Best of 2018: Arts & Entertainment

Best of 2018: Arts & Entertainment (City Winery)

In a city as vibrant as Chicago, making everyday decisions — where to order dinner, get a haircut, push your kids on the swings — can feel downright dizzying. Enter our (eighth annual!) Best Of awards: You shared your favorite spaces and places, we tallied the votes, and together we’ll celebrate all that makes our beloved communities shine.

Here are the Best of 2018: Arts & Entertainment winners:

Best Live Music Venue (City)

City Winery

1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-733-9463

Best of 2018: City Winery
Photo by Corey Gaffer.

Part winery and restaurant, part concert hall, City Winery is perfect for date night or your next private event.

Best Live Music Venue (Suburbs) | Best Music Festival (Suburbs)


418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, 847-266-5100

There’s nothing like a summer evening at this popular North Shore destination.

Best Music Festival (City)


Grant Park: Columbus Drive, Chicago

This year’s lineup features Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, and Jack White.

Best Neighborhood Festival (City)

Square Roots

Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson, Chicago

This Lincoln Square festival will feature more than 60 acts, food and craft beer, family activities, and more July 13-15.

Best Neighborhood Festival (Suburbs)

Winnetka Music Festival

Downtown Winnetka

This popular festival returned for its second year in June with acts like ZZ Ward, A Thousand Horses, Andrew Belle, and Jake Allen.

Best Museum (City)

The Art Institute of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-443-3600

Current and upcoming exhibits include Charles White: A Retrospective (through Sept. 3) and John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age (July 1 to Sept. 30).

Best Museum (Suburbs)

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, 847-967-4800

The mission of this museum is to “Remember the Past, Transform the Future,” and the groundbreaking Take a Stand Center is a must-visit.

Best Children’s Museum (City)

Chicago Children’s Museum

700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, 312-527-1000

Here, kids can “create, explore, and discover” while they play in popular exhibits like WaterWays and Dinosaur Expedition.

Best Children’s Museum (Suburbs)

Kohl Children’s Museum

2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview, 847-832-6600

This favorite spot for families features 17 permanent exhibits, including City on the Move, Ravinia Festival Music Makers, and SpotHero Car Garage.

Best Live Theater (City)


1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650

Best of 2018: Steppenwolf
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.

This premier ensemble theater has received numerous accolades, including the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony Awards.

Best Live Theater (Suburbs)

Writers Theatre

325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000

The Wall Street Journal has called this “the top regional theater in the nation.”

Best Children’s Theater (City)

Emerald City Theatre

Various, 773-529-2690

Best of 2018: Emerald City Theatre
Photo by Austin D. Oie.

Founded in 1996, Emerald City Theatre is Chicago’s largest theater for young audiences and creates programs that “motivate young people to creatively face the world.”

Best Children’s Theater (Suburbs)

Children’s Theatre of Winnetka

Winnetka Community House: 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, 847-446-0537

Here, children star both onstage and behind the curtain during two annual productions.

Best Comedy Venue (City)

The Second City

Chicago Mainstage: 1616 N. Wells St., Chicago, 312-337-3992

Best of 2018: The Second City
Photo courtesy of The Second City.

This “comedy empire” entertains 1 million people every year and boasts famous alumni like Bill Murray, Martin Short, Steve Carell, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey.

Best Comedy Venue (Suburbs)

Improv Comedy Club

5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall Store K120B, Schaumburg, 847-240-2001

Need a good laugh? Make your way to this club that welcomes some of the biggest names in comedy every week.

Best Art Gallery

Anne Loucks Gallery

309 Park Ave., Glencoe, 847-835-8500

Best of 2018: Anne Loucks Gallery
Photo courtesy of Anne Loucks Gallery.

This Glencoe gallery represents more than 40 emerging and mid-career artists and curates six exhibits every year.

Best Auction House (Tie)


980 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1815, Chicago, 312-475-7900

Founded in 1744, this auction house is “the oldest and largest internationally recognized firm of fine art auctioneers in the world.”

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

1338 W. Lake St., Chicago, 312-280-1212

This fine art auction house has more salesrooms in the U.S. than any other auction house and organizes more than 60 auctions every year.

Best Family Outing (City)

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, 312-742-2000

This free zoo is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Best Family Outing (Suburbs)

Chicago Botanic Garden

1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, 847-835-5440

Best of 2018: Chicago Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

In 2017, more than 1 million visitors explored this top Chicago destination.

Best Hotel (City)

The Peninsula Chicago

108 E. Superior St., Chicago, 312-337-2888

Best of 2018: The Peninsula Chicago
Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago.

This award-winning hotel features “Far Eastern graciousness together with Midwestern hospitality.”

Best Hotel (Suburbs) | Best Staycation (Suburbs)

Stone Terrace Bed & Breakfast

1622 Forest Place, Evanston, 847-859-2198

Best of 2018: Stone Terrace Bed & Breakfast
Photo courtesy of Stone Terrace.

This B & B is just steps away from Lake Michigan and offers amenities like heated bathroom floors, massage and exercise rooms, and an outdoor terrace.

Best Staycation (City)

Chicago Athletic Association

12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 844-312-2221

Best of 2018: Chicago Athletic Association
Founders Suite (Photo by Thomas Hart Shelby.)

If you want to get away, but can’t get that far away, make plans to stay at this 241-room boutique hotel, complete with multiple “innovative culinary experiences.”

Best Overlooked Tourist Spot | Best Midwest Destination | Best Midwest Family Destination

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Best of 2018: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Photo courtesy of Visit Lake Geneva.

A day (or several!) in this beautiful Wisconsin city, which offers endless options for activities, shopping, dining, and events, is less than two hours away.

Best Chicago Sports Experience

Chicago Cubs

Wrigley Field: 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, 800-THE-CUBS

Nothing beats a summer day at Wrigley Field (well, maybe a summer night…).

Best Artist With Local Roots

Erin Kaya

Best of 2018: Erin Kaya
The Building of the Soul (3×4 feet) (Photo courtesy of Erin Kaya.)

Kaya is a Chicago abstract artist who says, “When you see my work up close, I want you to see the paint moving, the details of the strokes, the layers of paint and then back away form the piece to see a new world.”

Best News Anchor

Allison Rosati

When you want the latest news, you turn to NBC Chicago’s longtime newscaster Allison Rosati.

Best Meteorologist

Tom Skilling

Best of 2018: Tom Skilling
Photo courtesy of WGN.

Chicago’s weather can be unpredictable, but you trust WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling to always keep you in the know.

Best Radio DJ (Tie)

Lin Brehmer

Best of 2018: Lin Brehmer
Photo courtesy of Lin Brehmer.

Fans of vintage rock and roll love 93 XRT and Lin Brehmer, the station’s morning DJ for 26 years.

Eric Ferguson

You’ve voted and say mornings are better with 101.9 The Mix’s Eric in the Morning host.

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