What You Need to Know About the Lawn Experience at Ravinia

What You Need to Know About the Lawn Experience at Ravinia

It’s time to pull your picnic baskets and roller-coolers out of storage. The Ravinia schedule has been announced and tickets are going fast! Ravinia Festival is a summer staple in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park and this year is no exception. The festival spans from June 9th through September 11th and includes big name acts such as Carrie Underwood, Steely Dan, and Maroon 5 (full schedule available at Ravinia.org).

Ravinia Gate

Image Credit: Ravinia.org

If you are planning a trip out to Ravinia this summer, there are a few ways to enjoy the show including reserved open-air pavilion seating and terrace dining, but the most popular is the lawn experience.

There are a few things you should know about the lawn if you have never been to Ravinia. It’s important to note that you cannot see the performance from most areas of the lawn. However, there are many strategically-placed speakers so you can still enjoy the music you came for while taking in the lawn atmosphere. And if you wish, you may stand near the back or along the sides of the pavilion with your lawn ticket to see the performer(s) on stage.


Get there early, especially for the sold-out shows. Gates open two hours prior to the show time, and lines do form to get onto the lawn. If you are going with a date and do not need much room this may not apply to you, but if you’re meeting friends for an all-out smorgasbord you’ll want to reserve adequate space.

Go crazy. You would not be the first one to bring a roll-up picnic table, fine wine and glasses, and a gourmet spread if you chose to do so. Make sure your food is already prepared, as grills are not permitted in the park.

Here are some other items you must leave at home:

  • Tents, Canopies
  • Umbrellas over 6 feet in diameter
  • Anything that can be staked into the ground (tiki torches, beverage holders)
  • Pets or other animals (Service Animals and Guide Dogs are permitted)
  • Beer kegs
  • Bicycles, scooters, in-line skates (not allowed inside the park, but there are bike racks available near the box office if you ride to the park)
  • Ball games, frisbees (other table games are appropriate, as some people play cards or Scrabble while waiting for a performance to begin)
  • Weapons
  • Photographic, video and audio recording equipment
  • Smokers must go to designated areas outside of the park gates, Ravinia is a smoke-free environment

Get comfortable. You’ll be there for a while so you might as well get comfy. Bring your favorite lawn or camping chair, blankets and make yourself at home for a night under the stars.

Ravinia at Night

Ravinia at Night (image credit: Ravinia.org)

Don’t stress. If you don’t feel like hauling everything out there, you can rent or buy most of it at the park. They have on-site restaurants and food kiosks that offer everything from gourmet cheeses and spreads to citronella candles and matches. You can even order a PICNIC BOX up to 48 hours prior to the show and the food will be ready for you when you get there. Lawn chairs and side tables can be rented ($7 for one chair or $14 for two chairs and a side table) as well. Pretty convenient for the city-dweller making a trek out to the ‘burbs.

Enjoy yourself. That’s what it’s all about, folks. Eat good food, drink nice wine, and sit under the stars while listening to beautiful music. Does it get any better than that?

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