Ravinia Park, Chicago
Experience a concert under the stars at Ravinia.
Ravinia consists of an amphitheatre and lawn where people of Chicago and the North Shore go to hear classical music, jazz and pop concerts. Attendees bring everything from elaborate dinners with candelabras and tablecloths to your basic picnic fare. Ravinia also sells food and alcohol at a premium. And you can rent lawn chairs and tables.
You can take the train from downtown but they will be crowded and you will still have to drag your picnic stuff through the train station. You can drive and park in one of the remote lots (Botanical Gardens and Port Clinton). Ravinia runs shuttle buses from these lots to the park.
Check out the schedule of performers. This summer's schedule includes such variety as the BoDeans, Gypsy Kings, and the CSO performing ABBA tunes.
Remember to bring along (in addition to your picnic fare): a jacket as it tends to get cool in the evening, comfortable shoes as it is a hike whereever you park and bug spray.
Every Summer Ravina opens it's doors to the annual outdoor music festival. It's located north of the city - a relatively short train ride from downtown. The festival attracts a wide variety of musical acts, showcasing everything from classical to salsa. Look out for regulars (& crowd favorites) such as Lyle Lovett and Tony Bennett. Everyone from the Gypsy Kings to the B-52s, Norah Jones to the Beach Boys has played here. The lawn seats are actually a large park and although you can't see the musical acts from here the acoustics are great so bring a picnic, spread out your blanket and listen to melodies under the stars. People will come early and set up tents with china, crystal and candelabras. You think I'm kidding? So did I until I saw it with my own eyes. You can pack your own picnic dinner or buy it there (although food and drink there is on the expensive side). AND you are allowed to bring in and consume alcoholic beverages out in the open here. Lawn tickets run $10 to $15 US. If you prefer an unobstructed view of the visiting artists buy pavilion tickets (starting at $45 US) for an assigned seat with a view. Just be aware that food isn't allowed in the pavilion. The bigger name acts sell out so buy your tickets early. And if you’re attending a popular concert and have lawn seats I recommend sending at least one member of your party up to the park early to stake out a primo spot on the lawn. Cell phones don’t always get the best reception up here so you might want to bring an umbrella or other identifiable marker for your friends to find you as the park is large. Parking is available for a fee if you want to drive up. But it’s so easy to hop on the Metra. Take the North Line to Ravinia Park from one of three easy stops in Chicago: Downtown (Madison & Canal), Ravenswood (Lawrence and Ravenswood) or Rogers Park. You can ride the “Ravinia Special” for $5 US RT. The train drops you off right at the park gates and picks you up shortly after the concert ends. A favorite Chicago event!
For years, Chicagoans have gone to Ravinia Festival in the North Shore Suburb of Highland Park to picnic and enjoy listening to music which ranges from classical and jazz, to folk and pop.
Most people bring a picnic and spread out on the lawn for an entrance fee under $10.00. There are lawn chairs available for rental.
Once the music begins, a hush comes over the crowd. Hearing is not a problem because of the state-of-the-art sound system throughout Ravinia. For those who prefer to be more up close, they can purchase reserved seats in the open-air Pavilion for a slightly higher fee.
If you don't want to bring a picnic, Ravini has dining options.
Next year starts the 69th season for Ravinia!
Such performers as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Neville Brothers, Gordon Lighfoot, Ella Jenkins, Randy Newman, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul & Mary have performed here.
The park is located at the Intersection of Lake-Cook and Green Bay Roads.
Ravinia Festival is located in Highland Park- you can actually take the metra there so you don't have to worry about parking or drinking and driving. The concert tickets are really cheap- lawn seats run about 10 dollars last time I was there- and the bands vary. You can check out who is playing and buy tickets at www.Ravinia.org . I've seen tons of concerts there ranging from Willy Nelson, to classical to jazz- just check out all the different types of bands that play there- you'll be suprised. Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin, the Blues Travellers are all playing there this summer. The lawn seats are great because you can pack a picnic and bring blankets or lawn chairs. Lot of people go as far as bringing candles, vases, and tables to picnic with. It is a fun group outing or a romantic date. The lawn seats are great because you can sit around and chat but still watch the concert. Get there early to get the best lawn seats. I would suggest packing a picnic because buying food there can get pretty pricey. I think a beer cost about 7 dollars or something like that. I really think everyone in the Chicago land area should go to Ravinia once- I don't know how you couldn't enjoy it.