The best of what to do in and around Chicago this week
If you’re one of the thousands of people looking forward to Lollapalooza in Chicago this week—or even if you’re not—we’ve got plenty of suggestions for how to spend your time pre- and post-festival, including tasting the city’s new restaurant, Dixie. Only focused on Lolla? Then we’ve got the scoop on the craziest, must-do after-parties.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
July 28–31 | Music festival
One of Chicago’s biggest—if not the biggest—festival of the summer, Lollapalooza brings people from all over the world to the Windy City. If you’re here, you’re here to see Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, LCD Soundsystem, and more—there’s really something for everyone, music-wise, during this massive four-day fest. Save enough energy for the after-parties (more on those below) because every venue and bar in town will be celebrating harder than usual for Lolla’s 25th anniversary. While the festival is technically sold out, tickets are still available on vetted third-party sites like StubHub. If the ticket price doesn’t seem worth it, the parties surrounding the fest are many, and you’re sure to find something Lolla-related to revel in this week.
Times vary | Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago | From $355 (resale on stubhub.com) | website
July 28–31 | Music
There are over 70 after-parties to choose from over Lollapalooza weekend, and you can buy tickets whether or not you shelled out for the main event. Artists like Oliver Heldens (currently ranked as DJ Mag’s number one house DJ), AlunaGeorge, Daughter, and Mac Miller will all be performing at venues across the city. As with the music of the festival itself, the genres represented at the after-parties are diverse enough that everybody will be able to find something to enjoy.
Times, locations & prices vary | website
July 30–31 | Escape the city
Get your weekend off to a quick start with a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The drive is just over two and a half hours to get to the greatest racetrack in the world. While there’s not a race going on this weekend, there’s plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities to make the days speed by. First, check out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, which is dedicated to racing and race cars. You can also get several on-track experiences, from a bus tour of the speedway (with access to usually off-limits areas like the garages and the Victory Podium) to a driving lesson on the course (be sure to register in advance).
Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN | website
Toruk: The First Flight
Inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, Toruk: The First Flight is a story set thousands of years before the events in the film. Toruk is the last living being on Pandora after a natural catastrophe hits the world, and the plot of the show takes the audience back in time to see the events unfold through Toruk’s eyes. Like every Cirque du Soleil show, it’s all about the beauty of the performance—and Toruk is especially visually stunning.
Times vary | United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago | From $42 | website
Now open | Restaurant
There’s more to Southern food than barbecue, and Dixie is here to prove it. The traditional spot serves up real doses of Southern charm, along with small plates of tomato pie, cornmeal dumplings, and country ham, among other dishes. Of course, no real Southern meal is complete without a strong drink, and Dixie’s got you covered with its contemporary cocktail bar, 1952 ½ (a name inspired by the restaurant’s address). The cocktail menu changes seasonally and focuses on bourbon and juleps.
1952 N. Damen Ave., Chicago | website
Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.