1. Millennium Park is open every day from 6am to 11pm. Most evening concerts end by 9PM and the official rules are that you may remain for an hour after the concert ends. They enforce the 11PM closing time. People start setting up their picnic spreads as early as 5PM. So you can drag your wagon of coolers, candelabras etc. over even earlier and snag a spot.
Fun fact: Millennium Park opened July 16, 2004 and cost $475M dollars.
2. No ticket is needed. Admission is free for seats in both the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Great Lawn for events presented by the City of Chicago. This does not include the 30 concerts comprising the Grant Park Music Festival and other privately run events. For the Grant Park Music Festival the front half of the seating bowl is reserved. Subscribers have purchased these seats. Seats are free in the back half of the seating bowl and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For evening shows, the Pavilion opens one hour prior to the start of the concert. You may save only one seat prior to the start of each show. Once the show has started, you must relinquish the seat on hold. The Park may close the seating bowl and Great Lawn when reaching capacity.
Fun fact: There are 11,000 seats – 4,000 fixed seats and room for 7,000 on the Great Lawn. There are glass doors that enclose the stage so it can be used year round.
3. The Great Lawn is flat so the farther back you go the less you will see. However there are speakers in the trellis covering the lawn so even in the far back you can always hear the music. The acoustics were designed to sound like an indoor concert.
4. The Great Lawn is a high-tech design with underlying layers of sand and gravel that allows water to drain quickly. So even if it rained that afternoon or the night before the lawn will not be a water logged and muddy swamp like at the Grant Park Band Shell.
Fun fact: Cost to get your name on the Pavilion = $25 million dollars.
5. Concerts and performances in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion are held rain or shine, unless there are severe weather warnings and/or the threat of lightning in the area. The Pavilion seats are not protected from the elements.
Fun fact: The billowing brushed stainless steel ribbons on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion are known as the headdress.
6. You can bring food and drink (including adult beverages) into the seating bowl. Just be courteous of your neighbors and you cannot block the aisles in anyway. For occasional ticketed events, concert rules are determined by an outside vendor, which may prohibit guests from bringing alcohol into the Park.
Fun fact: The Lurie Garden is closed during performances because people will trample (and have trampled) the garden.
7. You may bring a picnic and dine al fresco on the Great Lawn. To protect the lawn from wear and tear you may not bring the following: tents, oversized umbrellas, oversized blankets or plastic tarps, helium balloons, oversized flags, signs/banners, barbeque grills, open flame candles or staking of any kind are not allowed on the Great Lawn area.
- Beavers Coffee + Donuts
- The Cheesie’s Truck
- Chicago Cupcake
- Harold’s Chicken Shack
- La Cocinita
- Starfruit Café (Kefir Truck)
- Warm Belly Bakery
You can also purchase beverages at Goose Island Beer Garden, on the east side of Jay Pritzker Pavilion Beer $7, Wine Glass $7, Wine Bottle $28, Soft Drinks $4, Water $3, Sparkling Water $3, and Coffee $5.
You can also purchase food from concession carts stands near the Bean and at the Park Grill and Café on the McCormick Tribune Plaza.
Alcohol may only be consumed in the seating area and the Great Lawn during the concerts. Alcohol sales in the Millennium Park concession tent end one half-hour prior to the end of the concert.
Here are some close by options for picnic food.
9. Don’t expect a completely silent concert environment as if you are at Orchestra Hall. People are drinking and having fun. The concert, for some, is background music while spending time with friends. If you want complete silence try to sit away from groups or buy a ticket to Orchestra Hall. We area residents welcome everyone into our neighborhood but please behave appropriately. If you are chatting during the performance please whisper. Talking loudly on including on your cell phone is frowned upon.
11. Millennium Park has clean and modern washrooms located below ground on the east and west sides of the Pritzker Pavilion.
12. There are docents distributing Grant Park Music Festival programs for each concert. There’s a stand on the west side of the Pavilion near the ramp entrance to washrooms.
Other no no’s
13. There’s no smoking in the seating area of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Great Lawn, the Lurie Garden, the east and west arcades by the restrooms and the east and west Exelon Buildings (those are the black “cube” buildings on the Randolph side of the park).
14. Animals are not permitted in Millennium Park, unless they are service animals.
15. Photography, video or recording devices are prohibited at all concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
For current event updates including weather-related announcements and schedule changes, as well as exciting contests, Park info and behind-the-scenes facts, follow on Twitter at Millennium_Park or on Facebook.
Check out the Chicago Public Library’s digital photograghy collection of the history of Millennium Park here.
Millennium Park has free unsecured WiFi service.
For lost or found items in the park, please call 312.744.6050.