Note: This is an update to a post I wrote in January. Now that the incredible line-up has been released, the mad dash is on to score hotels near Grant Park.
One of the best things about music festivals in large cities is that there are so many hotels for concertgoers, you can get away with booking award nights a bit later than in small markets. Chicago, for example, is used to hosting huge conventions and has a booming tourist trade. So not surprisingly, there are still a few hotel award options left for you music fans within a few blocks of the venue, even with up to 300,000 attendees expected this year.
Lollapalooza takes place this year from August 1 to August 3 in Grant Park, and passes go on sale in the spring. Line-ups are typically announced shortly before the sale date. So what if you don’t like the line-up? Well, that’s the beauty of award stays. Just cancel your reservation and you get all those points back, with no fees or penalties (as long as you cancel before the date your stay begins). And in the meantime, you can feel secure spending the dough on the festival passes (which aren’t cheap!) knowing you have a free hotel room at least.
So what are your remaining award stay options within a few blocks of Grant Park? Here you go.
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel (221 North Columbus Drive)
Located just a few blocks north of Grant Park, this hotel has beautiful views of the lake, the parks, and even north toward the river. The hotel imposes restrictions over the Lollapalooza weekend, stating that customers need to wear hotel issued wristbands (thereby restricting friends from coming up to party in the rooms). I stayed in the hotel in spring 2013, and absolutely loved the location and hotel design. Award stays are available through Club Carlson for
50,000 75,000 points per night (the top of the scale, for a luxury room and extra amenities). Those of you who have a Club Carlson Signature Visa enjoy additional award discounts, getting your last night free (after at least two consecutive award nights). Note: unlike some other hotel chains, Club Carlson considers this weekend ‘special’ and may not refund points if you cancel your reservation (so be careful).
Best Western Grant Park Hotel (1100 South Michigan Avenue)
Also on Michigan Avenue, and located at the southwest corner of Grant Park, the Best Western Grant Park is one of the best-placed locations for the south stage area. Just a block from the gates, it’s about as close as you can get without sleeping on a park bench. Want to book Lollapalooza weekend? It’s 28,000 Best Western Rewards points per night.
W Chicago – City Center (172 West Adams Street)
Surprisingly, availability has opened up for W Hotel Chicago that wasn’t there in January. And even better, it’s a reasonable 12,000 SPG points per night. This is one of the closest hotels to the main entrance in the middle of Grant Park.
Westin Chicago River – North (320 North Dearborn Street)
Located just north of the river, the Westin is within walking distance of the north side of Grant Park. This could be a good pick if the closer W Hotel sells out of award nights, as it is also 12,000 SPG points.
Chicago has some amazing transit options, and the further away from the festival you get, the better the availability (and lower the points). So consider taking transit to the festival to save even more! A reminder: with 300,000 attendees, transit systems will be crowded. So plan accordingly and have a great time!
Have any tips about staying in Chicago during Lollapalooza? Please share!