There isn't going to be a better time all year for star sightings in Chicago than this weekend.
Lollapalooza will not only bring 100-plus acts to the city, but also draw dozens of celebrities who are just as excited as the rest of us to watch their favorite bands perform (and, inevitably, celebs who simply come for the parties).
It remains to be seen which stars will be on hand when the annual music festival begins Friday in Grant Park — other than the ones scheduled to perform and make appearances — but it's not hard to guess where many of them will be dining and hanging out when they're not at the festival.
Hard Rock Hotel: Thanks to its blow-out parties in the Fender Ballroom and many gift suites, as well as the Pete Wentz-owned Angels & Kings bar in the lobby, the Hard Rock Hotel has become a must for celebrities during Lollapalooza (some of you might remember that David Arquette and Hayden Panettiere each took advantage of the free tattoos offered there in 2010). This year's CK One-sponsored parties, dubbed Rock The Vote Nights, will feature performances by Haley Reinhart Friday and Childish Gambino (Donald Glover's stage name) Sunday.
Paris Club: The front-runner for Chicago's most popular celebrity hangout in 2012 attracted Arquette, Lindsay Lohan, Jason Sudeikis and Danny and Chris Masterson last year during Lollapalooza. Expect another star-studded weekend this year when Avicii and Kaskade DJ Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at upstairs club Studio Paris.
Board Room: It's best known as the place where a wealthy patron bought Zac Efron a $100,000 bottle of champagne in October, but it's also where Wentz, Dave Grohl, Cee Lo Green and Sean Parker partied during last year's festival. Too Short will perform there Sunday.
The Underground: It's not as new as its competitors, but The Underground is still a favorite among celebrities. Lohan, Arquette, Green, Kellan Lutz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bruno Mars and Nas all stopped by during last year's Lollapalooza. Wyclef Jean is scheduled to perform there Friday.
Sunda: Green, Jimmy Buffett, Rashida Jones and Gloria Estefan have all been spotted at Sunda in the last two weeks. Now just imagine what the dining room will be like this weekend.
Metro: The celebs who have come to the Lollapalooza after-shows at Metro can be just as famous as the ones performing on stage. Sudeikis, Michael Shannon, Ed Westwick, Jessica Szohr, Perry Farrell and members of the bands Soundgarden and Depeche Mode all have taken in a show at this Wrigleyville music venue during past Lollapalooza weekends. You can probably expect a celeb or two to be on hand for Frank Ocean's performance Friday.
Hotel Sax: If a band is staying at a hotel, chances are they’ll party there at some point as well. That’s what the bands Phoenix and The Strokes did at The Black Keys’ after party at Hotel Sax’s Crimson Lounge in 2010. Also on hand that weekend at Crimson Lounge was Arquette, Westwick, Szohr and Kesha. Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke will DJ there Saturday.
Hub 51: It appears most of the bold names that used to go to Hub 51 are now being directed to Paris Club and RPM Italian, which are also owned by the Melman brothers. Still, you can always count on at least a few stars to stop by for dinner at Hub 51 or to party at downstairs club Sub 51. Chris Kennedy (Chris Masterson's stage name) will DJ the latter Friday.
Debonair Social Club: Aaron Paul liked hosting last year's Lollapalooza after-party at Debonair so much, the Emmy-winning “Breaking Bad” star plans to return Saturday to the Wicker Park neighborhood club — this time with Kaylee DeFer instead of Elijah Wood — to host an Old Style Light-sponsored party.
House of Blues: Like Metro, the House of Blues after-shows have been known to draw a few famous faces. Arquette and Lohan, which, if you can't tell by now, seem to make the rounds every year during Lollapalooza, were spotted there in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Of Monsters & Men will perform there Saturday.
Nellcote: If you're more interested in hanging out with the bands, Nellcote is one of your best options. The celeb clientele at this West Town eatery has been heavy on rock acts since it opened in March, including Arctic Monkeys, Feist, The Ting Tings and members of the bands Vampire Weekend and The Decemberists.