Grand Central’s Guide to Lollapalooza 2016

In spite of all the buzz right now surrounding Coachella, Grand Central is focusing on your next festival – Lollapalooza.

Starting Thursday, July 28 through Sunday, July 31, Grant Park in Chicago, Ill., will host Lollapalooza for the 25th time. The festival is known worldwide and is especially popular to college students in the United States. It features many different genres of music performed by popular artists from all over the world, and is typically three days long, but as this is their 25th anniversary, the festival is rewarding their guests with an extra day filled with fun, music and the beautiful city.

From getting there and getting in, to the lineup and festival attire, check out our guide to making the most of Lollapalooza 2016.

Purchasing your ticket

Tickets for the 25th anniversary sold like wildfire this year on March 22. If some of you are still searching, don’t lose all hope just yet. Although alternative ticket vendors may be expensive, some great places to check out are StubHub, Craigslist, VividSeats and social media.

Purchasing the ticket is the only difficult part! Once you have that settled, receive your magical wristband in the mail and get ready for an amazing time ahead.

Finding a place to stay

Since Lollapalooza is in the middle of Chicago, your typical music festival camping is not an option, and finding a place to stay can be tricky.

Search hotels in close proximity to Grant Park or close enough to hitch a ride on the L-train. The larger the group, the cheaper the hotel fee, so always be sure to group up.

Even if you have to sleep on the floor or a pull-out couch, you’ll have a place to shower every single morning (one of the many perks).

Pro tip: If you are extremely lucky, contact family or friends that you know may live in the area and see if you can “visit” them.


The train is one of the cheapest ways and easiest ways to get to Lolla, but be sure to book your train ticket ahead of time.

Driving is obviously the other option, and carpooling is definitely a great idea for this festival, since you most likely will have to pay for a place to park.

SpotHero is a great app to use to find parking garages for cheap prices over the course of your stay in Chicago.

Save, save, save!

After putting a dent in your bank account to purchase your ticket (which is totally worth it), there are plenty of other things you’ll need money for.

If you are 21, the bars downtown are a hot spot after the concert, as well as the House of Blues. A large majority of money spent while at Lollapalooza will go toward food, drinks, cab rides and other souvenirs. The small purchases add up, so be sure to have plenty of cash.

Inside the festival

When going to a music festival, you never want to over or under pack. Make sure to bring these items in order to make your time at the festival a breeze.

  • Backpack or bag (small/medium size)
  • Large water bottle (sealed) or water bladder (empty)
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain poncho
  • Camera (small in size, unprofessional)
  • Hats, headbands, hair ties, etc.
  • Cash

What NOT to bring 

Security at Lollapalooza is extremely strict and items that you aren’t allowed to bring in will be thrown out, so be sure to be prepared before you go. Here is a list of what you will not be allowed to have when entering the festival.

  • Aerosol cans
  • Drinks or liquid of any kind (only a sealed water bottle allowed)
  • Food
  • Professional camera, video camera, etc.
  • Large items that can’t fit in a backpack are usually not permitted

What to wear

Be sure to check your weather forecast for the long weekend and prepare for any kind of summer weather, especially in the windy city. Looking great, as well as staying comfortable is essential to any festival goer. We recommend stalking last year’s Insta feed and watching some Youtube videos to find your perfect style, but here are a few ideas.

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunglasses or hat
  • Dresses/flowy skirts (for girls), comfortable shorts (for guys)
  • Sleeveless tops

Playlists (Get excited!)

After viewing the lineup and feeling stoked, be sure to make an awesome playlist to prepare you for all of your favorite shows.

Lollapalooza has a great playlist generator of artists featured at the festival, but listen to them all because you may be interested in seeing some artists you didn’t know of before.

Plot a schedule 

On Lolla’s website you are able to view a schedule of concert times and dates. You can customize a schedule of your own to print out before entering the festival – this is a great tool to use so you won’t miss out on all there is to see.

Have a blast

After all the preparation is over, it’s finally time for you to make the most of your experience.

Surround yourself with good people, good music and have the time of your life. Remember – one year is never enough, you will be back.