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Why You Should Visit Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival

Spend your summer on Chicago's front lawn.

the bandshell at the Grant Park Music Festival

Hi friends! It’s time to teach out all about my favorite Chicago summer activity. It also happens to be one of Chicago’s longest running music festivals. And it also happens to be completely free!

The Grant Park Music Festival is a summer concert series presented in -you guessed it- Grant Park at the Jay Pritzker bandshell. These are classical choir and orchestra concerts, and they happen at this amazing outdoor venue a minimum of three nights a week: Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. 

So what makes this concert series so special? Buckle up my friends you’re about to find out!

the bandshell at the Grant Park Music Festival

Outdoor Music in an Amazing Location

Listening to music outdoor just screams summer to me, and there’s no better place to do that than the lawn at Grant Park. There’s so much space to spread out, and there are speakers dotted all through the area, so you can hear the music just as well from the back of the lawn as you can in the front row. The bandshell itself is a gorgeous piece of architecture, and the feeling on the grass is very much how it would feel if Chicago had a front lawn.

Plus, bringing your own chair or blanket for the lawn is completely free! Yes, you can experience world class music at no cost if you sit on the lawn. If you want a chair closer to the stage, you can purchase tickets for those, but the peak experience is the lawn.

a gourmet picnic on a blanket


Plus, if you listen from the lawn, you can bring a picnic! You’re allowed, and encouraged, to bring your own food and drink into the festival. Open container laws are also relaxed during Grant Park events, so you can bring in your own beverage of choice for your luxurious meal.

There is food and drink available for purchase, but it’s much more cost effective, and often more delicious, to bring your own. Pack a picnic from home or pick up a smorgasbord from a nearby restaurant and enjoy an exquisite meal while listening to amazing music.

The Concerts

Because friends. The music. The Grant Park Choir and Orchestra is made up entirely of amazing professionals, many of whom have spent their summers playing here for years upon years. There’s often a visiting artist who will be an absolute master of their craft.

a traveler in a sunhat in front of the bandshell at the Grant Park Music Festival

Each program will have a “headliner” piece, something famous or by a recognizable composer, but the programs are filled out to perfection. I’ve found some of my favorite classical pieces from the Grant Park B-Sides.

And often that visiting master will play a solo that isn’t listed in the program, and it will be magical because it’s a masterful musician playing whatever their favorite piece is in that moment. End to end, the concerts usually run about 90 minutes, and every minute is well spent.

The Grant Park Music Festival is an Amazing Summer Tradition

What are you waiting for? Enjoy Chicago’s best summer tradition in style!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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