May 21, 2018 – Five days ago, StarWars.com made a surprise announcement that the next Star Wars Celebration would be held in Chicago for five days, April 11-15th, 2019.
Selecting the Windy City, a first-time host for the convention, caught the vast majority of fans by surprise. Many had been speculating that Disney would steer the mega-event to either Anaheim (a previous host in 2015) or Orlando (three-time host in 2010, 2012 and 2017) in order to promote the opening of Disney’s new themed land, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019.
Chicago’s McCormick Place: How to Get There
Chicago will make a great host city for the five-day convention as it sits in the midsection of North America, and the city boasts it has the continent’s largest convention center, McCormick Place.
McCormickPlace.com is the convention website, offering useful information on directions, parking options ($36 prepaid per day!), public transportation, food and other information.
Past visitors have complained that McCormick Place is a bit out of the way. But the new CTA station, Cermack-McCormick Place on the Green Line, is walkable if a bit inconvenient. (See map below. Esimated walk is about 8-9 minutes for the one mile walk.) A better option might be Uber or a taxi if you want to save some walking and if your budget allows:
● Uber fare estimator
● Taxi fare esimator
Be prepared to do a lot of walking, both to and within the convention center.
If you are flying to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, the drive to McCormick Place is just under 18 miles (about an hour) via I-90 E and I-90/I-94. Alternatively, if coming via I-290 E, the drive is about 22 miles and about one hour.
For some flyers, Chicago’s Midway International Airport might offer lower fares when booking your airline tickets. The airport is located about 8 miles from the Loop (central area of the city). So be sure to enter both airport codes online when comparing airline prices. For most flyers, airport choice might not make that much of a difference.
Once you have selected your hotel, a Chicago friend’s couch, or I’m-sleeping-under-a-windy-bridge location, visit the CTA’s (Chicago Transit Authority) planning site to help navigate from point to point. The CTA site also lists current fare prices.
In short, a single-ride disposable “Ventra Ticket” (bus and rail) costs $3.00. A single-ride bus-only fare is $2.50. A 1-day unlimited ride (bus and rail) disposal Ventra Ticket is $10.00, good for 24 hours from time of activation. A 1-Day CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) Fun Pass costs $10.00 and a 3-Day CTA Pass is $20.00. There are many other fare options you can read about HERE.
Another option may be coach buses making direct trips between certain hotels and McCormick Place. Details are not yet available, but check back in the near future at StarWarsCelebration.com or ask your hotel.
And if you’re thinking of renting a car, good luck with finding parking in the city, road congestion and high parking fees. Public transportation might be easier on your nerves and wallet.
NOTE: Some of the prices in the above 2012 video have increased.
Chicago Weather in April
Of course it will be chilly. It’s Chicago in April! The average high is 56° F (13°C) and the average low is 43° (6°C). Bring your umbrella as the unpredictable weather averages 9 rainy days in April. Sunrise is 6:17 AM and sunset is 7:27 PM (April 11th).
Next year’s Celebration may be the most expensive yet. First, it will run for a record five days long (versus the 3 days held in London in 2016 and the 4 days in Orlando in 2017). Second, Chicago hotel room rates are on the high side. So if you want to secure lodging anywhere near McCormick Place or at least convenient to public transportation, reserve your room(s) as soon as possible. Some hotels are already sold out.
TIP: Split your hotel fee with a buddy. Flying solo and don’t know anyone? You can still find a potential hotel-roommate by joining one of several “Star Wars Celebration” Facebook groups, making friends and asking about. Just do your homework and your due-diligence first so you don’t end up with an unpleasant surprise.
Booking.com, Kayak.com and Trivago.com are some of the more popular booking sites. Fuel prices are ending their four-year low and surely creeping up, and inflationary pressure (with record low unemployment) will affect prices across the board. So book early if possible.
Another option is to reserve a room or apartment via AirBNB. Be wary of unscrupulous hosts, however, who might be tempted to “cancel” your reservation a month before – once they find out how much more they could have charged for the Celebration crowds. For trustworthiness, consider the number of star ratings the host has versus a newer host.
Celebration Ticket Prices
Whether you will be attending one day, just the weekend, all five days, or seek a VIP pass, ticket prices will be announced shortly.
Tickets for Star Wars Celebration Chicago will go on sale online on June 5th starting at 12:00 noon Central (US) time. So set your alarms. Purchase them exclusively at StarWarsCelebration.com.
Ticket prices at past Celebrations have been reasonable. For example, for a four-day Adult Pass, admission prices were:
● $150.00 (Celebration Orlando 2017)
● $140.00 (Celebration Anaheim 2015)
● $135.00 (Celebration VI in Orlando, 2012)
● $120.00 (Celebration V in Orlando, 2010)
If you had attended Celebration in Europe, prices for a three-day Adult Pass were:
● £70 /$102.28 (Celebration Europe in London, 2016)
● €95 /$124.02 (Celebration Europe II in Messe Essen, Germany, 2013)
If you are interested in obtaining a VIP Pass, keep in mind that they sell out within the first 15-30 minutes, and the StarWarsCelebration.com site will crash from heavy traffic. But keep trying. Past year’s prices have been:
● 2017 Orlando: $700 Jedi Master VIP, limted to _?_
● 2016 London: £350 ($517.03) Jedi Master VIP, ltd. 200
● 2015 Anaheim: $900 Jedi Master VIP, ltd. 50, and $450 Jedi Knight VIP, ltd. 250.
● 2013 Germany: 500€ Jedi Master VIP, ltd. 250.
● 2012 Orlando: $850 Jedi Master VIP, ltd. 50, and $400 Jedi Knight VIP, ltd. 250.
● 2010 Orlando: $750 Jedi Master Package, ltd. 50, and $350 Jedi Knight Package, ltd. 250.
You can read the full article comparing Celebration prices over the years HERE.
Autograph and Photo-Op Prices for 2019 TBD
It’s all too easy to spend hundreds, even a couple thousand dollars, for autographs and photo opportunities with your favorite Star Wars celebrities. The list of actors and other celebrities (and prices) have not yet been announced, and probably will not be until much closer to (think several months before) Celebration Chicago opening its doors. But if you wish to compare the Celebration Orlando 2017 autograph prices, click HERE.
Other Things to See and Do in Chicago (Besides Attending Star Wars Celebration)
So start planning now. Start saving funds. And dream of your adventure in Chicago in April, 2019.