With a total of 83 days taken up on the summer event calendar, it looks like Grant Park’s public access will hit an all-time low with only a handful of event-free days (read: about 4) spanning the entirety of the 2023 summer.
This comes after we reported that the annual foodie festival Taste of Chicago was shut out from their usual Grant Park weekend due to a bevy of high-profile events like the first-ever NASCAR race which will cover a large portion of the park for six weeks[/trackLink] even though the event only takes place from July 1st to 2nd, the organizers requested maximum setup and breakdown time in order to ensure the event runs smoothly.
Now Taste of Chicago is back on at Grant Park but we still have a measly number of non-event days, which is great for festival goers but potentially a loss for Chicagoans. You also can’t forget about Lollapalooza, for which organizers signed a 10-year contract to hold the event at Grant Park.
What does this mean exactly?
So, this means that the park is booked with back-to-back events, including every day except for June 2, June 3, June 4, and July 16. Not only did they initially move Taste of Chicago out during their usual July weekend before subsequently rescheduling for early September, but the packed schedule also limits overall public park access for Chicago residents and tourists alike- especially if they don’t hold a ticket to one of the coveted festivals. The entire summer schedule is booked between May 18 to August 13.
How will this impact the park?
Grant Park is technically a free-standing public space for people to gather. It’s expansive, covering a full 319 acres. Also referred to as Chicago’s Front Yard, the park is perfect for summer picnics, celebrations, or even a lazy nap under the sun. This space is usually known for its wide open fields and accessibility. This year, the park will technically be closed for 84 days according to various officials as these big events have secured the space ahead of time. Does this mean people can’t sit in an unoccupied space? Well, not exactly but it won’t be a peaceful experience with the various festivals going on at the same time.
What about events that didn’t secure a summer slot?
Before Taste of Chicago was rescheduled, it was rumored to move its annual event over to Navy Pier this year. Luckily, the beloved summer event, which has secured a prime spot at the park since the 80s, is still being held at Grant Park. As for other events that missed out on Grant Park’s schedule, they will, unfortunately, have to find a different venue.
Keep reading for a full list of summer 2023 festival dates:
- Chicago Gospel Music Festival will be held at Millennium Park on Saturday, June 3rd.
- The Chicago Blues Festival will be held at Millennium Park on June 8–11.
- The NASCAR Cup Series’ Chicago Street Race will take place July 1-2nd weekend with dates blocked off from June 5 through the 30th, as they work to create a massive 2.2-mile course and teardown blocked off from July 3rd to the 15th.
- Taste of Chicago neighborhood pop-ups starts on June 24 for Humboldt Park, July 15 for Pullman Park, and August 5 for Marquette Park.
- Chicago House Music Festival and Conference Festival at Humboldt Park Boathouse Lawn takes place on June 24
- House Conference at Chicago Cultural Center will take place on June 23rd.
- Lollapalooza takes over from August 3rd to the 6th with setup going from July 17 to Aug. 2 and teardown starting August 7th through to the 13th.
- The U.S. Navy Blue Angels/ The Air and Water Show will take place at North Avenue Beach on August 19-20.
- Millennium Park Summer Music Series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion will be held Mondays and Thursdays from June 22nd to August 21st.
- Millennium Park Summer Film Series: held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion from July 11th to August 29th.
- Chicago SummerDance: includes various celebrations in Millennium Park from July 15th to September 10th.
- The Chicago Air and Water Show will take place at North Avenue Beach on August 19-20 with practice running on August 18th.
- SummerDance Celebration at Jay Pritzker Pavilion and throughout Millennium Park on Sunday, August 27.
- Chicago Jazz Festival Millennium Park and city-wide from August 31 to September 3rd.
- The full scale Taste of Chicago: September 8–10 at Grant Park.