I find with Lollapalooza, and honestly with most music festivals, people are overly concerned with the price of tickets. Of course the tickets are expensive – last year Lollapalooza expanded to a massive four day festival and upped its tickets to match this expanded lineup. The truth is though, that the tickets to the music festivals are really only part of the costs, and not the majority of the costs at that. The purpose of this article is to go through the actual cost of Lollapalooza – not just the obvious ticket prices, but hotel, travel, getting to Lollapalooza, food, etc. If you live in the Chicago area or have a couch to crash on for Lollapalooza you can obviously ignore the estimated hotel prices. Of course these costs are going to vary person to person, but our goal is to give a realistic look at how much Lollapalooza is going to cost you.
Let’s assume you are getting general admission passes for Lollapalooza. If you buy these at face value they are going to run you $335.
Obviously there is going to be a lot of variety in this so I am going to give you a range of hotel prices. The closer you stay to Grant Park in Chicago, where Lollapalooza is held, the more you are going to have to pay. If you stay further away it is perfectly fine, you just want to be near public transportation so you can take that right to Lollapalooza and not have to deal with driving. The graph below shows how much on average you are going to pay for Lollapalooza hotels based on how close to Lollapalooza your hotel is. The prices are shown as of today and could vary as you get closer to the festival.
As you can see from the graph above, the average hotel within walking distance to Lollapalooza is around $300 a night and within 5 miles is around $280 a night. With these options you can either walk, bike, or take a quick train ride to Grant Park. Given Lollapalooza runs now Thursday to Sunday, these hotel rooms will run you $1000-$1200 for the four days, or $500-600 if you split it.
Of course, these are just average prices and you can definitely find a cheaper hotel than the average prices. For example, the Freehand Chicago is $184 a night, has good reviews, and is just under a mile from Lollapalooza. So let’s be conservative and say you are a bargain shopper and you find a decent deal within walking distance to Lollapalooza so your total hotel costs are $800 for the weekend, or $400 a person. This is our first scenario for someone wanting to stay right by Lollapalooza.
Another option for Lollapalooza is to stay far away, save a lot of money, and take public transportation to Lollapalooza everyday. Currently the Red Roof Inn at O’Hare airport is only $54 a night, so for the entire Lollapalooza weekend it would run you roughly $250, or $125 a person assuming you can split the costs. This may seem far away from Lollapalooza, and it is, but you are right by the Blue Line train which you can take all the way into Chicago for a few bucks. It will take you about an hour and fifteen minutes to get in and out of Chicago everyday for Lollapalooza, which is the main disadvantage with this strategy. So if you are looking to save some money during Lollapalooza this is the other end of the cost spectrum.
Ultimately the hotel is the cost with the most variation from person to person. If you want to be really close to Lollapalooza in downtown Chicago you are going to pay for it. If you want to save money, Chicago has excellent public transportation which you can take advantage of on your Lollapalooza trip. Of course there is everything in between these options, but I thought it be most useful to show the two ends of the cost spectrum.
Obviously this also depends on how much you want to wine and dine, but we can estimate this at $100 a day. This gives you enough money to grab some grub at the festival and snag some beers. This will make the costs of sustenance for your Lollapalooza stay to be $400.
One of the things that really differentiates Lollapalooza from other music festivals is that it’s in a great location with a lot of public transportation that gets to it. You can take the bus or you can take the train, and all of them are inexpensive. Of course you can rent a car for Lollapalooza, but this really isn’t necessary. Take advantage of the public transportation and save some money. This will add up to $40 for your Lollapalooza stay.
Obviously this is going to be a big part of your Lollapalooza expenses, but I obviously can’t estimate this without knowing where you are from. If you live in the Chicago area, or within driving distance, this isn’t an issue for you. If you are travelling in for Lollapalooza this is going to be costly. I would just say the earlier you book it, the better chances you will have for a good deal. Hipmunk is my personal favorite website for finding cheap airfare, so check that out for your Lollapalooza airfare and hopefully you can find a good deal.
If you are flying into Midway you are likely to take the CTA train or take a cab to your Lollapalooza accommodations. If you stay downtown the train will run you $2.25 to downtown or a cab will run you about $20. The train ride is about 25 minutes.
If you stay at O’Hare you will have a 45-minute+ train ride to downtown Chicago and it will cost you $5. These are solid, affordable options for getting you to your Lollapalooza stay, I’d suggest taking advantage of the public transportation.
|Hotel||$250 - $800+|
|Food & Booze||$400|
|Getting to Lollapalooza||$40|
|Airfare to Lollapalooza||Varies|
|Travelling to/from Airport||$10|
|Total||$1035 – 1585+|
So for your Lollapalooza trip you are looking at $1000+. Again, I know you can do everything cheaper or more luxuriously, but this is a pretty good starting point for approximation of the costs for Lollapalooza. Like I said at the beginning, just because you got your tickets doesn’t mean you’ve paid for your entire Lollapalooza experience. My biggest tip for reducing these costs is to book everything Lollapalooza early. Once the lineup for Lollapalooza is released and the general ticket sale begins you can expect these prices to go up. As is often the case with life, the early bird gets the worm.