Family Guide to Lollapalooza

See the biggest names in music, chow down on festival eats and rock out at Kidzapalooza with these handy festival hacks for families.

Music brings people together. From intimate concerts and music in the park to massive, multi-day music fests, many parents love sharing music with their little ones.

Chicago’s largest annual music festival, Lollapalooza, isn’t your typical concert. With around 400,000 attendees, eight stages and rows upon rows of food tents, pop-ups and vendors, Lolla is one of the largest music festivals in the world. Even for locals, navigating it is no easy feat — and that’s before you throw kids into the mix! 

Photo credit: Lollapalooza/Taylor Regulski

Speaking of kids, did you know that kids ages 8 and under can attend the fest completely free with their parents or guardians? 

Whether you’re taking your child to see their first concert or this will be your first Lollapalooza as a family, Chicago Parent has all the behind-the-scenes info you’ll need to rock out with your kids. 

While you can’t do anything about the long lines, large crowds and August sun, we have plenty of advice for making your Lolla experience as smooth, enjoyable and fun as possible! Get ready to rock out with your littles with these handy tips, packing guides and suggestions for how to make the most of your festival experience with the fam. 

Quick details about Lollapalooza

Photo Credit: Katrina Barber

  • When: Aug. 3-6, 2023. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 
  • Cost: One-day tickets start at $135. Children 8 years and under can attend for free with a ticket-holding adult. Up to two children may attend with each paying adult. 
  • Getting there: Beat the traffic by taking CTA, Metra or Pace public transit. If you plan to take a rideshare, follow the directions in the rideshare app and be on the lookout for designated dropoff zones. When requesting a ride to leave the festival, walk west of State Street before ordering your ride. 
  • Parking: Millennium Garages is offering discounted 24-hour parking during the festival! Book your parking pass ahead of time to save on drive-in rates. 

What to bring to the festival 

Leaving the house with little ones can require a surprisingly large amount of gear. Families with older kids want to party in comfort and style, too, but no one wants to lug around extra baggage at a festival. Here’s our short and sweet packing list to get your fam festival ready. 

  • The bag: Pack your gear in a clear bag that is smaller than 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches. Bags smaller than 6 inches x 9 inches do not need to be clear, but can only have one pocket. Hydration backpacks do not need to be clear, but may only have one additional pocket. 
  • The supplies: Sunscreen (non-aerosol), sunglasses, wet wipes and hand sanitizer. Get creative by bringing a simple activity — like coloring books and crayons or bubbles — for your kiddos to enjoy while you kick back and listen to the music. 
  • The gear: Stroller, a blanket or sheet to sit on, ear protection, reusable water bottles, portable phone charger and a paper or folding fan. 
  • Leave these at home: Backpacks, umbrellas, wagons, scooters, lawn chairs and outside food and drinks.
  • Worried about carrying it all? Locker rentals are available for families who want to keep supplies and gear close but don’t want to carry it all. 

Things to do with kids at Lolla

Photo credit: Lollapalooza/Roger Ho

Between catching your favorite artists, there’s plenty of festival fun for families to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for more music, arts & crafts or the best places to grab a bite with kids, here are our suggestions for what to do with your kids at Lollapalooza. 

  • Play at Kidzapalooza! If you’re attending the fest with kids, then you probably already know about Kidzapalooza, the mini kid-friendly festival inside Lollapalooza. In addition to family-friendly musical artists, Kidzapalooza includes daily magic shows, dance workshops, music workshops and more. Here are some of this year’s offerings: 
      • Make buttons, backpack keychains and more at the Easel Art Studios craft station. 
      • Get in the festival spirit with temporary hair color, glitter and designs from Classy Kids Salon. 
      • Say cheese at the rock star photo booth offered by Chicago Parent favorite, TK Photography, and capture a family photo of a day you’ll never forget. 
      • Take a break at the Kidza Lounge, which has seating and relaxing activities like coloring pages and books for kids (and parents!) who need a moment to unwind. 
  • Chow down at Chow Town! The festival’s food menu is filled with local eats, including kid-approved slices from Bacci Pizzeria and Connie’s Pizza; burgers from Billy Goat Tavern, Epic Burger and Fatso’s Last Stand; fried chicken and mac and cheese vendors and plenty of Latin-inspired options, including vegan tacos from Healthy Substance. 
  • New this year, find delicious desserts, frozen treats and other sweet delicacies at Dessert Island. This dessert-only outdoor food court offers kid favorites like Dippin’ Dots, ice cream, marshmallow treats and more. 

Tips for attending the festival with kids

Photo credit: Lollapalooza/Taylor Regulski

With rules, regulations and the festival grounds changing a bit every year, even the most seasoned Lolla vets should look over these tips before heading to Grant Park. These family-friendly recommendations, handy festival hacks and tips for preparing will help you stress less while at the fest — meaning you have more time and energy to enjoy live music, explore photo ops, chow down on festival eats and more! 

  • Before you go, make a festival “cheat sheet” in your phone’s notes app, then screenshot it and set it as your lock screen. Include emergency contact info (in case your phone is lost), the schedule of artists you plan to see and any other info you may need to reference throughout the day. You can also screenshot the festival schedule or map and set it as your background for easier access (and less battery drain). 
  • Speaking of battery drain, you shouldn’t expect to get great cell service at Lollapalooza. In case you can’t rely on cell phones, set up a designated meeting place for your family to meet in case you get separated. 
    • Pro tip: Make your meeting spot specific. Pick a small, specific point — like a flag, a bench or a unique decoration — rather than a large, general area like a stage or “by the food tents.” 
  • Visit the Tag-A-Kid booth at Kidzapalooza to register your child. If your little festival goer gets lost, their ID bracelet will allow festival staff to reconnect them with their guardian
  • Dress for the weather! That includes wearing sturdy, comfy walking shoes, too. Lollapalooza happens rain or shine, which means you need to be prepared to catch your favorite artist while wearing a rain poncho or while reapplying sunscreen. 
  • Go Cashless! By connecting a payment method to your festival wristband, you can pay for drinks, food, merch and more by simply tapping your wristband — no need to carry your wallet! Cash is not accepted at the fest. 
  • Need a private space to breastfeed, pump, change a diaper or attend to your family’s needs? The Family Services Tent offers a bit of privacy for families who need to take a step away from the busy festival. 
  • If you or a member of your family need to access the accessible viewing areas, visit the Access Center to get information on the accessibility wristband program. 

Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram

Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.
- Advertisement -

LATEST STORIES

Dive Into Under the Sea Fun at the Shedd Aquarium

Discover sea creatures from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean seas with your little minnows.

See the Glenbard Township High School District 87 2024-2025 Academic Calendar

See important dates on the Glenbard Township High School District 87 calendar.

Life Insurance Planning for Parents of Children Living With a Disability

Secure your child's future with life insurance while preserving their government benefits eligibility. Get expert planning tips.

Find Out Where the Best Teachers in DuPage County Public Schools Are

See whether your local school in DuPage County has the best-ranked teachers.


- Advertisement -