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Chi-Town Rising Is Back For New Year's 2017. What To Know If You Go

By David Matthews | December 5, 2016 8:08am | Updated on December 27, 2016 10:44am
 A big star on the Chicago River rang in 2016 during the inaugural Chi-Town Rising.
A big star on the Chicago River rang in 2016 during the inaugural Chi-Town Rising.
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DOWNTOWN — Chicago's outdoor New Year's party promises to be "bigger and better" the second time around. 

And free. 

Chi-Town Rising is coming back Downtown to ring in 2017 after drawing a reported 90,000 attendees last year. Like last year, the festival will culminate with a big star rising up the Hyatt Regency hotel, 151 E. Wacker Drive, and fireworks over the Chicago River.

But unlike last year — a ticketed event with prices starting at $119 — this year's festival will be free.

“We surveyed attendees from last year, and we have incorporated their feedback to make this year’s Chi-Town Rising celebration bigger and better," John Murray of Arena Partners, the event's organizer, said in a statement.

New additions to this year's party include a 5K run the morning of New Year's Eve through Millennium, Grant, and Maggie Daley parks; as well as a "silent disco" party with headphones on Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave. 

Here's what to know if you go:

What's the program? 

• The festivities begin with a "Rise & Shine" 5K starting at 9 a.m. in Millennium Park. The race will run through Grant and Maggie Daley parks before ending in Millennium Park. Early bird tickets are available for $35 till Dec. 8. Visit the race's website for more information. 

• A "Family Countdown Celebration" for kids who can't stay up all night will last from 3-6 p.m. in Millennium Park's Wrigley Square at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. The event will include warm drinks, live entertainment and a "halfway to midnight" countdown for little ones.

• The "silent disco" on Pioneer Court will run from 9 p.m.-midnight. Guests will wear headphones and boogie on an interactive dance floor. The disco, sponsored by Corona, will also sell drinks.

• Chi-Town Rising itself has two viewing areas — one on Pioneer Court and another on Upper Wacker Drive — that will guarantee entry till 9 p.m. NBC will begin broadcasting the festivities at 11 p.m.

A map of the Chi-Town Rising festivities. [Chi-Town Rising]

Do I need tickets?

Yes, but they're free. Get them here. All ages are welcome, but curfew laws will be enforced. 

What's prohibited? 

Guests will be wanded and subject to bag searches. Here's what you can't bring:

Bags larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches


Duffel bags

Tote bags

Satchels and briefcases

Luggage of any kind

Oversized purses

Outside food or drinks


Coolers or ice chests

Fireworks, smoke devices, confetti cannons

Weapons of any kind

Laptops, portable speakers or oversized electronics

Poles to display banners or flags

Cameras with lenses longer than 3 inches




Illegal drugs

Laser pointers and devices

Alcoholic beverages

Who's playing? 

Chi-Town Rising aims to bring some more Chicago-centric entertainment this year. 

Indie Pop band Saint Motel and Bronzeville-bred rapper Sir the Baptist will headline this year's party on the Chicago River, according to a press release. 

Chicago's own DJ Sye Young and Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison are also set to perform.

It's cold, I don't want to stand outside on New Year's Eve in Chicago. 

Corona will host a "beach house" party inside the Hyatt Regency's Crystal Ballroom, 151 E. Wacker Drive. Early bird tickets cost $149, which includes food, drinks, and a midnight Prosecco toast. 

Any other associated events? 

Navy Pier, the Hard Rock Café, the Sheraton Grand hotel and Howell's & Hood (the bar inside Tribune Tower) are all hosting their own New Year's events.

Can I just watch on TV? 

NBC and Telemundo will broadcast Chi-Town Rising beginning at 11 p.m.

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