You're at Lollapalooza. There aren't any campground parties to carry you through the downtime, but there's a big, bustling city right beyond the festival gates—so what do you do when you're not watching one of this year's many impressive acts?
Well, the obvious thing is to be a mega fan and try to live vicariously through the bands playing. Duh. And you can do that by following the advice found on this page. We'll tell you where you're likely to run into Lolla acts and what they'll be eating and drinking. We've also detailed how you can revisit some of Chicago's best music moments that made it to the big screen (or just YouTube), plus a few other fun extras.
Sure there are plenty of sanctioned Lollapalooza after parties that you could go to instead (if you thought ahead and bought tickets), but isn't it more fun running into bands when you're NOT expecting it? It definitely makes for better stories. So take your pick and follow up with us on your adventures in the comments section below!
1. Bite Into Black Sabbath at Kuma's Corner
Kuma’s Corner is known for two things: a heavy metal atmosphere and their heavenly burgers, most of which are named after influential metal bands. We recommend trying the Black Sabbath burger in honor of the band’s headlining spot at this year’s Lolla. Who knows, maybe Ozzy will stop by to see how good his band tastes. And if you’re not a metal fan but still like a good burger, don’t be intimidated–even Lady Gaga had a ball at Kuma’s, as told via tweet.
Located at 2900 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago , IL 60618
2. Party at Angels & Kings
If you’re into Fall Out Boy or the Black Cards make sure to stop by Angels & Kings. The trendy room was opened by FOB bassist Pete Wentz, Perez Hilton and two business partners in 2008. The club frequently does Lolla kickoff and after parties, and while there’s nothing official on the calendar right now, it’s probably worth keeping on your radar.
Located at 230 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601
3. Sing Karaoke at Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap
After Pearl Jam’s 2007 Lollapalooza headlining set, Eddie Vedder sought out a more intimate crowd for the after show. Vedder and Kid Rock delivered a surprise performance at Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap the following Monday night. And just a few months ago, Vedder was seen performing “The Weight” with the live karaoke band after a Cubs game (see the video below). Live band karaoke is Sunday from 11PM -2AM
Located at 1970 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
4. Bribe Your Way Backstage With Hot Doug's
Both Matt Vasquez of The Delta Spirit and Patrick Carney of The Black Keys—members of the Lolla lineup—have confessed their love for Chicago style dogs. Vasquez even revealed that bringing the band food from the highly rated Hot Doug’s is “the best way to get on the guest list.” Someone please try this out. We’re all rooting for you.
Located at 3324 North California Ave., Chicago, IL 60618
5. Veg Out at Pick Me Up Café
Besides being one of Pete Wentz’ favorite restaurants in the city, Pick Me Up Café is your best bet for getting delectable vegan and vegetarian food in the wee hours of the morning (it's open 24 hours on weekends). We hear you also have a good chance of running into bands, especially if they’re playing the Metro about half a mile down the street. Acts set to play Metro during Lolla weekend include Frank Ocean and the Afghan Whigs, so keep a lookout.
Located at 3408 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60657
6. Spice It Up at Himalayan Restaurant
We've covered Pete Wentz, so let's not forget the frontman of Grammy-nominated Fall Out Boy and fellow Chicagoan Patrick Stump. When Stump took VEVO on a tour of Chi-town, he identified Indian and Nepali spot Himalayan Restaurant as “maybe my favorite restaurant anywhere.” When you go, just make sure to have Stump's ode to Chicago, "This City," on repeat throughout your entire meal. It's so catchy, it really won't be weird.
Located at 8265 W Golf Rd., Niles, IL 60714
7. Eat a Slice of Pie at Great Lakes
In 2009, GQ hailed Great Lakes' pie as the best pizza in America, and an onslaught of accolades from high-profile publications has been pouring in ever since. Among many other celebrities, Jay-Z and Beyoncé were seen testing out the pie’s lofty title during the Watch the Throne tour. Celebs don't get any kind of special treatment at Great Lakes, so who knows who you might get to share a table with at this 14-seat shop.
Located at 1477 West Balmoral Ave., Chicago, IL 60640
8. Expose Yourself in the Rainbo Club’s Photobooth
Established in the 1930s, the Rainbo Club boasts a varied musical history. The club once served as a home to burlesque dancers and jazz musicians, plus it was featured in “the proposal” scene from cult classic High Fidelity. But our favorite bit of history comes from the club’s photobooth. Many people believe it was the backdrop for Liz Phair’s nipple-baring Exile in Guyville album cover. Take a seat in the booth, sex it up and recreate the iconic pose. And don’t forget to share a link to your pic here!
Located at 1150 North Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
9. Drink Whiskey From the Tap
If you’re a fan of whiskey, then you’d probably get along with Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos. The singer has expressed his fondness for the liquor several times over and at one point it was even included in the band’s rider. To get your drink on like the Glasgow native and Lollapalooza performer, head over to Twisted Spoke, the first bar in the world to have whiskey on tap.
Located at 501 North Ogden Ave., Chicago, IL 60642
10. Drink a Kickstand
Ever heard of a “Kickstand”? If you have, you’re clearly cooler than me and probably well versed in bourbon drinks. Whether you’ve heard of it or not, you can feel like At the Drive-In’s Jim Ward by drinking one. The Lollapallooza artist told Paste that it's his favorite cocktail. The Kickstand consists of bourbon, Fernet Branca and grenadine, and we’re betting Delilah’s is the best place to try it out. With over 400 kinds of whiskey in stock, you’re bound to be in good hands.
Located at 2771 North Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL 60614
11. Tear Into an Ice Cold Spaten Pilsner
Nothing compares to that first sip of a super cold beer in the midst of a relentlessly sunny festival. Matt Vasquez of the Delta Spirit may be reaching for a Spaten during Lollapalooza—given that it's his favorite beer. You're not likely to find Spaten in stock at Lolla's beer tents, so if you’re feeling Vasquez-y, check out either Elephant & Castle or Hackney’s Printers Row. Both bars are pretty close by and serve the Bavarian pilsner.
Elephant & Castle is located at 185 N Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60601
Hackney's is located at 733 S Dearborn St. Chicago, IL 60605
12. Snack on PopChips
Downtime and festivals in general are conducive to snacking. If you want to snack like ethereal songstress Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, then grab a bag of PopChips. Maybe even throw some onstage during her set. But be forewarned, these chips are like crack. You will buy more.
Life Away" at Gold Star Bar
Some of our favorite Chicago music comes from punk rockers Rise Against. If you’re also a fan of the politically conscious band, you might remember a little song called “Swing Life Away.” The music video was shot in several Chicago locations, including the dive bar Gold Star. Skip ahead to 1:47 for a preview below. Once you're there, stand awkwardly by the jukebox like Tim McIlrath and take a picture OR if you’re really brave, stage a mock fight complete with cassette stomping and have another friend video it. BONUS: According to Yelp you might see tadpoles in their toilet.
Located at 1755 West Division St. Chicago, IL 60622
Unless you’re from Chicago, the words “Marina City” probably don’t mean much to you. However, if you’re at all familiar with Wilco, you’ll probably recognize Marina City as the buildings on the cover of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. We think you should head down to the towers, take a photo trying to match the angle from the album cover, and then Instagram your version!
15. Walk the
Same Stage as The Black Crowes
In 1991, The Black Crowes rose to fame with their breakthrough hit (and Otis Redding cover) “Hard to Handle.” The documentary-style music video shows the band hanging out on an empty First Midwest Bank Amphitheater stage. While the Chicago venue doesn’t regularly do tours, when we called they sounded like they’d make some exceptions. If you get your tour, walk across the stage and bask in the applause of your invisible audience. Just make sure you give a shout out to your mom.
Located at 19100 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park, IL 60477.
16. Be a
Wallflower in the Graham Elliot Kitchen
One of the weirdest but most affecting videos from the past year is Owen’s “No Language,” which was shot in Chicago restaurant Graham Elliot. Mike Kinsella sits in the corner of the kitchen like a fly on the wall, if that fly had a guitar and perpetually bitter lyrics. We’re betting you’re not technically allowed in the kitchen, but maybe if you bat your lashes or use your wallet, you could get an employee to bring you back there for a quick pic.
Located at 217 West Huron St., Chicago, IL 60654
17. Twist and
Shout Down N. Dearborn Street
The 1986 coming-of-age classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was shot in many locations in Chicago. Director John Hughes told AMC, “A lot of Ferris is sort of my love letter to the city…I really wanted to capture as much of Chicago as I could. Not just in the architecture and landscape, but the spirit." That spirit was brilliantly captured in the memorable parade scene–Hughes’ favorite scene to shoot — which featured “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton and “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. Just load those songs on your iPod, and load some friends in your car, and take a drive down N. Dearborn St. to relive the scene. Find more specific Ferris locations over here.
18. Visit High Fidelity's Championship Vinyl
Music geeks and hopeless romantics alike regularly tip their hats to High Fidelity. The movie, based on Nick Hornby’s book of the same name, revolves around several music-related themes. Most notable is Championship Vinyl, the record store owned by leading man Rob Gordon (John Cusack). Unfortunately, the store was conceived in a studio, but you can still visit the storefront featured in the film. If you’re actually interesting in purchasing some vinyl, you can walk a few feet to the renowned Reckless Records. See more High Fidelity locations mapped out over here.
Store front is located at 1500 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
19. Trace the Path of The Blues Brothers
Musical comedy The Blues Brothers revolves around many Chicago spots. Notable music-centric locations include Ray’s Music Store (where the brothers buy band equipment from Ray Charles), the soul-food restaurant with Miss Aretha Franklin as a waitress and John Lee Hooker at the front door, and Palace Hotel Ballroom, the venue where the band played their first big gig. The true locations are listed below, and you can find even more spots from the movie over here.
“Soul Food Restaurant” aka Nate's Deli is located at 807 West Maxwell Street
“Ray’s Music Store” aka Shelly’s Loan Company is located at 300 East 47th Street
“Palace Hotel Ballroom” aka South Shore Cultural Center is located at 7059 South Shore Drive at East 71st Street alongside South Shore Station
20. Go to Work with James McAvoy's Wanted Character
Admittedly, 2008’s Wanted doesn’t have much to do with music, but since Chicago-born rapper Common is in the cast, we felt it deserved some mention. (And who would willingly dismiss a chance to research something James McAvoy-related?) If you’re already planning to check out the parade route from Ferris Bueller, head just around the corner to the Inland Steel Building to see where James McAvoy’s character Wesley Gibson slaves away at his mind-numbing day job. We know it’s just a regular office building, but come on, just use your imagination a bit to transport yourself to the film. Check out more Wanted locations over here.
Inland Steel Building is located at 30 Monroe St., Chicago, IL 60603
21. Visit Kanye West’s
Kanye West hasn’t been shy about representing his hometown. The approximate location (79th and South Shore Drive) is even mentioned in the Watch the Throne track “Gotta Have It.” Ye also took Jay-Z to his childhood house in a Watch the Throne tour chronicle. We’re not certain of the exact location—and Google maps didn’t help any; the south side of South Shore Drive can’t even be accessed in street view, curiously enough. But looking at the screenshot below, you could feasibly drive past and identity the house.
22. R. Kelly’s
Former Lakeview Mansion
Check out the former mansion of R&B star R. Kelly. The singer lived in the 8,000 square foot home—a church in its past life—from 1994 to 2002.
Located at 1010 W. George St., Chicago, IL 60657
23. Billy Corgan's 1892 North Side Mansion
If you’ve got $2.85 million to blow, you can have Billy Corgan’s beautiful and historic Chicago mansion. If not, you can still drive by it and snap a picture of yourself. The façade really is gorgeous. Check out all the pictures over here.
Located at 1500 N. Astor Pl. 6 Chicago, IL 60610.
24. Pay Homage to Gospel Greats at Oak Woods Cemetery
Finally, if you’re feeling like going for a lazy cemetery stroll—as we all do from time to time—head to Oak Woods Cemetery. Several notable musicians are buried on the grounds, including the “Queen of Gospel” Albertina Walker and “Father of Gospel” Thomas A. Dorsey, gospel singer Roebuck “Pops” Staples, and blues musicians Little Brother Montgomery and Junior Wells. And if you haven’t heard of these people, do a little Googling to educate yourself on your musical elders.
Located at 1035 East 67th Street Chicago, IL 60637
We've just barely scratched the Windy City's surface here, so if you've got more to add to the list, share it in the comments below! And don't forget to come back and comment if you've got a tale to tell post-Lollapalooza.