Taylor Swift, sports and more bring big crowds

Summer has arrived in Chicago. Perhaps unofficially, but sunny days, high temperatures and a variety of events across the city can only mean one thing: Summer living has certainly arrived.

Chicago will be bustling with sporting and live entertainment events all weekend, prompting officials and organizers to caution citizens about traffic and big crowds.

In a news release Thursday afternoon, the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (emphasized “increased activity with summer festival and event season underway” and asked concertgoers and nearby residents “to remain vigilant for everyone’s safety.”

Sky center Elizabeth Williams and Mystics center Shakira Austin battle for the opening tip of the home opener at Wintrust Arena on May 26, 2023.

Starting off Friday, a Chicago Sky game, a White Sox game, a Two Friends concert, the first Soldier Field show of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Chicago stop and more will coalesce in busy neighborhoods during rush hour.

Expressing concerns about traffic congestion around Wintrust Arena, 200 E. Cermak Road, the Chicago Sky scheduled their Friday game against the New York Liberty for 5 p.m.

About a 2-mile drive away at Soldier Field, 1410 Special Olympics Drive, doors for Friday’s Eras Tour show will open at 4:30 p.m. For those who purchased Soldier Field parking, this will be available starting at 2 p.m. Opening acts are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m., with Swift beginning her three-hour set at 8 p.m.

“Due to several events occurring around the city and the Museum Campus, fans are strongly encouraged to arrive early,” according to Soldier Field’s Eras Tour event page. “Traffic will be heavy so please plan your travel accordingly and take public transit when possible.”

For more information about Soldier Field Eras Tour pickup, parking and public transportation, see the Tribune’s in-depth guide.

Right across Museum Campus’ Burnham Harbor at Huntington Bank Pavilion in Northerly Island, 1300 S. Linn White Drive, EDM duo Two Friends will have a concert Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“With several concurrent events happening around Museum Campus this weekend, including the Two Friends concert at Northerly Island on Friday, fans are encouraged to arrive early for screening process and to allow extra time due to the increased traffic and activity in the Soldier Field area,” said the OEMC’s news release.

For baseball fans, the White Sox will face off against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W. 35th St., at 7:10 p.m. Friday.

But that’s not all. Beginning Friday at 1 p.m. through Tuesday, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists will bring almost 37,000 physicians to a convention in McCormick Place’s South Building, North Building, Lakeside Center and Arie Crown Theater.

This convention is particularly relevant for Swift fans planning to find parking the day of any of the Eras shows, as 31st Street McCormick Place Lot B at 3050 S. Moe Drive will offer $50 parking with shuttle services to Soldier Field from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Off-site parking for the Eras Tour is also available at McCormick Place Lot D, 1832 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, which is a 10-minute walk to the Soldier Field.

OEMC also reminded residents and visitors that pre-race activity is set to begin Friday in Grant Park ahead of the NASCAR Chicago Street Race on July 1-2. Parking restrictions will begin at 2 a.m. Friday along southbound Columbus Drive between Jackson Drive and Balbo Drive. Significant street closures, however, won’t begin until June 25.

Less likely to affect downtown traffic congestion is the Do Division Street Fest on West Town’s Division Street between Damen Avenue and Leavitt Street (2000-2200 W. Division St.). The festival — which will feature live music, family entertainment, small businesses and local retailers and boutiques — will begin Friday from 5 to 10 p.m. and continue Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. each day.

Wendy Murphy and Barbara Travis dance during the Chicago Gospel Music Festival in Millennium Park in 2015.

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival will begin at noon Saturday at Cloud Gate Plaza, and run there until 5:45 p.m., kicking off the summer music season at Millennium Park. The festival — which is expected to draw a crowd of 12,000 — will continue over at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion from 5:30 to 9 p.m. with Grammy Award winners Karen Clark Sheard and Tye Tribbett.

Event entrances for the Gospel Music Festival will be located at Randolph Street and Monroe Street. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion event entrances will open approximately 90 minutes before start time.

Parking garages close to Millennium Park include the Millennium Park Garage, Millennium Lakeside Garage, Grant Park North Garage and Grant Park South Garage — all of which will likely be brimming with Eras Tour concertgoers, given their proximity to Soldier Field. Furthermore, Millennium Park is served by the CTA Red Line (Lake) and buses No. 3, 4 and 146, all public transportation methods that Swift’s fans might be hoping to use during the weekend.

Saturday will be the second night of Swift’s three-night stop in Chicago and the Friday schedule for the concert will apply for the Saturday and Sunday shows as well, with Museum Campus parking opening at 2 p.m., stadium doors opening at 4:30 p.m., opening acts beginning at 6:30 p.m. and Swift taking the stage from 8 to 11 p.m.

Marathon runners head down Lake Shore Drive on Oct. 9, 2022.

Significant street closures will occur this weekend in the Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Douglas Park neighborhoods for the Bank of America 13.1 race on Sunday, which expects 7,000 participants, according to the OEMC. There will be a 1.31-mile Wellness Walk Saturday at 10 a.m. and a Run Jump Throw at 11 a.m. The actual race will be Sunday, with wheelchair start slated for 6:50 a.m. and race start for 7 a.m.

Taylor Swift, sports and more bring big crowds

Afternoon Briefing


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Street closures will occur from 6 a.m. to approximately 11 a.m. and include McCrea Drive from Schraeder Drive to its end until June 6; Washington Boulevard from Hamlin to Schraeder Drive, from Saturday to Monday; and also from Saturday to Monday, Warren Boulevard from Washington Boulevard to Homan; Central Park Avenue from Madison to Lake Street; and Schraeder from Hamlin to Washington.

A brochure with a full list of street closures for the half-marathon can be found on the race’s website at chicago13point1.com. No-parking zones along the course will be enforced beginning at 1 a.m. Sunday. People who live on one of the streets along the race route must move their vehicles to another location off the course by Saturday.

Traffic crawls along on the Kennedy Expressway near Irving Park Road as a three-year construction project begins on the Kennedy on March 21, 2023.

Drivers should also account for Kennedy Expressway construction, which is currently in its first phase along a 7.5-mile stretch from the split at I-94 south to Ohio Street, and at the massive underpass near Hubbard Street downtown. Construction began with the inbound, or southbound, lanes, where closures began mid-March. Two regular inbound lanes will be closed at a time, and the reversible express lanes in the center of the highway will remain open in the inbound direction at all times.

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, northbound North DuSable Lake Shore Drive was reduced to two lanes between LaSalle Drive and Lawrence Avenue for resurfacing work, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Ramps will be closed one at a time for approximately one hour each as work progresses north. Lanes will reopen at approximately 6 a.m.

Beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive was reduced to one lane between Lawrence Avenue and Irving Park Road. The southbound entrance ramp at Lawrence and the exit and entrance ramp at Wilson Avenue, Montrose Avenue and Irving Park will be closed. Lanes will reopen at approximately 7 a.m.

Work on DuSable Lake Shore Drive will include a signed reduced speed limit of 35 mph.

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