Windy City Smokeout 2024: Bag policy, transit options, tickets and more

Musical headliners include Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood — but food will also be the star of the festival, with pitmasters from Chicago and across the country firing up at the United Center.

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Stalls line the parking lot of the United Center on Saturday at the Windy City Smokeout in 2023.

Stalls line the parking lot of the United Center at the Windy City Smokeout in 2023.

Pat Nabong / Sun-Times

It’s time again for a Chicago-style hoedown.

Windy City Smokeout returns to the city Thursday through Sunday, bringing some of country music’s biggest names to a stage outside the United Center.

Headliners include Thomas Rhett, Parker McCollum, Cody Johnson and Carrie Underwood.

The four-day festival has more than just music though — Chicagoans can indulge in some Southern barbecue from a wide array of vendors.

Chicago’s own Lexington Betty Smokehouse and Green Street Smoked Meats will be in good company with eateries from Texas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas City and more.

Here’s what to know before you go:

How can I get tickets to Windy City Smokeout?

Four-day general admission wristbands are sold out, but daily wristbands are still available on the event’s website.

Daily general admission tickets range from $69 to $89, not including fees. VIP admission is also available, costing $1,449 without fees for a four-day pass.

What is the bag policy at Windy City Smokeout?

All bags must be 10-by-6-by-2 inches or smaller — about the size of a small clutch or purse. Limited exceptions will be made for diaper bags and medical bags.

What can and can’t I bring?

The festival allows empty reusable water bottles and hydration packs, strollers, basic cameras and nonaerosol sunscreen in containers smaller than 3.4 ounces.

Fans should leave coolers, outside food and drink, chairs, glass, weapons, umbrellas, pets, bikes, scooters and skateboards at home.

Check Windy City Smokeout’s website for a full list of prohibited items.

How do I get to Windy City Smokeout?

The event will take place in United Center Parking Lot C, at 1901 W. Madison St.

Ride hailing: Fans can take use ride-hailing apps such as Uber or Lyft to take them to the festival. All pickups and drop-offs will be in Lot E, at Madison and Wood streets.

Public transit: The CTA Illinois Medical District Blue Line stop is about a 12-minute walk from the United Center. Several CTA bus lines also drop off near the venue.

For those coming from the suburbs, CTA No. 20 and No. 126 buses connect Union Station and the United Center. The No. 20 bus stops near the Ogilvie Transportation Center.

The RTA has an interactive map that travelers can use to find the best transit options.

Parking: There is no public parking on-site.

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