Photo: Steve Wrubel/Courtesy of Lollapalooza
With some 300,000 people expected at this year’s sold-out Lollapalooza (August 2 to 4), the gargantuan three-day music festival at Grant Park won’t seem as fun come closing time. In case you’re still looking for a hotel—or simply want to avoid having to go all the way home between days of the festival—here are six downtown hotels with rooms still available for the weekend (rates shown reflect the lowest priced rooms available from August 2 to August 3). Added bonus: Many of these hotels are putting on their own Lolla-related festivities to rival the boatload of after parties scheduled around town.
Acme Hotel Company
15 E. Ohio St., 312-894-0800; from $299
The trendy, comfortable hotel sports the new Berkshire Room, a cocktail bar where you can grab a bite to eat between siestas—and some of the lowest rates found during the fest starting from $299. Acme is also offering the “Recover like a Rockstar” package (from $389), which includes a six-pack of 312 beer, two bottles of Powerade, two aspirin packets, a $10 gift certificate to M Burger and discounted services at IVme Hydration Clinic (think oxygen bar and B12 shot).
Hard Rock Hotel
230 N. Michigan Ave., 312-345-1000; from $399
Stay here if you don’t care a lick about sleeping or mind dealing with the madhouse in the lobby. In addition to direct access to the Hard Rock’s own Lolla party, which will rally for three full days and nights with artist performances, engagements, and DJ sets (passes from $200), there should be celeb sightings galore. Avail yourself to the $25 all-you-can-eat “Drunk Brunch” in the hotel’s modern Chuck’s Manufacturing, backed by more DJ sets and performances.
225 N. Wabash Ave., 866-610-0081; from $409
You’ll like the in-room window banquettes big enough to sleep in and South Water Kitchen restaurant, where pints are half price for guests wearing Lolla wristbands. Stay here—or at any Kimpton hotel in the city— and get an additional 25 percent off when you mention the promo code LOLLA.
Radisson Blu Aqua
221 N. Columbus Dr., 312-565-5258; from $396
With views of Grant park from the rooftop, which also houses one of the city’s best outdoor hotel pools, this Jeanne Gang-designed hotel offers the most scenic and refreshing respite above the fest. Bonus: You may spot Lady Gaga, who frequents the Aqua to visit boyfriend Taylor Kinney.
Trump International Hotel & Towers
401 N. Wabash Ave., 312-588-8000; from $525
Sleep in a plush bed and make time for the spa at this luxury hotel on the river. Book the Trumpalooza package (from $585) just for the chauffeured Cadillac drop off at Grant Park. The package also includes a deluxe guest room, cocktails for two in Rebar (where a DJ will spin music mostly inspired by The Cure), and two Lolla fanny packs stocked with a map, bottled water, ear plugs, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
644 N. Lake Shore Dr., 312-943-9200; from $574 (mention SYMLIVE)
Stay near the lake and book the W Music Insider Package for two cocktails in Whiskey Sky, a $50 credit at WAVE restaurant, and a late check-out of 2 p.m. Arrive by August 1 and you’ll also get VIP access to the W Hotels Worldwide Symmetry Live performance, an exclusive set by British soul powerhouse Jessie Ware (also performing at Lollapalooza).
More Sites Added to Free Wi-Fi Portal at O’Hare and Midway Airports, But Is It Enough?
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and Boingo just last week expanded the number of websites that can now be accessed from its free but largely limited Wi-Fi portal, available at both Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports. Launched in May, the “Good Stuff” portal initially allowed free access to only a few dozens sites, including several domestic carriers and Chicago-based Orbitz. Now, Eater.com, the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye website, Yelp, and the Digital Public Library of America join the ranks. Sadly, e-mail, Facebook, or any semblance of full Internet access will run you $6.95 a day.
Bear Grylls Plans New Survival Camp; Meanwhile, Indiana Already Has One
Outdoor enthusiasts seeking an extreme vacation may swoon over the news that “Man vs. Wild” star Bear Grylls—and star of NBC’s new “Get Out Alive”—will be launching the Bear Grylls Survival Academy, with the first location coming to New York’s Catskills mountains this November. Participants will learn survival techniques that include fire lighting, emergency shelter building, knife skills, foraging—hey wait, that sounds a lot like what you can already do in nearby Anderson, Indiana (just outside Indianapolis), at Willow Haven Outdoor. Courses run through November and are led by the Midwest’s own survival expert, Creek Stewart. Read more before you go in Chicago’s summer travel feature.
Why Travel Specialists Still Matter
Booking that trip to Vegas on your smartphone might be a no-brainer, especially when countless apps can help you score better deals and mileage points. But when off-the-grid destinations call your name—Myanmar! Botswana!—smart travelers trust the experts. “What can a good travel specialist do?” asks Priscilla Eakeley in The Daily Traveler. “The real question is what can’t they do.” Read Eakeley’s play-by-play experience at the Conde Nast Traveler blog.
Dos and Don’ts From the TSA
“Forget regulations on liquids or weapons,” says AOL Travel’s Elizabeth Seeward. “The TSA’s new security threat is clothing, accessories and hairdos, or so they seem to think.” Dreadlocks, pumps rocking a mock-weapon heel, and tank tops are now among the growing list of perceived don’ts when it comes to making it through airport security. Read more at AOL Travel.