Chicago will be filled with music in the summer of 2012. The city will host a tremendously diverse list of big name acts in styles that range from heavy metal and classic rock to new country and golden oldies. Chicago’s concert venues are just as diverse as the acts themselves, and whether it’s Wrigleyville or Northerly Island or anywhere in between, there is sure to be a major concert that will appeal to everyone. Of course, where the concert is happening can make a big difference not just in terms of ambiance but for parking as well.
Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park Aug. 3-5 this year. Last year, more than 150,000 people participated in this three-day event, and the lineup for 2012 is going to draw huge crowds again. The colorful headline bands include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, the Black Keys and Jack White. Read more about Lollapalooza 2012 Parking.
Concerts at Wrigley
Wrigley Field will feature Roger Waters—the Pink Floyd founder —performing “The Wall Live Tour” on June 8. For fans of classic British psychedelic rock, there is no bigger concert this summer. But for fans of classic American Heartland rock, the big days at Wrigley will be Sept. 7 and 8, when the Boss comes to Chicago. Bruce Springsteen will perform two shows at Wrigley Field to end the summer.
Parking for Roger Waters and Bruce Springsteen will offer many of the same challenges as parking for a Cubs game. An excellent alternative is to go to Park For Wrigley (parkforwrigley.com), where you’ll be able to select from a wide variety of parking options—some of which are available on Park For Wrigley. You can pre-pay for parking there too.
Soldier Field Concerts
Soldier Field, another great sporting venue turned concert venue, will host country music superstars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, on July 7. Chicago is one of 18 stops on the “Brothers of the Sun Tour.” This summer will be the first time in 10 years that Chesney and McGraw have toured together and this will be a treat for country fans. Parking at Soldier Field North Lot is ample.
Charter One Pavilion
The Charter One Pavilion stage on Northerly Island will go retro with Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent appearing together on June 24, followed by the Scorpions on June 26. In July, retro goes funky with the B-52s and Squeeze on July 6 and Barenaked Ladies backed by Blues Traveler on July 9. Further — with music from their days as members of the Grateful Dead — will be on tap July 17. General parking at the North Garage at Soldier Field is part of the concert ticket price. There is a VIP parking option that puts you closer to the gates for an extra $30.
United Center Concerts
The United Center has four big shows this summer, kicking off on June 22 with Aerosmith’s Global Warming Tour. It’s hard to overstate the impact of Aerosmith on rock ‘n roll. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, these legends are touring with Cheap Trick, a classic band in its own right.
Neil Diamond will be at the United Center on July 6. This iconic singer and songwriter is another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. His songs, “Sweet Caroline,” “I’m A Believer,” “Red, Red Wine,” are quintessential American tunes.
Then in August, the United Center will have two more contemporary names: Coldplay and Jennifer Lopez. Appearing with Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez will take the stage on Aug. 3, while Coldplay will perform twice, on Aug. 7 and 8. For the rest of the country, this will be Coldplay’s first North American Tour in three years. For Chicago, it’s a return engagement, as they headlined Lollapalooza last year. Chicago is special that way.
Parking at the United Center is best done in the venue lot. There are always fly-by-night private parkers willing to park you in an alley for 10 bucks, but don’t be surprised to find your car towed and the person who took your money long gone after the concert.
No matter which concerts you see this summer in Chicago, if you are driving there, you’ll need to park. So get to your concert early and enjoy a bit of tailgating (where permitted) before the show.