The Best of Chicago Nightlife
Collected by Kaitlyn Barrett , AFAR Local Expert
When the sun goes down, the city heats up. Nightlife in Chicago includes live music, bowling, dancing, and some of the best theater in the nation. Catch a Broadway show or award winning improv. Listen to live blues and jazz seven nights a week and check out the hottest new rock bands at the Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village. Chicago’s got the nightlife and the party has started.
3700 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
There’s bowling and then there’s cosmic bowling. Regular bowling is pedestrian, under bright fluorescent lights where everyone can judge your bowling skills. Cosmic bowling is infinitely cooler and better because it’s dark with...
1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA
The Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village offers great music in a small venue with an angled stage so the views are pretty good from anywhere in the house. The drinks are reasonably priced with friendly bartenders and the location is a bit divey but...
2548 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Playing live blues music until 4am every night of the week, featuring all of Chicago’s talented local musicians and now newly renovated to take up 3 storefronts on Halstead, Kingston Mines is one of Chicago’s best bars. Go for the 3...
3216 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Yeah, you know you want to sing karaoke. And you know why you want to do it at Trader Todd’s? Because they’re also a tiki bar. For people who have a little bit of stage fright (like me) and don’t love singing in front of people (also me) but when...
2519 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
B.L.U.E.S. is not a big bar, but they play plenty of great blues (and have been voted best blues club on Chicago's North Side). Primarily local artists play in this comfortable, intimate setting. If you want a seat, push way in past the stage and...
1501 N Kingsbury St, Chicago, IL 60642, USA
Chicago has a lot of improvised comedy shows with 195 listings on Yelp, the most famous of which is Second City and some of the funniest of which are hosted by the iO theatre. Where else but the iO theatre can you see improv done in iambic...
954 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Back when I was an innocent college student I used to sneak into Berlin where the people watching was epic and I could dance all night. The Berlin clientele have always dressed in a style all their own, like the girl in the Emma Peel-like catsuit...
4802 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
Open and thriving since 1907, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge survived both prohibition and ownership by Al Capone in the 20’s. That alone should make you want to visit. Additionally, the plush restored interior hearkens back to its speakeasy roots...
5153 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
At 10:30pm every Friday and Saturday a line of people form at the corner of Ashland and Foster waiting for entrance into the 11:30pm Neo-Futurist show, a different play every week. With ticket prices dependent on a dice roll, new fresh...
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