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Your Guide to Ravinia Festival

Ravinia is North America’s oldest music festival and a favorite destination here on the North Shore. With more than 140 different concerts taking place throughout the summer, ranging from classical music (summer home of Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Ravinia favorites like Sheryl Crow, Tony Bennett and Santana to legends like Aretha Franklin, there’s a little something for everyone at this park. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your visit.
Ravinia Festival Pavilion
Ravinia Festival Pavilion | Photo Courtesy of Ravinia Festival
Where to Sit
When buying tickets, you’ll have to decide if you prefer to sit in the Pavilion, on the Lawn, or want to take advantage of Terrace Seating.
Ravinia’s Pavilion offers a traditional concert experience. You’ll be able to see the performer and you’ll have an assigned seat. However, only drinks bought in Ravinia souvenir cups can be brought into the Pavilion during non-classical concerts. Otherwise, no food or drink (besides water) is allowed here.
Food and drink, including alcohol for guests 21 and older, is allowed on Ravinia’s Lawn, as are chairs, tables and blankets. Spots are first-come, first-served, so make sure to arrive early, especially if you’re visiting with a large group. Guests will not be able to see the Pavilion stage from the Lawn, but some concerts will have screens set up throughout the area. Guests can also stand near the back and sides of the Pavilion to see the stage.
A third seating option, Terrace Seating, is available for select concerts only. This option guarantees you a reserved table at the Park View or Mirabelle restaurants along with full food and drink service throughout the concert. Guests will not be able to see the stage from either restaurant terrace.

#Tablescape situation at the @johnlegend concert @raviniafestival last night.???????? His voice is like a f*cking angel. ??

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What to Pack
If you’ve decided to sit on the Lawn, you are allowed to bring blankets, chairs, tables and food. (You can still bring these items even if you have Pavilion seats, if you’d like to sit on the Lawn before the concert starts. However, these items must be kept on the perimeter of the Pavilion and will be unsupervised during the concert.)
If you prefer to pack light, Ravinia offers rental services. Chairs and tables can be rented online in advance or at the park the day of your concert. Ravinia staff will even take your items to your spot on the Lawn and help you set up. Chairs are $8 each and buffet tables are $10 each when reserved online, which also guarantees availability. Chairs are $10 each and buffet tables are $12 each when rented at the park. Tablecloths are $4. Plus, discounts are available for large groups. Learn more here.
There are also a few items you cannot bring to Ravinia. A full list of prohibited items can be found here.

What's your fave Ravinia picnic food? We choose cheese, please! ?? ??

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Dining Options
When it comes to dining, Ravinia does not disappoint. For a quick and easy option, check out the Picnic Box program. Order your box at least 24 hours in advance and when you arrive at the park, your food will be ready and waiting. You can also find Picnic Box items at Ravinia Market, where you can order even more take-away items like pizza, burgers or salads to create your own picnic.
If you’re looking for a sit-down experience, try Park View or Mirabelle. At Park View, start with Beet Hummus or Guacamole before trying the Mushroom Linguini or Parmesan Crusted Halibut. End dinner with Cappuccino Crunch Pie. And Mirabelle’s buffet features items such as Mediterranean Bruschetta, Miso Glazed Salmon, Roasted Turkey Breast or House Smoked Beef Brisket.
During the concert, you can find FanFare Carts for coffee, wine, beer and soda. And don’t forget the Carousel Ice Cream Shop for a sweet treat.
You can even take advantage of Ravinia Lawn Catering. Everything will be taken care of for you, so you really will be able to enjoy a relaxing evening out with friends and family.
Learn more about all of Ravinia’s dining options here.
Getting to Ravinia
Concert-goers can either drive or take the train to Ravinia. The park’s lot has room for 1,800 cars, but does fill up quickly. If you arrive after the lot has been filled, you can take advantage of Ravinia’s Park ‘N Ride lots, where you will take a free shuttle to the park’s gate. Parking is $25 for pop and jazz concerts, $10 for Pavilion classical concerts and free for kids concerts, dance concerts and performances in the Martin Theatre.
During the summer, Metra’s Union Pacific North Line stops right outside Ravinia’s front gate. Ask for the $8 Ravinia round-trip pass on weekdays, or buy an $8 weekend pass and hop on Metra’s “Ravinia Special” train.
Ravinia Festival
Ravinia Festival Lawn
Can’t-Miss Performances
Now that you know your way around Ravinia, it’s time to buy tickets to some of the summer’s hottest shows. And don’t forget to check out Ravinia’s special offers.
July 2: The Beach Boys and The Temptations | Lawn tickets still available
July 7: Sheryl Crow | Single Pavilion seats, Lawn and Terrace Seating tickets still available
July 12: Joshua Bell | Pavilion and Lawn tickets still available
Aug. 5: Darius Rucker | Pavilion, Lawn and Terrace Seating tickets still available
Aug. 13: Leslie Odom Jr. | Lawn tickets still available
Aug. 18-20: The Lord of the Rings in Concert | Pavilion and Lawn tickets still available
Aug. 28: Pentatonix | Lawn and Terrace Seating tickets still available
Sept. 3: Aretha Franklin | Pavilion, Lawn and Terrace Seating tickets still available
Sept. 9-10: Stevie Nicks | Terrace Seating tickets still available for Sept. 9 & Pavilion, Lawn and Terrace Seating tickets still available for Sept. 10
And if you’re at the park July 11-23, don’t miss The Virtual Orchestra. This virtual-reality experience will put you within the Philharmonia Orchesetra of London.
Don't forget to share your Ravinia experience with us by tagging #chicagonorthshore!

This entry was posted in Music, Outdoors, on June 9, 2017.

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