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Is Lollapalooza Worth the Trip?

Lollapalooza is one of the largest and longest-running music fests in the world. 

This iconic event celebrates music and art while highlighting the vital work of nonprofit organizations and political activists. Over the years, it’s featured some of the biggest names across many genres. 

Today we’ll cover the highlights and help you find other ways to spend your time while you’re at the event. 

Let’s rock!

About Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza is a huge music festival founded by Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction. It was meant to be a farewell tour for the iconic 80s alt-rock band. The original event started in 1991 and hit 21 cities throughout the US. 

The diverse lineup celebrated counterculture and helped define the 90s mainstream scene. Artists like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, and Ice-T highlight just how varied the offerings were. On top of that, the events hosted a freak show, booths for nonprofits and political groups, and virtual reality tents. 

The success of the original event inspired Farrell to keep it going until 1998, when they couldn’t land a headliner. In 2004, he reimagined Lollapalooza as a destination festival with Chicago as the home base. 

Now the Windy City hosts 400,000 attendees every August. And while Lollapalooza no longer tours the country, it maintains the spirit of the original celebration. 

When in Doubt: 5 Reasons to Avoid Chicago

Where Is Lollapalooza?

The Chicago-based festival happens in Grant Park each summer. This sprawling green space is in the heart of downtown and right on the shores of Lake Michigan. The area has some must-see sights and hosts various events throughout the year. 

It’s the perfect place for people of all ages to enjoy rock climbing, tennis, or mini golf. You can also soak in the views and relax on the beach. 

Buckingham Fountain is one of the main attractions to see while you’re there. This water feature is modeled after the ones in Versailles, but it’s enormous. In fact, it’s one of the biggest in the world. 

What Is Not Allowed at Lollapalooza?

Like most music festivals, Lollapalooza has strict rules about what you can bring with you. You’ll need a clear bag if you want to carry daily supplies. And expect to have your bags checked when you arrive. 

You won’t be able to take in coolers or outside food and beverages, including alcohol. They’ll confiscate aerosol containers, including sunscreen and other personal products. There are strict regulations against professional recording equipment or cameras, so leave those at home. While they won’t mind your phone, you won’t be allowed to take videos. 

If you have prescription medication, it must be in the original bottle with your doctor’s name and pharmacy clearly labeled. Smoking of any kind, including vaping, is illegal in Chicago parks. 

Other Fun Things To Do Near Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza is packed with activities, but it’s worth taking some extra time to explore Chicago. Here are some of our favorite activities in the Windy City. 

Explore the Art Institute of Chicago

Along the western edge of Grant Park, you’ll find The Art Institute, one of the world’s finest museums. Founded in 1879, it’s also one of the oldest and largest. It attracts 1.5 million visitors annually and houses a permanent collection of 300,000 works. 

You can see world-famous pieces, such as American Gothic by Grant Wood and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. You’ll also find ancient artifacts and other iconic American and European paintings. 

Check Out Millennium Park

Millennium Park is perfect for art lovers and people who appreciate beautiful architecture and landscape design. Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean, is one of the most notable sculptures. 

During the winter, this area houses a popular ice skating rink. But once spring hits, it transforms into the biggest outdoor dining experience in the Windy City. This destination is within Grant Park, so you won’t have to walk far from the festivities. 

Follow the Lakefront Trail

If the live music hasn’t worn you out, strolling the Lakefront Trail is worth your time. The paved 18-mile path is one of the best ways to tour the city while enjoying the soothing sounds of Lake Michigan. 

Along the way, you can stop at one of the many outdoor dining options. It also connects to some of the best beaches in the area if you need to stretch out on the sand. 

Best Places to Stay Near Lollapalooza

You’ll need to book early if you’re hitting up a place to stay during Lollapalooza. The festival draws a ton of tourists each year on top of the usual summer visitors. Here are some of our favorite options. 

Indiana Dunes State Park

Lollapalooza takes place in the heart of the city, so RV-friendly options are scarce. But if you’re willing to make the one-hour drive to downtown, Indiana Dunes State Park offers over 2,000 acres of primitive camping options.

Of course, traffic can make a big difference on your trip, but this area’s beautiful lakeside accommodations are well worth the extra commute. It’s also one of the most affordable options for your trip. They have 140 sites with a variety of hook-up options. You also get easy access to sewer stations, as well as showers and restrooms. 

You can also explore the dunes that tower over Lake Michigan between trips to the city.

The Publishing House Bed and Breakfast

This classy inn is in a former Methodist publishing house right in the heart of downtown. The historic site has the look and feel of a hotel with the personal feel of a bed and breakfast. With only 11 rooms, you’ll want to get a hold of them well in advance. 

It’s also surprisingly affordable compared to the area’s hotels. You won’t have any trouble getting to and from Grant Park, so you’ll have more time to refresh. 

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

This former private club opened to the public in 2015. Located right in the heart of historic downtown Chicago, it features delicious handcrafted cocktails and a cozy game room to help you rest between sets at Lollapalooza. 

They also have a hidden prohibition-era speakeasy open to guests. Seating is limited, so try to get your fix before you leave. You’ll also have access to the original gym and ballroom once reserved for the city’s elite. 

Is a Road Trip to Lollapalooza Worth It?

Lollapalooza offers a jam-packed lineup each year with some of the best musical artists of our time. While it can be a grueling experience, it’s well worth it, especially if you reserve some time to recover in one of the coolest cities in the country. 

The festivities are a quick trip from the beach, fantastic art, and incredible outdoor experiences. We can’t imagine what else you’d want from your summer vacation.

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