t work tomorrow.   PHOTO: ZBIGNIEW BZDAK/CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Much to chagrin of, well, pretty much everybody, the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year. Of course, a swath of Chicago will use this as a sterling excuse to turn it all the way up on a weekday. To that end, here are some last-minute ways to toast Independence Day—Thursday fog be damned.

Booze Cruises

Yacht Party Chicago’s DJ’ed luxury booze cruises start at $50, and depart on both Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. Take note: The 4 p.m. ride on the Fourth wraps up well before Navy Pier’s fireworks start, but it disembarks at DuSable Harbor, a prime viewing spot.

If you want to be on the water during the fireworks-proper, Spirit Cruises’ dinner excursion puts patrons directly beneath the Navy Pier show. Included in the $150 ticket: a dinner buffet and various drinking games (think giant Jenga and shuffleboard on the deck).

For a private cruise, the Chicago Electric Boat Company rents out pontoons (who knew?) for $205 an hour. The boats are BYOB and seat ten. All you need is the playlist.

Cruise, sans booze

For the health-conscious, Chicago’s kayak rental companies offer a more DIY boating experience. Kayak Chicago, Urban Kayaks, and Wateriders all offer guided kayak tours with stunning lake-level views.

For a traditional Independence Day 

The Navy Pier fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. They’re visible from pretty much every beach and downtown rooftop, but they aren’t the only show around. The Village of Itasca puts on a particularly impressive display starting at 9:45 in the Hamilton Lakes Office Park. Meanwhile, Skokie sets off a “3D” fireworks display—fireworks obscured by red and blue tinted glasses—at dusk at Niles West High School; turn up early to collect your specs.

Partake in America’s pastime

The Cubs host the Tigers for a pair of day games on Tuesday and Wednesday. (And we’d be remiss not to mention that Tuesday’s promo gift is a Cubs-themed Hawaiian shirt.)

If you want barbecue, Naperville RibFest kicks off on the Fourth, sporting an impressive marquee of headliners and meats galore. The big guns, however, don’t arrive until later in the week: Pitbull performs Thursday night, while Steven Tyler closes out the fest on Sunday.

For a kid-friendly Fourth

The Chicago History Museum’s 59th annual soiree boasts all the trappings of an educational Independence Day, including a kiddie costume parade led by an Uncle Sam on stilts and a live reading of the Declaration of Independence.

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