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The Best Places To View The Air & Water Show

    A flyby from the 2015 Chicago Air & Water Show

    The 58th Air & Water Show takes place from 10am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday, with a full dress rehearsal Friday. The skies will be filled with military jet teams, parachuters and other aerialists entertaining a packed lakefront. In fact, the lakefront setting is one of the Air & Water Show's greatest assets. But there are other ways to view the festivities without getting sand everywhere.

    1. John Hancock Center

    The 360 Chicago Tilt at the John Hancock Center

    Where: 875 North Michigan Ave

    John Hancock Center general manager Nancy Capadona says Chicago's third-tallest building offers the best views of the show not found on the lakefront. Office tenants on the 13th through 41st floors, condo owners on floors 44 through 92, and visitors to the 360 Chicago observation deck (shown) and the Signature Room on the 95th floor have unobstructed views of the lakefront from the north and east. Your best bet for a bird's-eye view at this point is on the observation deck. The Signature Room's annual viewing party is sold out.

    2. Willis Tower Skydeck

    A view of Chicago, obscured by clouds, from Willis Tower's Skydeck.

    Where: 233 South Wacker Drive

    If the Hancock Center offers the up-close-and-personal view, Chicago's tallest skyscraper allows visitors to watch the action slowly unfold, 99 stories above street level, as the flybys roll into downtown from the north. Take a chance and view the show from one of the Skydeck's glass "Ledge" boxes.

    4. The J. Parker at the Hotel Lincoln

    The Rooftop at the J Parker, at the Hotel Lincoln, Chicago

    Where: 1816 North Clark St

    North Avenue Beach is the epicenter for the Air & Water Show's lakefront crowds. But it can get packed early. So why not enjoy watching the festivities at one of the most popular rooftop decks in town? The J. Parker offers unfettered views of the lakefront, and its food and cocktail menus are excellent, to boot!

    5. Londonhouse Chicago

    Where: 85 East Upper Wacker Drive

    Downtown's newest hotel rooftop gives guests three levels of access to view the flybys all weekend. And even if the planes dip behind a cloud, Londonhouse's views of the downtown skyline are some of the most breathtaking in town.

    5. Draper & Kramer Offices

    A view of Chicago's lakefront from Draper & Kramer's new offices at 55 E Monroe.

    Where: 55 East Monroe St

    Draper & Kramer moved into its new 39th floor offices here, just in time to get little done during Friday's rehearsal because employees will be focused on the action over Monroe Harbor. Director of operations Jay Howell says the offices were designed so all 170 employees have views from the north, east and west from an employee lounge area dubbed the Club Room. Workers also have terrific vantage points for the show from the east and south, via employee workspaces and lounges.