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SummerArts: Outdoor Venues

Ravinia (Highland Park, IL)

Ravinia Park, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park

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(June-September) With its long history, beautiful atmosphere, and a yearly roster full of great performing artists in all genres (Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, B.B. King, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, etc), Ravinia has become a beloved tradition for many Chicago-area residents. To some, who set their picnic tables with candelabras and feasts fit for the gods, it’s nearly sacred.

Some festival goers are less than impressed, complaining that despite lawn seats costing up to $25, you can’t actually see the stage from them, and the big-name concerts are so crowded that it’s even a challenge to simply relax in the grass and enjoy the music. Furthermore, traveling to Ravinia, located out in suburban Highland Park, can be a pain in the neck because of limited parking and an overwhelmed Metra full of thousands of festival attendees.

Ravinia’s most satisfied customers are invariably those that stick to going to the less popular (but as excellent) classical music programs, or those who pay extra for reserved Pavilion seats.

Ravinia (Highland Park, IL) Information

  • Public Transportation: Good (Easily accessible via Metra; also free Park ‘n’ Ride bus available)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Performances/Programs: Annual summer festival taking place from late May to mid-September; also offers indoor Rising Stars concerts from October to May. Performances almost every day
  • Ticket Prices: Lawn seats are $3–$25. Reserved seats $20–$100. Premium-priced seats $75–$250. $5 lawn tickets are available for children 10 and younger. Some concerts and master classes offered free of charge. Free lawn passes are available for college students for Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts and Martin Theatre concerts on the evening of performance. Students may also purchase available reserved-seat tickets for these same concerts for only $10 with valid ID (one ticket per ID). Reserved seat tickets may be exchanged up to 24 hours before the date of the concert. Dated lawn tickets may not be exchanged
  • Group Discounts: Discounts for groups of 20 or more available for Rising Stars concerts
  • Educational/Community Outreach: Educational initiatives include the Steans Institute for Young Artists professional studies program, and Ravinia U—which has online courses that tell you about the kinds of classical music that is performed at the actual festival.