Planes flying at the Air and Water Show
Photo: Emily Johnson

The air

Willis Tower hosts a cloud-level Picnic in the Sky on Saturday ($100 to $150), putting you eye to eye with the Blue Angels as you enjoy a catered lunch. If you don’t want to fork out that kind of dough, a trip to the observation deck at the building formerly known as the John Hancock Center ($11.50 for adult city residents) puts you even closer to the action.

The (not quite) ground

Among Chicago’s rooftop bars, Cindy’s, right above Millennium Park, has a great sightline of the festivities. So does the J. Parker, which offers reservable tables ($150 per person).

The water

Chicago SUP rents standup paddleboards ($33 per hour, $250 for a 10-hour pass) at North Avenue Beach. If a balancing-act afternoon is not your speed, Chicago Electric Boat Company has BYOB pontoons ($205 per hour).