After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, Lollapalooza returns from Thursday, July 29 to Sunday, August 1 in Chicago with safety measures in place that require guests to be fully vaccinated or to come with printed proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Experts are also asking the unvaccinated to wear their masks at all times. Masks were rare sights earlier this month outside the United Center at the Windy City Smokeout, another outdoor festival in Chicago.
Understandably, folks have a variety of feelings about the festival. Some are ready to cut loose and hear acts like Megan Thee Stallion, Foo Fighters, and Miley Cyrus. Some locals would rather leave town than deal with traffic headaches and the influx of tourists. Add the online discourse about pandemic mitigation strategies, and there’s even more scrutiny placed on the four-day outdoor music festival.
While Lollapalooza has teamed with Grubhub in curating Chow Town — what Lolla calls it’s on-site food vendor lineup — many will prefer to grab food and drink before or after the festival. Not everyone is interested in paying $38 at the fest for a bottle of Cupcake Wine that retails around $10 at stores.
The pandemic has also hurt downtown restaurants and while many are open, some still aren’t fully staffed. Events, like Lollapalooza, bring in culinary tourism money that help power these restaurants. Illinois Restaurant Association CEO & President Sam Toia has repeatedly talked about the impact conventions, festivals, and other events have on downtown restaurants. Tip generously and be patient.
Here are some of the best restaurants to dine around the fest ground near Grant Park.
As of June 11, Chicago restaurants have fully reopened and the city has lifted restrictions on capacity, masking, and social distancing. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Find a local vaccination site here.Read More