Everything to Know About the Women's March in Chicago

A spokesperson for the event said “interest is pretty consistent with last year," which became the second-largest in the country next to Washington D.C.

Nearly one year after hundreds of thousands of women made history marching in dozens of cities across the country and around the world, women and their supporters will once again descend on Chicago streets. 

This year's rally and march, dubbed a "March to the Polls" is slated to take place Saturday, aiming “to energize women and allies to turn voices into votes.” 

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“The City has worked with the march organizers to ensure the appropriate staffing and resources are allocated for the event, while also ensuring appropriate coverage throughout the city,” Alicia Tate-Nadeau, OEMC executive director, said in a statement. "As always, the city will ensure the First Amendment rights of those participating in the march as well as the safety and security of residents and visitors in the area."

Here's a look at what you need to know before the weekend event. 


The event is a continuation of last year's historic Women’s March, which swept the country as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators hit streets nationwide. It is one of hundreds of events planned worldwide this weekend, organizers said. 

“As we approach local, mid-term, and gubernatorial elections in 2018, it’s even more critical that women are engaged and involved. If we want to see progress in this city, state, and country we need women’s votes, voices, and leadership," organizer Jessica Scheller said in a statement. 

This year’s march takes place at a time when women are speaking out more than ever, highlighting sexual harassment and the abuse of power in Hollywood, politics, news and more.


The event will begin at 9 a.m. with music and videos playing as marchers gather at Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive – the site of last year’s “historic inaugural march.”

A rally is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. followed by a march at 12:30 p.m.

Here's the full schedule:

9 a.m. Music and video.

11 a.m. Fawzia Mirza, Chicago actor, writer, and producer, returns as emcee.

12:30 – 1:30 March to Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn St.


Marchers will gather at Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive for a rally before marching to Federal Plaza. 

Persons with Disabilities may enter at southwest corner of Monroe and Columbus. An accessible viewing area near rally stage will offer seating, space for those needing close proximity and/or access to ASL interpreters, Open Captioning, Assistive Listening Devices, and Audio Description. Available on first-come first-serve basis.

March will proceed west on Congress Parkway to Michigan Avenue, north to Jackson Boulevard, west to Dearborn Street, north to Randolph Street and west to Clark Street, south on Clark to Federal Plaza.

Route for participants with disabilities will proceed along Jackson Drive to Michigan Avenue.


Performances by:

Bryant Jones Choir, featuring Deborah Lane

The Cast of Hamilton, featuring Ari Asfar

Bridget Marie, ZaZaZa Disco

Cast Members from Second City's She the People

Faces for Radio

Lights of Zion

DJ Heather


Tahera Ahmad, Associate Chaplain and Director of Interfaith engagement, Northwestern University

Bridget Gainer, Cook County Commissioner

Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General

Quiana McKenzie, Regional Campaign Finance Advisor, Emily's List

Channyn Lynne Parker, Transgender Activist

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Bill Foster, U.S. House of Representatives

Chakena Sims, Board of Directors, Chicago Votes

Tom Steyer, Founder and President, NextGen America

K. Sujata, President and CEO, Chicago Foundation of Women

Celina Villanueva, New Americans Democracy Project, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Suzette Wright, former Chicago Ford Assembly Plant employee

Kim Foxx, Cook County State's Attorney

Anna Valencia, City Clerk of Chicago

Asha Binbek, Council on American-Islamic Relations - CAIR

Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley, League of Women Voters


As of Tuesday, more than 26,000 replied on Facebook that they were interested in attending the weekend march.

Still, a spokesperson for the event said Tuesday “interest is pretty consistent with last year.”

In 2017, what was expected to be a 75,000-person march, quickly turned to more than 250,000 as groups descended on Chicago for the largest women’s march in the country outside of Washington D.C.


Organizers did note that while interest is high, the weather will be dramatically different from last year’s event, though they’re “prepared for any and all possibilities.” Last year, saw a day filled with sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures. 

As of Wednesday, meteorologists predict Saturday will see partly sunny skies with temperature highs in the mid-40s. Skies will turn cloudy as rain showers develop during the late-evening hours. 


10 p.m. Friday through 6 p.m. Saturday:

● Columbus Drive, from Monroe Street to Balbo Drive

● Jackson Boulevard from Lake Shore Drive to Michigan Avenue.

● Congress Parkway between Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue and Congress Circle

Once the march steps off, Michigan Avenue will be closed from Randolph Street to Harrison Street and closures on Jackson are expected as far west as LaSalle Street, city officials said. 

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CTA will provide extra bus and rail service for customers attending the march on Saturday, including increased service on the Blue, Brown, Purple, Green and Orange lines from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on the #147 Outer Drive Express bus between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. 

The following bus routes will be rerouted from 8 a.m. until about 4 p.m.:

  • #3 King
  • # 4 Cottage Grove
  • #6 Jackson Park Express
  • #J14 Jeffery Jump
  • #20 Madison
  • #22 Clark
  • #29 State
  • #36 Broadway
  • #56 Milwaukee
  • #60 Blue Island/26 St.
  • #62 Archer
  • #124 Navy Pier
  • #126 Jackson
  • #146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express
  • #147 Outer Drive Express
  • #151 Sheridan

Metra and South Shore Line are also expected to have additional service for the event. Metra plans to have added trains running on the BNSF, UP North, UP Northwest and UP West lines, the rail agency said. 


The drop-off location and pick-up location for ride share services will be at Franklin Street and Van Buren Street.

NOTE: Drop-offs and pick-ups are prohibited on Lake Shore Drive, including on-ramps, off-ramps, medians, turning lanes shoulder and emergency pull-offs. This will be strictly enforced, OEMC said.  


Rally Drop-Off/Pick-Up: The drop-off/pick-up location for people with disabilities is on Monroe, east of Columbus.

March Pick-Up: For those leaving after participating in the march, the pick-up location will be at Columbus Dr. and Monroe St.


OEMC will be monitoring the event, as well as other concurrent events accordingly. Traffic control aides will be on hand to facilitate traffic.

OEMC urges everyone to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity if they see it. If any suspicious criminal activity or suspicious objects are noticed, call 911 or notify on-site law enforcement personnel immediately, officials said.

"Some of these activities could be innocent; however, it’s up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigations so, If You See Something, Say Something," OEMC said in a release. 

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