Summer in the city is such a wonderful thing: the beautiful skyline in the blistering sun, breezy afternoon walks in any of the many amazing parks, and doing just about everything outside. When Lollapalooza makes its way to Chicago every August, we get to roll it all together in one weekend. Approximately 100,000 people flock to Grant Park to spend some of summer’s hottest days outside with the year’s hottest musicians. This year, we have four full days of music and Lolla-style shenanigans, and while everyone else is getting psyched for the usual, now’s the time to plan for the unusual. Here are five underrated aspects of Lollapalooza to check out this year:
The Bodegas: While not exactly headline news, the bodegas are an exciting addition to 2016’s festival food and marketplace lineup. After many attendees clamored for more options, Lolla responded by placing new Bodegas around the festival grounds. In the Bodegas, music fans can pick up smarter food stuffs, like fruit, trail mix and other snacks. They’ll also stock essentials like sunscreen. Definitely a must-visit.
Lolla Cares: Next time you have an hour to kill between stages and you feel like doing something spontaneously good, check out some of the amazing causes raising awareness at this summer’s festival and find out how you can get involved. Orgs like Oxfam America and the ONE Campaign are fighting poverty, Syd Rocks is raising money and awareness for Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis, and Working Bikes in saving tossed bikes to be repaired and distributed across global communities. You can shop these and more causes at the festival, or head here for the full list of organizations and their websites. At the very least, you can register to vote while waiting for Radiohead to start.
Noon – 3pm: It might take some serious rallying after night one, but never underestimate the musicians during the first chunk of the day. It’s early, the sun is at peak burning and your second coffee probably hasn’t hit your bloodstream yet, but the acts taking the stage at this time are barreling toward big things. Early in the day we see up-and-comers and quieter favorites like Melanie Martinez, Skepta, Saint Motel, The Joy Formidable, X Ambassadors and many more. It’s also a great time of day to find a semi-clean, mostly dry spot on the grass to lay down and take in the music and summer day.
Chow Town: This one’s a no brainer, but definitely put some thought into the specifics for an underrated treat. For any newbies, Chow Town is Lolla’s answer to hungry crowds and hungrier local restaurants. City staples like Billy Goat Tavern and Lou Malnati’s will be waiting for your excited stomachs, but don’t rush to their lines before seeing what else is out there. Tank Noodle will be there with authentic Vietnamese fare, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs will be slinging barbecued and smoked goodness, and Kamehachi will be rolling sushi all day long. Or, if you want to temporarily venture out of Chicago, NYC’s famous Momofuku Milk bar has you covered.
Art Market: This might be another no-brainer, but if it’s not on your list it should be seriously considered. Take a step away from the sounds for a minute and shop the curated sights. A handful of jewelry, fashion and art will be on display and available for purchase. If clothing and hand-made goods aren’t your thing, you could use your time between stages to have your eyebrows threaded or get a Rhianna-inspired henna tattoo. And, don’t forget, the holiday season is just around the corner.