Lolla in Chicago

The music festival to end all festivals.

While I have been to Illinois and Chicago many times – I have never been to Lollapalooza. In a turn of events, I ended up going alone, and I had an incredible time. Here is my experience plus some tips and tricks.

First things first – screenshot the map and schedule/lineup for all the bands. We bought tickets for Friday only and were able to see where the stages were and when our favorite bands were playing. Because I went alone – I was able to see my favorites and explore a bit more.

A photo of the entrance to Lollapalooza. A artsy cartoon boombox.

Plus, do some research for hotels in advance. I could see the main stage from my room. This photo was right inside the gate across the street from my hotel entrance. Also – I would highly recommend the Congress Plaza Hotel because it’s in Grant Park and there’s a ton of security because of the location meaning you feel super safe. Also, it’s an old hotel that is really ornate and interesting.

Okay, so you’ve got your hotel, you decided which day to buy or what pass works best, you know which bands you want to see. How do you make the most of your time?

Go early and make a plan of action. The two bands I wanted to see the most were at stages that faced each other so they rotated. I got to see James Bay and then The Neighbourhood started playing right as he finished. Once The Neighbourhood was getting close to the end of their last song, I left and beat the crowd out because the next artist on the opposite stage was Post Malone. I got to watch him from afar because I didn’t feel like getting trampled. After I saw the songs I wanted to see I made my way towards the main stage and got caught up at a small stage and watched an incredible band I had never heard of. THIS is why I love festivals. You get to hear so many artists you would have never heard of. Two of my favorite bands I found this way; Bad Rabbits (Warped Tour) and R. LUM. R. (Lollapalooza).

A photo of a moose with the Lyft logo and people waiting in line for tacos.

Make sure you have a full battery and possibly an external charger if your hotel is further away. You will need to take a Lyft, Uber, L train, cab, something back. I would recommend whatever ride share company is partnered with the event. For Lolla, Lyft was their main choice meaning they had a Lyft pickup lot that was close to the event and gave out free water, energy drinks, tacos and tamales, and small souvenirs while you waited for your driver. I was able to use the restroom, get some food, water, listen to music, and got free hand sanitizer, beer koozies, and keychains.

Thankfully, my biggest tip is back in style. FANNY PACKS! (or if you’re British Bum Bags). There are thousands of people here and I ended up wearing my small backpack backwards due to some missing items and opened pockets. (Nothing major, just a missing zipper string and oil blotting face papers).

Either bring money or pre-load it onto your wristband and make sure you have the essentials for being out in the sun. I had the best time here and I felt totally safe being alone. I made a ton of new friends because everyone there is super friendly. Lollapalooza is definitely not one to miss.

 

 

Top Chicago Bars

Exciting and Unique.

I have been to Chicago a few times and I always find something new to fall in love with. These bars however, are some that you have to experience at least once. They’re also bars I continue to return to time after time.

The Green Door Tavern

This is my number one must see bar in Chicago. It’s a staple.

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This wooden oasis is full of eclectic and ole timey memorabilia as it was built in 1872. Some of my favorites are the old sports banners and items like bats, balls, and speed bags, the huge Blackhawk’s drum hanging from the ceiling (Go Wings though), and a carousel horse. While it has great food and drinks, there is a wheel above the bar for shots. Do this at your own risk though, because Jeppson’s Malort is written on there several times. While it’s an alcohol you can only get in Chicago, it has been likened to garbage juice. If you look closely you can see a Jackalope above the bar and some interesting wall decorations in the mirror. This past weekend thankfully I got a Wondermint shot instead of Malort. While it didn’t go great with my beer – I was happy.

The Drifter

This bar is in the downstairs of The Green Door Tavern. Look for the hidden door and someone will come to take your name. The drink menu comes as tarot cards, there are burlesque dancers and live music, and all original, genuine speakeasy decorations from the 20’s. This is a must see in Chicago with some seriously cool atmosphere.

Timothy O’Tooles

Everyone needs a go to Irish bar and this one just happens to have Maple Bourbon Chicken Wings, Irish Nachos, and Tater Tot Poutine. They also have a wide selection of Irish and non-Irish liquor and beer but let’s be real – if it’s not Irish is it still worth it?

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Three Dots and a Dash

This is hailed as a speakeasy type bar but let’s just say and easy to find “speakeasy”. You walk down an alley and look for the blue light above the door. (On busy weekends however, there is a bouncer standing outside rather than right inside). The decorations are incredible and you will feel like a pirate on a tropical island. My favorite part is the giant wall of skulls lit in blue light. It makes you feel like you’re truly going to a different world. Cocktails are rated by how strong they are and there are over 150 different kinds of rum to choose from. You can also get a drink served in a treasure chest – so I mean who wouldn’t want to try out a place this cool?

Old Town Pour House

This is not for those who are indecisive. This tavern-esque bar has almost 100 beers on tap and the best crab dip in the area. If beer isn’t your thing – don’t worry, they also have handcrafted cocktails. This is somewhere you won’t want to miss.

Baseball Game Out of State

Wrigley Field.

In July of 2016 I attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and it was incredible! We watched the game from the Budweiser Bleachers, drank beer, ate ball field food, and got sunburned.

Obviously this was during a Chicago trip and it was a perfect day outside. I have only been to Tigers games in Detroit so definitely wasn’t expecting that kind of atmosphere. I would highly recommend everyone attend a game at Wrigley.

 

30 Before 30: 2 Down, 28 to go!