Few names in the music festival business are as well know as Lollapalooza. Lollapalooza is Chicago’s biggest music festival with nearly 100,000 attendees per day. One of the great parts about Lollapalooza is it takes place in thecenter of the city of Chicago – no buses out to the boonies for this festival. With Lollapalooza being in a major city you have a lot of options for finding your way to the festival grounds. From bicycles to overpriced taxi cabs, this article is your guide for getting from your Chicago accommodation to Lollapalooza.
First, lets discuss where the hell you need to go. Lollapalooza is held every year in Grant Park, which is located at 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601. This is about a mile to the geographic city center, but is really in the heart of the city. If you've never been to Chicago before this is like having a music festival in Central Park in New York City - it's a fantastic location that will be easy to get to for everyone. Lollapalooza is held near Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. The main entrance is located on Michigan Avenue with another entrance into Lollapalooza located on Monroe Avenue.
You can, but there is no official parking available at the festival so you will need to find somewhere to park. The traffic is going to be terrible as well, so if you can avoid this option I highly suggest that you do so. There are a lot of parking garages nearby, so if you do plan to be stubborn and go this route you have options for parking. There are parking garages at Soldier Field, Millennium Park and of course Grant Park, all of which will be close to Lollapalooza. They will fill up as the Lollapalooza crowd gets in, so go early if possible. They will also have elevated event rates, so be prepared for $20+ per day parking.
Bikeapalooza is definitely possible. Of all the music festivals we track on eventTRK, Lollapalooza has the most hotels within 5 miles of the festival. We currently have over 200 hotels within 5 miles of Lollapalooza, which I consider fair biking distance. If you want to bike to Lollapalooza you will save money on parking, avoid traffic and get some exercise before you consume all that greasy festival food and beer. There is bicycle parking available at Michigan and Balbo Avenue. Just make sure you bring a lock as they are not provided at the festival. You don't want to leave Lollapalooza to find your bike has been stolen so be sure to be careful when locking it up. From personal experience it's also good to take a screenshot on Google Maps of where you parked your bike just in case you are severely intoxicated later in the day and can't find it. If you are comfortable with biking in a city I would not hesitate to rent bikes and go to Lolla this way - it offers great freedom to come and go as you please and is inexpensive.
No bike or bike lock? No problem! Chicago now has a bike share program called Divvy Bikes that has locations throughout the city. It will cost you just $9.95 a day, and you can lock it up at any of the stations without a bike lock, so it is very convenient for out of towners. There are dozens of stations within walking distance to Lollapalooza so this is a nice option for getting to the festival.
If you haven’t been to Chicago before they have excellent public transportation that services the entire city, making this is the option most people utilize when attending Lollapalooza. In addition to covering the entire city, the Chicago Transit Authority runs trains more frequently during Lollapalooza. Specifically, the CTA says they will run the Blue, Red, Brown and Orange lines more frequently, and for later hours.
The map above shows the different train lines that are part of the CTA. As you can see the system is expansive - regardless of where you are staying in Chicago you will be able to find a hotel near one of the train lines. As I mentioned the brown, orange, red and blue lines will all run longer hours and run more frequently for Lollapalooza. Any of these lines will work for both getting to and leaving Lollapalooza. Essentially you want to take any train to the inner loop in the center of the city as this is near Grant Park and Lollapalooza. The best stops on the CTA for Lollapalooza will be the Adams/Wabash or Madison/Wabash stops. These will drop you off within walking distance of the festival. The CTA is also reasonably priced at $2.25 a ride, so this option is definitely cheaper than paying for parking or even renting a bike. This is most likely your best option for getting to and from Lollapalooza, especially if you aren't staying in the immediate area. Just know that this is a popular option so expect a line to get on the train at the end of the night and for the trains to be packed.
Insider Tip: Chicago public transportation now has mobile ticketing so you can purchase your train or bus pass for Lollapalooza on your phone. It's called the Ventra app and will cover the CTA and Pace buses. This is convenient as it can also give you directions if you are not confident about your ability to navigate the train. Another bonus is the fact that you won't need to wait in any lines to purchase passes - give it a shot!
Taking the bus is also an option for getting to Lollapalooza. The CTA offers several buses that will drop you off right by Lollapalooza. The #3, #4, #6, #J14, #130 and #146 all stop right by Lollapalooza and can be used to get to the festival. All the bus information can be found here. If there is a bus pickup near you it's a solid option.
This is definitely possible given the great location of Lollapalooza. If you are staying directly downtown there is a good chance you can just walk to the festival. When booking accommodations you should consider if it’s worth it to just pay the extra money to be within walking distance for the added convenience. It will save you money on trains or parking, and you can avoid being crammed into a bus or train. I personally always try to book within walking distance and pay the extra costs - the added convenience of just walking is well worth it in my opinion.
Just be prepared for those massive surcharges. This could be a good option if you have someone who hasn’t used Uber (I hear those people still exist) and they can use a promo code for a free ride. Besides that I’d avoid Ubers if you are trying to save some money. Your typical $15 Uber will be closer or north of $50 during Lollapalooza. If you do insist on ride share I would suggest walking a few blocks away from Lollapalooza at the end of the night as a lot of people will also be trying to get a car at the Lolla exits. If you walk to another area it will be easier to get one and find your driver.
Lollapalooza is in a great location and you have a plethora of options for getting there, unlike a lot of festivals. The only methods I really don’t recommend involve cars. Go green and either walk, bike or use public transportation. Chicago has one of the best public transportation systems in the country, so even if you are far from Lolla you should be able to get there easily. If you're closer to Lollapalooza (in Downtown or Magnificent Mile) then walking or biking are my preferred method. If not go with a train or possibly the bus. Regardless of where in Chicago you are you will be able to find a way to Lolla!