City officials on Wednesday afternoon offered detailed plans for Friday's victory parade and rally for the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.
The parade will begin at the United Center at 10:30 a.m. Spectators can begin lining up at Des Plaines Street and West Washington Boulevard. The parade will make its way east on Washington to North Michigan Avenue, then head north to East Randolph Street before heading east to South Columbus Drive and south to Hutchinson Field in Grant Park.
Access to the park, beginning at 8 a.m., will be limited to two entrances: one at Michigan and Congress and another at Michigan and Jackson.
Jumbotons will be situated throughout the park to aid in viewing.
Spectators are strongly urged to prepare for road closures in the area beginning early Friday morning. Public transportation will be the best bet for gaining access to the area, officials said.
Monica McMillan-Robinson, a transportation manager with the Chicago Transit Authority, said the Red, Blue and Yellow lines will run more frequent service on Friday morning. Longer trains will run on other lines. Additionally, 18 bus routes will be temporarily detoured in and around the downtown area. A detailed list was posted to TransitChicago.com.
Metra will also be adding service to most of its lines and will offer a special one-day $5 unlimited ticket.
Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy stressed that measures were being taken to ensure the event is family friendly. That includes a "zero tolerance" policy for alcohol. Coolers will not be allowed into the park. Additionally, large bags and backpacks will be subject to a thorough search, and any search is likely to delay entrance into the park, he said.
McCarthy said both uniformed and plain-clothed officers will be on duty, as will be a number of bomb-sniffing dogs.
He said, however, there were "no known threats to Chicago or this particular event or rally."
The weather on Friday is expected to be warm and humid with a chance of rain and storm. Water vendors will be available throughout the park so fans can stay hydrated.
If there's one thing you can count on, it's that the event will be crowded.
The last celebration, in 2010, was one of the biggest public events the city had ever seen. City officials estimated the crowd at roughly two million people.
A ticker tape-covered crowd stretched all the way to Grant Park, and throngs of fans crowded the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue to celebrate that Stanley Cup victory.
The mayor's office alluded that this year's setup will be similar to 2010.
- 2010: Parade of Champions
Friday's Parade Route:
View Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Victory Parade in a larger map