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Once again this August, the Lollapalooza music festival rolls into Chicago’s Grant Park for three days of live music August 1 through August 3. This year’s acts include a diverse range of musicians that span the gamut from fresh-on-the-scene to straight-up legendary, including Lorde, Outkast, Kings of Leon, and Iggy Azalea.
A Brief History of Lollapalooza
Although Lollapalooza has found a permanent stateside home in Chicago (the annual festival travels to various cities in South America for a few days each summer, too) since 2005, the music festival has a much longer history.
Lollapalooza was originally conceived in 1991 by Perry Farrell, lead singer of the band Jane’s Addiction, as part of a grand farewell tour for the band, pulling in a ton of other popular alternative music acts.
From 1991 to 1996, although Jane’s Addiction was no longer a band, Farrell kept the Lollapalooza festival alive, making pit stops at outdoor venues in large and small cities alike throughout North America. His original vision for the festival celebrated peace and harmony and incorporated a number of aspects of underground culture that weren’t necessarily music-related. Shaolin monks and side-show performers stood together alongside artists peddling their wares and non-profit representatives raising awareness for various political and environmental causes.
Farrell’s involvement with the festival ended in 1997 when he objected to the direction his creation was now taking and decided to focus on other musical projects.
From 1998 through 2003, Lollapalooza quietly faded into the ether. The new promoters were unable to find acts interested in performing and the general public’s interest in alternative rock had dwindled.
In 2003, Perry Farrell resurrected the band Jane’s Addiction and the Lollapalooza festival itself. It wasn’t as successful as initially hoped and the following year, the tour was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.
In 2005, Farrell teamed up with an established concert promoter to produce the festival, making it a three-day event centered in Chicago instead of the multi-city tour it had been in the past. Since then, Lollapalooza has been going strong, although it has changed considerably.
Alternative Flavor: Sites to See In Chicago
Whether you’re a Chi-Town resident or planning to make the trek out to the Windy City for one of the longest-running music festivals today, there are plenty of great Chicago attractions to check out leading up to the show and for continuing the good vibes after the final chords fade. Chicago CityPASS gives you admission to the best attractions in Chicago at a savings of 50%, with VIP and Fast Pass access to boot.
The Chicago Music Exchange
Inspired after seeing some of your favorite artists play live? Why not pick up an instrument of your very own or meet up with other music lovers at the Chicago Music Exchange? Located at 3316 N. Lincoln Avenue, this music store has a huge selection of amazing guitars, drums, and more. Not only do they offer lessons, but the shop attracts music-lovers from around the globe who enjoy chatting about what sounds move them.
Revolution Brewing and Brewpub Tour
Combine your love of craft beer with a love of punk rock and take a tour of Revolution Brewing. Revolution Brewing holds tours of its craft-beer brewery on Kedzie Avenue, where they make a host of unique beers, such as the floral Rosa Hibiscus Ale or the hearty Usethe black lager. The brewpub itself is housed at 2323 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. Revolution Brewing also offers delicious local farm-to-table offerings, with options for both omnivores and vegetarians. From time to time, the pub hosts such events as the Empty Bottle Punk Rock Swap Meet where you can trade music memorabilia and beer-and-food-pairing sessions inspired by punk bands.
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour
Frank Lloyd Wright started an architectural revolution that earned him the title of “the greatest American architect of all time” from the American Institute of Architects. His home in Oak Park, which he built in 1889 at age 22 with $5000 loan from his employer, is now a National Historic Landmark. The home, as well as the studio that Wright added, has been restored to its 1909 condition, the last year Wright lived at the residence. Now open to the public as a museum, this beautiful and educational Chicago attraction allows visitors the opportunity to learn about Wright’s life and work and the influence he had on architecture, both world-wide and in the surrounding area – he designed many nearby homes, too. The museum offers guided tours of the home and studio as well as the neighboring historic district seven days a week.
There are a ton of Chicago attractions to check out in the Second City. Follow the music, grab some deep dish pizza and enjoy some of the unique offerings this metropolis has to offer!
Growing up about 60 miles outside of Boston, I’ve visited the city numerous times over the years: as a kid, mainly on field trips and family excursions; as a young adult, for shopping trips or nights out on the town. Despite all of the trips that have brought me past the Old State House, wedged firmly between the tall commercial buildings of the city’s downtown, I’ve never been inside.
A couple of days ago, my 14-year-old daughter and I visited the Old State House for the first time, and I finally experienced what I’d been missing. As we walked over the short distance from Quincy Market, I made sure to remind her of the building’s significance: Built in 1713 as the colony’s seat of government, it’s essentially where the American Revolution was born.
John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and James Otis gathered in its rooms to argue against British intrusions into their lives. In March of 1770, just outside the building, a skirmish between a wig-maker’s apprentice and a British soldier escalated into the Boston Massacre. The Declaration of Independence was written there and first proclaimed from its balcony.
These events were foremost in my mind as I stepped inside, where the first feature of the building immediately presents itself – a beautiful spiral staircase that winds through the center of the building. We moved through the rooms on the main floor, formerly a Merchant’s Exchange, viewing thought-provoking exhibitions that featured artifacts from the colonial era and explored in detail many events leading up to the Revolution. Upstairs, a restaging of what the Council Chamber looked like during colonial times allows visitors to sit at the meeting table and imagine themselves in the historical moment. There are also two kid-friendly rooms that explain the building’s importance and offer coloring books and interactive exhibits.
As we explored the building and viewed the exhibits, one of the museum’s guides announced she’d be giving a talk on the Boston Massacre. A small group of us gathered, and she led us outside for her presentation. Over the next thirty minutes, she related the factors leading up to the massacre, then told of the event itself and the aftermath. She was clearly very knowledgeable, and she seemed to enjoy explaining the “story behind the story” to us as we stood just a few yards from the site.
Without a doubt, visiting the Old State House is a “must-do” for anyone interested in our nation’s history. Standing in the rooms where our country’s forefathers stood, seeing the many 18th Century objects (both ordinary and extraordinary ones) on display, and learning more of the stories of history was an experience I won’t soon forget.
How does a nation come to grips with one of the most horrific events in its history? Since the 9/11 Museum opened on May 21, more than 430,000 people have visited the expansive underground site to witness the stories and artifacts from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Attendance has exceeded expectations of museum officials, even with the $24 adult entry fee.
Because of the crowds, buying tickets online ahead of time is the best choice. Tickets can be purchased up to three months in advance, and visitors can choose a specific date and entry time. Visitors also go through security screening before entry.
In 110,000 square feet of exhibition space, located seven stories beneath the surface at the World Trade Center site, the museum brings both a personal and historical context to the day’s tragic events. In news reports, many described viewing the 9/11 Museum’s exhibits as an emotional, gut-wrenching experience. Given its scope of content, it’s hard to imagine it being anything but.
The museum is divided into different areas. After descending a gently sloped ramp, the Historical Exhibition introduces visitors the background on the historical and geopolitical events before, during and after 9/11. It encompasses the events at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the story of Flight 93, and even the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
Using artifacts, images, video, first-person testimony, and real-time audio recordings, visitors can view the drama in the hijacked airplanes, the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. There are also riveting accounts of the first responders and civilians who tried to help.
It’s tough to look away from the video of the hijackers going through airport security, and, if the events of the day weren’t enough to bring the horrors home, there’s a video behind a wall (which carries a warning of "particularly disturbing" images) showing people jumping from the burning towers.
The Memorial Exhibition pays tribute to those who perished in the attacks on 9/11 and in 1993. Walking along the “Wall of Faces,” visitors can reach out and use touchscreens to find out additional details about the victims. They include remembrances from family, friends and coworkers.
There are many tangible artifacts too. A sampling includes:
- A charred American flag
- Photos of the 19 hijackers
- A massive steel girder, melted and twisted from the impact of Flight 11
- Shoes from those who fled the burning towers
- Two destroyed fire trucks and a police car
- Firefighters’ crushed helmets
- A note smudged with blood that reads, “84th floor, west office, 12 people trapped.”
Foundation Hall spreads out over a huge space that holds monuments such as the 36-foot-high "Last Column," which was the last standing column in the rubble. It is covered with inscriptions, mementoes and missing persons posters placed by rescue workers and others.
Visitors should expect to spend at least a couple of hours viewing the exhibits.
The museum has had its share of controversy. The $24 admission price has been called high, some of the displays have been called too hard-hitting, and many have questioned the wisdom of having a gift shop. Plans to open a restaurant with waiters, full meals and alcohol were changed to have a simple café that serves pastries, tea and coffee.
Others are upset because there are 8,000 unidentified remains on the grounds, and they object to a commercial operation. The remains have been interred in a tomb behind a wall inscribed with a quote from the Roman poet Virgil: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
The 9/11 Memorial
Back on the surface, the 9/11 Memorial spreads out over 16 acres in the footprint of where the Twin Towers stood. The 2,983 names of the men, women and children killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993, are engraved on the bronze parapets bordering the four-sided waterfalls. Visiting the memorial is free and entry passes are no longer required.
Hours and admission
The 9/11 Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $24 for adults; $18 for 65 and older, and U.S. veterans and college students; and $15 for children 7-17. Younger children get in free.
The memorial is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Access is free. For more information, go to www.911memorial.org.
Admission to the 9/11 Museum is free on Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to close, with the last entry at 7 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available online two weeks in advance of each Tuesday evening, starting at 9 a.m. Same-day tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the ticket windows starting at 4:30 p.m.
The memorial and the museum are located at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan at the intersection of Liberty Street and Greenwich Street. There’s also entry at the intersection of Liberty Street and West Street, and at the intersection of West Street and Fulton Street. Using public transportation is strongly recommended.
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