10 Excellent Concert Venues In Chicago

The United Center, Soldier Field, Allstate Arena, and Wrigley Field may bring in the biggest acts, but when it comes to atmosphere and sound quality, there are some hidden gems that take the cake. When you want to get up close and personal with your favorite musicians, these are the spots you need to check out.

The Empty Bottle

via Flickr use Jamie Bernstein

via Flickr use Jamie Bernstein

This is one of the most classic Chicago spots. The Empty Bottle is featured in many Chicago-based movies, and it has a dive bar feel while supporting a top-notch sound system. Whether your favorite band is playing here or you’re stopping in to see a new act, The Empty Bottle is a must.

You can find The Empty Bottle at 1035 N Western Ave.

Lincoln Hall

via Flickr user swimfinfan

via Flickr user swimfinfan

It seems like every new band rising up the Chicago music scene ranks has to play at Lincoln Hall—it’s practically a rite of passage. They serve some great food, have an amazing beer list, and the crowd is always lively.

You can find Lincoln Hall at 2424 N Lincoln Ave

Schubas Tavern

via Flickr user Dave Lichterman

via Flickr user Dave Lichterman

What makes this venue one of the best of the best is its mix of big and small acts. One night you could find a medley of local bands in a variety of genres for free, and the next night you could pay $20 at the door for a legendary 90s band. There’s not a bad seat in the house, so even if you’re in the back of the room, you still feel like you’re right there with the band.

You can find Schubas Tavern at 3159 Southport Ave

Township

via Flickr user JanetandPhil

via Flickr user JanetandPhil

Logan Square is a great neighborhood, and it has an underground music scene that pulsates with passion. Township is your spot if you’re looking to discover a new band or DJ.

You can find Township at 2200 N California Ave.

The Hideout

via Flickr user melanie innis

via Flickr user melanie innis

The name speaks for itself. It’s a lesser-known venue, and it’s located in no-man’s land on a street that even native Chicagoans probably haven’t heard of. The venue space is a little tight, but it’s your chance to get an amazing view of the band and make a few friends.

You can find The Hideout at 1354 W Wabansia Ave

Millennium Park

via Flickr user Jason Mrachina

via Flickr user Jason Mrachina

Kind of cliché, but if you’re going to “The Bean” anyway, you might as well check out a show at Millennium Park. It’s an incredible piece of architecture surrounded by one of the most breathtaking skylines in the United States.

You can find Millennium Park at 201 E Randolph St

Buddy Guy’s Legends

via Flickr user opacity

via Flickr user opacity

Chicago and Blues go hand in hand. It may not have been invented here, but Chicago is where it reached incredible heights, and Buddy Guy himself was one of the strongest voices in the scene. Now, this spot is the go-to Blues establishment in the city.

You can find Buddy Guy’s at 700 S Wabash Ave

Double Door

via Flickr user MA1216

via Flickr user MA1216

Wicker Park has established itself as one of the trendiest neighborhoods with some of the coolest places to see music. Double Door has set its claws deep into the music culture of the city, consistently hosting some truly excellent acts.

You can find Double Door at 1572 N Milwaukee Ave

Green Mill

via Flickr user viewminder

via Flickr user viewminder

The Green Mill hosts acts in a variety of genres, but what it’s most famous for is its jazz acts. Going to Green Mill is like going back in time. Even Al Capone was a regular at this spot!

You can find Green Mill at 4802 N Broadway St

The Chicago Theatre

via Flickr user Daniel Lu

via Flickr user Daniel Lu

The Chicago Theatre is an iconic structure, and the interior has antique architecture and artwork that really makes it a jaw-dropper. It hosts some of the biggest acts in music, comedy, theater, TV, and more, and it’s the kind of venue that sells tickets almost as coveted as the stage time itself.

You can find The Chicago Theatre at 175 N State St

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