Getting Here | FAQs

Gorton Center is located on the corner of East Illinois and McKinley Roads – one block south of Deer Path Road. It is just steps from the Lake Forest Union Pacific North (UP-N) Metra Station and the downtown area. Its convenient and central location makes it convenient and easily accessible to the surrounding community.

400 E. Illinois Rd.
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Phone: 847-234-6060

From Chicago – map
Follow the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) west to the Edens Expressway (I-94) and U.S. Route 41. Exit at Deer Path Road and travel east (right) to McKinley Road. Make a right on McKinley, and Gorton is in the 2nd block on your left. Park in the upper parking lot at the intersection of Deerpath and McKinley on the northeast corner (it is marked.)
From Milwaukee and the northern suburbs
Head south on i-94 to U.S. Route 41. Exit at Deer Path Road and travel east (left) to McKinley Road. Make a right on McKinley, and Gorton is in the 2nd block on your left.
From the west
From I-90, take I-294 toward Wisconsin. Exit at IL Route 60 and travel east to 41. Turn left on 41 and then immediately exit Deer Path Road. Travel east (right) to McKinley Road. Make a right on McKinley, and Gorton is in the 2nd block on your left.
From the south
Take I-294 north. Exit at IL Route 60 and travel east to 41. Turn left on 41 and then immediately exit Deer Path Road. Travel east (right) to McKinley Road. Make a right on McKinley, and Gorton is in the 2nd block on your left.
From Indiana
Take I-90 or I-80/94 to I-94 northbound to Chicago and then follow the directions from Chicago, above.
Local Lake Forest – map
Gorton is located on the Corner of McKinley Rd and East Illinois Road in Lake Forest just steps from the Metra Station.

Metra Info
Metra’s Union Pacific North Line with service from Chicago to Kenosha is highly recommended! The Metra train stops right across the street from Gorton.

Please visit the Metrarail website or call 312-322-6777 (weekdays) or 312-836-7000 (weekends) for complete schedules and information.

Take the Lake Forest stop. Please note not all trains stop at Lake Forest – check the schedule carefully for full information.

Parking is available in the lot north of Gorton and along the north side of Illinois road for no fee. There is also parking in the train station lots across from Gorton, but fees may apply.


What is Gorton Center Live?
Gorton Center Live is a series of concerts being presented year-round. While most shows are indoors either in the John & Nancy Hughes Theater or The Stuart Room, certain shows will take place outside in our parking lot during the summer and early fall. More information on the series can be found here. Concerts and events are presented without intermission.

What do I need to bring to an outdoor Gorton event?
For shows and concerts, patrons should bring their own folding chairs or blankets for seating. “Ravinia-style” picnic tables are allowed, as well as food and drink. Concessions (primarily beverages such as beer, wine, hard seltzers, soft drinks, and water) will be available for sale at each event, and these sales help support Gorton, so patrons are encouraged to purchase when able. 

What’s the inclement weather policy?
In case of rain, outdoor events will be moved indoors – sometimes in two seatings. You will receive an email about this change by 10:30 am on the day of the show. To check the National Weather Service forecast for Lake Forest, visit here. Gorton’s outdoor events are open-air and Gorton cannot guarantee refuge to patrons in the event of surprising inclement weather. Guests are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings. 

Gorton may delay the start, interrupt or even cancel a concert if an emergency situation occurs. Every effort will be made to make a call to move an event indoors when possible. 

Refunds are not given due to bad weather unless the concert is canceled in its entirety with no replacement concert scheduled.

What do I need to bring to an indoor Gorton event?
Just yourself! The John & Nancy Hughes Theater is fully equipped with seating and washrooms and concessions will be found indoors.

What is sold at Gorton concessions?
Beer, red/white wine, hard seltzers, flavored sparkling water, bottled water, soft drinks.  At some events, Gorton will also be selling popcorn and candy, and sometimes individual snacks.

Where are the washroom facilities?
Washroom facilities are located inside Gorton on the main corridor and are accessible from the west entrance that faces the parking lot for outdoor events.

Are events at Gorton suitable for all ages?
Almost all of the events at Gorton are all-ages. Check individual event website pages for any suggested age restrictions. 

Gorton does not censor or control the content created by guest artists. Patrons with sensitivities to adult language or socio-political commentary are advised to be aware of the artists’ work before purchasing tickets to and/or attending their performances.

Do I have to wear a mask?
Gorton is closely following public health recommendations from the CDC and local authorities. Patrons are not required to wear a mask but are always welcome to wear one no matter the guidelines.

Do I have to be vaccinated to attend?
Gorton is not requiring patrons to be vaccinated for entry.

Is seating physically distanced?
For outdoor events, patrons will choose to sit where they wish in the event area. Patrons will provide their own seating for the event. Seating is first come first served. For indoor events, seating is usually general admission, and if not, you will choose your seat when you purchase a ticket. 

How is Gorton cleaned?
High-touch surfaces are routinely cleaned and sanitized for the protection of everyone. Restrooms are also cleaned regularly and guests are encouraged to thoroughly wash their hands. We have installed active ionic oxidation air purifiers in Gorton’s heating and cooling systems to purify the air and kill airborne pathogens, including COVID-19, which tests at 99% efficacy. 

When do tickets go on sale?
Tickets are on sale now! Go to to purchase.

What time can I arrive?
Patrons may arrive up to 30 minutes before the start of an event.

What can’t I bring to Gorton?
Any item deemed harmful or unsafe by Gorton is prohibited.

Gorton prohibits smoking or vaping inside the concert area. State law prohibits public use of cannabis. Other prohibited items include:

  • Firearms or explosives
  • Professional photographic or video and audio recording equipment
  • Grills
  • Kegs
  • Balls or flying discs or similar
  • Tents or canopies
  • Umbrellas over 6 feet in diameter
  • Anything that needs to be staked to the ground
  • Drones or other flying instruments
  • Firepits or large open flames
  • Pets (except for Dog Day)

Are there any hotels near Gorton?
Yes! We are within walking distance (two blocks) from the award-winning Deer Path Inn.

What is your refund policy?

Classes: Refunds will only be given up to one week prior to the first week of class of any session. (The refund period for some classes, which require advanced reservations or purchase of materials, may be more limited.) Cancellations will incur a $5 handling fee for programs costing under $100 and a 10% handling fee for programs with fees of $100 or more. If a class is canceled due to insufficient enrollment, you will be notified, and a full refund will be given.

Films & Events: There is no refund given for unused film or event tickets.

If I attend an event, will I appear in any photos or videos?

Gorton Center will take and may use photos and videos from this event for its promotional purposes. Your attendance indicates your consent to the above.

Do you accept donations?

Yes! As a nonprofit, we heavily rely on donations to continue our programming and activities. Please click here to make a donation today!

Are you hiring? 

Please check our careers page for information about current job openings and internships.

Do you sell gift certificates?

Yes, we do! I’d you’d like to give the gift of Gorton, please click here.