How to Save your Spot for a Millennium Park Concert—A Step-by-Step Guide

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So a really great band is playing the Downtown Sound series at Millennium Park and you know thousands of tastemakers like yourself will be at the free show. How do you snag a decent spot? Read ahead for some answers, tips, and more.

1. If you’re driving, know the parking garage options.
Lucky for you, there are a few parking options within walking distance of Millennium Park, and who doesn’t enjoy walking around downtown Chicago on a warm Summer evening? For parking, you can choose between Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph), Millennium Lakeside and Grant Park North. Rates for parking are available on each Garage homepage.

2. If you’re taking the ‘L’, know the stops nearby.
Get on the Green, Orange, Brown, Pink or Purple Lines and exit at the Madison/Wabash or Randolph/Wabash stations and walk two blocks east. Or, if you prefer the subway, get on the Red or Blue Line subways, get off at the Monroe or Washington stations, and walk two-three blocks east.

3. If you’re taking the CTA bus, know the right bus to get on!
You’re options range among buses 3, 4, 6, 14, 20, 56, 60, 124, 151,157 and 173. CTA transportation doesn’t mess around.

4. The earlier you arrive, the better.
If you want to secure a spacious spot or get up close to the performance, chances are you’re going to want to arrive at least an hour before a musician sets foot on stage. This way, you are at the front of any lines there may be, you have more options to choose from, and you have time to set up your area to suit your preferences! I know I will need time to set up a picnic for Glen Hansard’s show on June 10th.

5. Better yet, bring a blanket.
If you have a blanket at hand, you can lay it out and claim your space. Now, don’t go all crazy and bring more than is necessary—one of the greatest aspects of the Downtown Sound series is the lively community of music-lovers interacting with one another.

6. Bring Food.
Okay, okay—food won’t help secure a spot, but you won’t regret bringing something to munch on while you’re waiting for the opening act to start or relaxing on a blanket enjoying the sound. The Grammy award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops will be playing for the Downtown Sound series June 24th, and you will want some food to give you energy while you’re dancing to their upbeat, folk tunes or losing yourself in their soothing, soulful pieces.

I’ve reached the end of my list and I hope you find it useful! Good luck and have fun. Make sure to catch a few free shows with the Downtown Sound series while you can, Mondays at 6:30pm until July 29th. See the following links for more helpful information:

Downtown Sound lineup
Planning your trip


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