Watch: ABC7's LIVE Parade/Rally coverage starts Friday at 9 a.m.
LIVE VIDEO: Chicago Celebrates, 9 am to 12 pm | STORY: Parade Rally, Details | PHOTOS: 2013 Playoffs Chicago v. Boston Bruins | PHOTOS: Blackhawks, Stanley Cup | ARCHIVE: Blackhawks 2010 Parade, Rally | STORY: Kane talks about clincher
The parade starts at the United Center and winds through downtown Chicago. Riding on double-decker buses, the Chicago Blackhawks players- and the Stanley Cup - will head east on Washington from Desplaines Street to Wabash before concluding at a rally at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park at 11 a.m.
Friday morning Metra trains into the city were crowded and some downtown parking garages were starting to fill up as Blackhawks fans arrived early. By 5:30 a.m., Blackhawks fans were already lining up around the parade route, and queuing up for entrance to the rally. Some said they camped out overnight. Grant Park opens to the public at 8 a.m.
On Thursday,crews were putting the finishing touches on the rally site at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park, where two large television screens will be put up to accommodate the crowds. There are two public entrances, located at the intersections of Jackson and Michigan and Congress and Michigan.
The Grant Park rally site opens to fans at 8 a.m. Friday. Officials say the same team that put together its NATO plan will be involved in this event. There will be bomb-sniffing dogs and officers in uniform and plainclothes, but no metal detectors. Chicago police are asking Blackhawks fans not to bring backpacks, large bags or coolers to the parade or rally. They warn that anyone who tried to go past the barricades for a closer look at the Stanley Cup or players will be arrested. Parade details, including street closures were released Wednesday.
City officials are also recommending fans take public transportation downtown. The CTA added more trains to their midday schedule, and rerouted some buses due to the parade. Metra is offering a special one-day-only $5 unlimited ride pass for fans traveling downtown for the Blackhawks rally. No bikes will be allowed on the trains.
In 2010, more than two million people cheered on the title-winning Chicago Blackhawks during a similar celebration.