DOWNTOWN — This is how Chicago plans to welcome a dynasty.
The Blackhawks championship parade will step off at 10 a.m. Thursday beginning at Washington and Racine streets, proceeding east along Washington to Desplaines Street, south on Desplaines to Monroe, and then east on Monroe to Michigan Avenue before ending with a free rally at Soldier Field.
City officials also announced Wednesday afternoon that screens will be added for viewing outside Soldier Field in the stadium's south parking lot.
Tickets to the rally sold out in mere minutes, but lucky Hawks fans will be able park at Soldier Field at 5 a.m. Gates will open at 8 a.m., but city officials said "absolutely no tailgating" will be allowed. The Blackhawks, who are celebrating their third Stanley Cup in six seasons, plan to arrive to the stadium at 11 a.m.
Coolers will not be allowed into the rally, and city officials said there will be "zero tolerance" for drinking in public during the festivities. Monroe Street will also be closed from Halsted Street to Lake Shore Drive beginning at 8 a.m., and access to many parking garages on the thoroughfare could be restricted, city officials warned. Washington from Racine to Desplaines and Desplaines from Washington to Monroe will also be closed.
Additional buses and trains will be made available Thursday morning, but bicycles will not be allowed on L trains. Many Downtown bus routes will also be detoured to make way for the parade.
The party is moving to Soldier Field because conditions are still too wet at Grant Park, where the 2013 rally was held, said city spokeswoman Eve Rodriguez. Soldier Field spokesman Luca Serra said the stadium will install flooring on the field to mitigate damage.
"It'll be just like a concert. We'll just have a different artist up on stage," Serra said.
Fans frustrated by the sold out tickets blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel on social media for having the rally in Soldier Field instead of Grant Park, but he shrugged of naysayers Wednesday.
“The normal place we would do it is Grant Park… Only you [reporters] and my mother would believe I’m responsible for the rain the other day. It would rip [Grant Park] up in a way that would create and millions and millions of dollars worth of damage.
Rodriguez said there is an emergency plan for inclement weather, which "may include seeking shelter in the covered areas of the stadium."
But Serra said the rally is happening "rain or shine."
"The contingency plan is still 'plan A,'" Serra said. "It's no different than a Bears game or concert. People come."
The city has told Hawks fans that Soldier Field will only accept tickets bought through Ticketmaster.
"We urge fans NOT to BUY tickets from any person or website as only free tickets obtained from Ticketmaster can be verified as valid for entry," the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said in an email. "All others should be assumed to be invalid or counterfeit."
Kelly Bauer says the city is advising against buying tickets online:
The last Blackhawks parade ended in Grant Park. With much of the park still wet from Monday's storms, and potentially more rain on the way, Grant Park's biggest booster said he is glad this year's parade is moving somewhere else.
"It is a wise choice to move the Blackhawks rally to Soldier Field. Grant Park is just too wet and the turf would be trashed but without the funds like with Lolla to repair it," Grant Park Conservancy President Bob O'Neill said in an email. "This will be much better."
Those missing out on the rally can still show their Blackhawks spirit at the Shedd Aquarium or Thursday's White Sox game.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: