Lollapalooza 2023

Lollapalooza Festival Packing List | What to Know Before You Go

Here's your Ultimate Lollapalooza festival packing list for a safe and fun experience!

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Wondering what to bring to Lollapalooza 2024

After attending Chicago's biggest summer music festival, I decided to create this ultimate festival packing list to help you prepare for the big event! 

As expected, there’ll be festival essentials such as hand sanitizer and hydration packs, but there’s a lot more to it than just that.

I’ll also be sharing tips on what to expect when you enter the park, how to easily pay for things and whether certain items are better left at home. 

Above all, the goal of this checklist is to make sure you enjoy the festival as comfortably and as safe as possible!

What is Lollapalooza?

You are in for an awesome experience! Lollapalooza is a one of a kind 4-day outdoor music festival held every year at Grant Park in Chicago. 

The Lollapalooza lineup features over 170+ of the most talented and diverse musical bands from all over the world. 

The 2024 lineup included artists such as SZA, Hozier, Blink-182, Melanie Martinez, Deftones, Stray Kids, Killer Mike and more.

With 8 stages and as many as 100,000 attendees per day, the festival is sure to get your head nodding and hands waving with the synergy of the sounds!

Lollapalooza Music Festival

There’s a lot happening during these four days of music and fun, so it’s best to be as prepared as possible. 

Before I dive into what to pack for Lollapalooza, let’s first quickly go over essential tips to know before you go.

Lollapalooza Travel Tips

🗓 Mark Your Calendars: August 1 – 4, 2024

📌 Where: Chicago, IL – Grant Park

Flights: If you’re coming in from out of town, then check the Google flights website to find the best airfare deals and book early to save money! 

For this trip, I booked through Orbitz and used the Rakuten browser extension to earn $9.10 cash back on my roundtrip flight. (every bit counts, especially when you consider that a can of soda at the festival will cost you $5.56!)

🚆 Airport to Downtown Chicago: You can take the CTA Blue line train right from the airport to downtown Chicago for about $3 for a single ride or $5 for a day pass. It beats taking an Uber or taxi, which would cost you much more money.

🏨 Where to Stay: There’s no shortage of hotels in and around Grant Park. The Hilton Chicago is a stone’s throw away from the festival, but gets SUPER pricey during Lollapalooza dates. 

If you prefer to save money and don’t mind walking a bit, then check out the Hilton Garden Inn Chicago McCormick Place, which is where we stayed.

Earn $200 on Your Lollapalooza Trip!– The Chase Freedom® Unlimited and Chase Freedom® Flex℠ card are offering a $200 bonus when you spend $500 in your first 3 months of account opening. Booking your flight and hotel accommodations should be more than enough to meet this criteria! You must use this promotional link to apply. The best part is you'll also earn up to 5% cash back on your travel and restaurant purchases when you use your Chase card to pay.

Lollapalooza Music Festival Essential Tips

🌤 Prepare for the Weather: Chicago summers are hot, humid and wet. We experienced all these conditions during the festival, so make sure to prepare for the weather.

This can mean bringing rain boots, packing enough tanks and shorts for an outfit change, and bringing a light poncho in case it rains.

💸 Cashless Lollapalooza: The best way to pay at Lollapalooza is to activate your Lolla wristband and register for Cashless by linking your PayPal, Venmo, or any credit / debit card.

This will enable you to pay for food, drinks and merchandise by simply swiping your wristband at checkout. It’s a hassle free way to pay! 

Lollapalooza wristbands
Cashless Lollapalooza

*Wristbands are mailed to you about a month before the festival. Look for a slip inside the envelope with a $10 activation bonus for being one of the first few thousand people to register for Cashless Lollapalooza

🔒 Lockers for Rent: If you’re planning on staying all day at Lollapalooza, then you may want to consider renting a locker to keep spare clothes, merch and extra stuff. 

You can rent these out for one day or for multiple days, and even store your items overnight!

🚲 Biking to Lolla – Depending on where you’re staying in the city, the walk to Grant park can be a long one. If you aren’t planning on taking the CTA, then biking to and from Lolla each day is another option. 

Divvy is Chicago’s scooter and bike share program that you can use to get to the festival. You can also bring your own bike. Either way, Lollapalooza offers a complimentary bike valet service that you can make use of while there! 

🌯 Food: There’ll be tons of local food vendors cooking up plenty of Chicago food staples. The food is surprisingly good, but it's also pricey. 

I paid $12.29 for two egg rolls which barely filled me up, and another day I paid $15.65 for a decent sized naan chicken burrito.

Cashless Lolla PayPal Venmo
Cashless Lollapalooza Food

Your wristband will enable you to leave the park and re-enter once per day. So you will have a chance to step out to find cheaper food. 

There’s also the Seated app that offers up to 30% cash back rewards on your meal tab at many Chicago city restaurants. It’s another option if you prefer to sit down for a nicer meal.

Earn Spending Cash: Budgeting for extra cash to pay for food and merch can make a big difference in how you experience Lollapalooza. 

Gig apps such as Field Agent and Observa can help you make extra money in your hometown or while in Chicago.

Case in point, my flight arrived in Chicago 4.5 hours earlier than my friend. I took this extra time to grab myself a Starbucks coffee, check out the Magnificent Mile shops, and complete a quick Field Agent gig job.

The gig took 5 minutes to complete and paid $5 (it only required me to snap 2 pictures!). There were other gigs available in the area, but I opted to enjoy my time doing some sightseeing while I waited for my friend.

It’s a fun way to make extra money for the Lollapalooza festival or for whenever you may need it! Download Field Agent.

Lollapalooza Festival Packing List 2024

Now that you have an idea of what to expect when you arrive, let’s dive into what to pack for Lollapalooza. This list is meant to be your ultimate Lollapalooza festival packing list!

Festival Packing List

Feel free to save this festival checklist on Pinterest, so you can come back to it later. I've also compiled a #FestivalEssentials list in my Amazon storefront for you.

1. Hydration Pack

The Lollapalooza water bottle policy states that you can bring EMPTY reusable water bottles and hydration packs, and plastic or aluminum water bottles.

I would definitely recommend bringing a hydration pack to fill up at any of the free water stations around the park. 

Hydration pack lollapalooza

It’ll save you a bunch of money, especially when you consider that the Liquid Death water being sold at Lollapalooza cost $5.46 a can!

CamelBak hydration packs are allowed at the festival and are the most common worn packs by festival-goers. They are the best of the best, but you can also find cheaper brands out there that offer something similar.

If you prefer to use a reusable water bottle, then the Yeti Yonder is durable enough and will easily latch onto your backpack with a clip.

CamelBak Lollapalooza
Yeti Yonder Lollapalooza

Hydration Packs Bag Policy

According to Lollapalooza, ‘Hydration packs are allowed and do not need to be clear, but must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.'

2. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a festival necessity that can not be forgotten. 

It’s particularly essential for bathroom breaks as the porta-potties tend to get a bit disgusting and the sanitizer liquid pumps often run out.

3. Clear Backpack

Per festival guidelines, if you plan to bring a backpack then it must be a clear see thru bag. Pack your festival essentials but don’t overpack. 

Clear Backpack Lollapalooza

One sticking point I had at the festival was the few backpacks I encountered that were filled to the brim. 

If you plan to get up close to the stage, then heavily packed backpacks can poke the person behind you and be a hassle to carry overall.

What is the Bag Policy at Lollapalooza?

According to Lollapalooza, ‘All bags will be searched before entry. CLEAR bags must be made up of clear plastic, vinyl, or pvc, and no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″.

Small clutch purses and fanny packs that are 6″ x 9″ or smaller do not need to be clear, but can have no more than one pocket.'

4. Sunscreen

The sun can be unforgiving and standing around for hours watching performers without sunscreen is a big no-no! 

Keep your skin protected and make sure to bring a small bottle of sunscreen to re-apply throughout the day.

Lollapalooza Sunscreen Policy

According to Lollapalooza, ‘Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is allowed in the size of 3.4 ounces or less.'

5. Portable Charger

If you’re spending all day at the festival, then bring a portable charger with you.

The last thing you want is to have your phone run out of battery while you’re looking for your friends in the crowd.

Anker portable chargers are small and powerful, and highly recommended if you want a quality charger at an affordable price.

Anker Portable charger Lollapalooza

6. Flushable Wipes

Want to stay fresh and clean at Lolla? 

Then pick up some flushable wipes. This basic toiletry item is another festival must have to not skip out on! 

Ibotta toiletry offers

Many of my smaller toiletry items I purchased in-store using digital coupons from the Ibotta app. They often times have great rebate offers at Walmart, Target, CVS and other stores! Read my full Ibotta review.

7. Ear Plugs

If your ears are sensitive to loud noise or if you want to protect your hearing then pick up some ear plugs. 

I personally didn’t use ear plugs, but there were a handful of people noticeably using ear protection plugs.

Music Festical Ear Plugs

8. Sunglasses

The bright lights coming from the stage paired with that of the rays from the sun can have you squinting all day long. 

Grab yourself a pair of UV protection sunglasses that you wouldn’t mind losing if it came to that.

Sunglasses lollapalooza

We came across plenty of sunglasses on the ground that were undoubtedly lost during a fun day of fist-pumping and jamming with the music!

9. Convertible Travel Wrap Scarf

In 2023, Lollapalooza added new items to the prohibited list which included blankets, sheets and towels.

I found it strange seeing that most people bring these items with them to sit on the ground and enjoy the day with friends.

Either way, there is a workaround to this and that’s to bring a convertible travel scarf that converts into a blanket. 

The Zero Grid company offers one with hidden pockets where you can stash your debit / credit cards, tampons and other small items.

10. Cushioning Insoles for Sneakers

Grant Park covers a large area and you’ll find yourself walking around a lot to get to the different stages.

I would highly recommend getting Dr. Scholl's cushioning insoles for extra comfort and support.

Cushioning Insoles for Sneakers

Do not buy new sneakers unless you’re ok with throwing them out after the long weekend. The ground can get really muddy, especially if it rains or even drizzles a little. 

On our last day at the Lollapalooza festival, the weather was cloudy with scattered showers. 

There was no way to avoid the mud and I ended up throwing out my sneakers that night. 

Lollapalooza Rain Mud
Lollapalooza Festival

It would have been much cheaper to bring old sneakers with sneaker cushion insoles instead!

11. Green Superfood Stick Packs

Revitalizing after a day of eating and drinking at the Lolla festival is key to keeping your immune system healthy and strong all weekend long! 

One of the best things you can put on your music festival essentials list is Bloom super greens powder mix

Add some to your water, stir, and drink it each night to give your immune system a boost and to keep your energy levels high!

12. Rain Poncho

Make sure to pack a rain poncho. You’ll be happy to have one if it starts to drizzle or rain like it did when we were there. 

Umbrellas are on the prohibited list so leave those at home.

Festival rain ponchos

13. Bra Wallet

If you prefer a hands-free experience at Lolla, then get yourself a bra wallet for your cards and money. 

Sometimes, less is WAY better! 

Festival Bra Wallets

14. Portable Neck Fan

If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a good breeze at Lollapalooza Chicago. 

On the other hand, when you’re packed in like sardines at the front of the stage, then good luck feeling that breeze!

In those cases, and when there’s simply no wind relief from the sun, having a portable neck fan will be your saving grace!

Portable Neck Fan

15. Meta Smart Glasses

These days, it’s second nature to take out your phone and hit record while your favorite artist is on stage performing.

But here’s a novel idea….how about living for the moment and experiencing the concert ‘live’ while it’s happening now?

Meta Smart Glasses for Music Festival

You can do that by using meta-smart glasses such as Ray-Ban's to enjoy the concert and record memories to save and watch later.

They're a bit pricey, but if you use the Rakuten Chrome extension you'll find the best deal online!

What NOT to Bring to Lollapalooza 

This Lollapalooza festival packing list wouldn’t be complete without also mentioning what not to bring. Keep the below items at home. They are not allowed inside.

  • Aerosol containers, including sunscreen and personal beauty products. NOTE: Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is allowed in the size of 3.4 ounces or less
  • Blankets, Sheets, Towels (this was recently added to the Lolla prohibited list in 2023)
  • Frisbees
  • Coolers of any kind(Exceptions may be made for medical use)
  • Framed backpacks, multiple pocket back packs and any pack that is not aligned with the allowed backpacks above.
  • Any and all professional audio recording equipment
  • Professional cameras and professional recording (photo, video, audio) equipment (NO large professional detachable zoom lenses, stands, monopods, tripods, attachment sticks (selfie sticks) or other commercial equipment.
  • Drones or any other remote flying device
  • Hammocks
  • Glass containers of any kind
  • Illegal and Illicit substances of any kind
  • Outside food or beverage (including alcohol) of any kind
  • Umbrellas
  • Pets (except service animals)
  • Selfie sticks
  • Skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts or any personal motorized vehicles
  • Tents, canopies, or shade structures of any kind
  • Totems or flag poles.
  • Unauthorized/unlicensed vendors are not allowed. No unauthorized solicitation and materials including handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, giveaways, samples, etc.
  • Weapons or explosives of any kind
  • Fireworks
  • Large chains or spiked jewelry
  • Carts of any kind (including Red Wagons)
  • Chairs of any kind
  • All Chicago parks prohibit smoking of any kind, including vaping.

Lolla Bodegas

In the event you forgot something at home or in the hotel, then look for the Lolla Bodegas at the festival.

Lolla

There you’ll find all sorts of festival survival necessities such as sunscreen, fanny packs, sunglasses, water bottles, snacks and more! You’re bound to find what you’re looking for at the Bodega!

I hope you enjoyed my festival checklist! 

If you’re looking for ways to make extra spending cash to take with you, then read my free money sign up bonus offers list next.

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