We might be biased, but we think Chicago’s arts and entertainment scene is second to none! Museums, theatre, music, comedy — it’s almost impossible to choose. Luckily, our readers are here to help. Here are your top picks for Chicago’s best arts and entertainment offerings.
Best Live Music Venue – City
201 E. Randolph St. Chicago
The pride of Chicago’s downtown, this gorgeous park provides us with cultural events, music, art, architecture, open-air space — and a touch of greenery in the heart of the city.
Best Live Music Venue, Best Music Festival – Suburbs
Ravinia Festival, Highland Park
418 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park
Nothing says summer like a night on the Ravinia lawn, serenaded with live music and surrounded by friends, wine glass in hand and a picnic spread out before you.
Best Music Festival – City
Grant Park Music Festival
Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St.
This festival in the heart of downtown brings a mix of contemporary and classical music plus plenty of family fun to the stage each year.
Best Live Theater – City
1650 N. Halsted St.
Still enticing crowds en masse after 97 years of programming, the Goodman Theatre offers an annual lineup that pushes boundaries and continues to wow audiences.
Best Live Theatre – Suburbs
Writers Theatre, Glencoe
325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
For more than 25 years, this Glencoe theater has entertained us with its inventive takes on classics and new original works alike. The Jeanne Gang-designed theatre makes this spot destination worthy in its own right.
Best Children’s Theater
Children’s Theatre of Winnetka, Winnetka
620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka
This community-favorite nonprofit children’s theater, where kids run the show both on stage and behind the curtain, will return this fall with “The Spongebob Musical” in November.
Best Museum – City
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
This world-renowned art museum remains a local landmark and tourist-favorite — this year brings an exhibit on French painter Paul Cezanne, and much more.
Best Museum – Suburbs
IL Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie
The important work being done at the Illinois Holocaust Museum is helping to shine a light on the past — making sure never to forget as we move forward into the future. Their commitment to education and history is necessary, and appreciated around Chicagoland.
Best Children’s Museum
Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview
2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview
Indoor and outdoor exhibits at this beloved childrens’ museum fuel the imaginations of kids from around the Chicago area. Early morning “members-only” hours make membership even more attractive!
Best Comedy Venue
The Second City
230 W. North Ave, 3rd Floor
Second City has been bringing the laughs to Chicago for 60 years. And with famed alumni like John Belushi, Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey, legendary doesn’t even begin to sum up this comedy mecca.
Best Art Gallery – City
Catherine Edelman Gallery
If you’re an art enthusiast, there’s no better place for contemporary fine-art photography than this beautiful West Town gallery. They have recently transitioned to an online-only gallery, where you can find their exhibitions on their website.
Best Art Gallery – Suburbs
Evanston Art Center, Evanston
1717 Central Street, Evanston
This Evanston art hub has got it all — exhibits, in-person classes, tours and important community partnerships — all helping to ensure that art is accessible to everyone.
Best Neighborhood Festival – City
Old Town Art Fair
1763 N. North Park Avenue
This annual festival has over 200 juried artists and an audience of 10,000 art lovers gathering in the heart of Old Town.
Best Neighborhood Festival – Suburbs
Evanston Arts Fest, Evanston
800 Church Street, Evanston
Art from countless mediums created by over 130 juried artists makes this art festival a destination for all sorts of art lovers — from devoted collectors to curious browsers.
Best Family Outing – City
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
This iconic city landmark dates back to 1868, and today is still one of the only free admission zoos left in the country. Nearly 200 unique species from around the world call the LPZ their home — which means making a trip here with family or friends is sure to be a hit.
Best Family Outing – Suburbs
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Taking green space to a whole new level, this magnificent spot will connect you and your family with nature in beautiful ways.
Best Chicago Sports Experience, Men’s Team
While the Cubs might not always win, paying a visit to the ivied walls of Wrigley Field and enjoying the game with family and friends always brings home the W.
Best Chicago Sports Experience, Women’s Team
Best Chamber of Commerce – City
Andersonville Chamber of Commerce
This chamber of commerce has locals from around the city flocking to Andersonville, with neighborhood wine walks and sidewalk sales, not to mention the extravagant, annual Midsommar Fest.
Best Chamber of Commerce – Suburbs
Winnetka-Northfield-Glencoe Chamber of Commerce
What started in Winnetka has grown to encompass many areas in the North Shore as an influential voice in the business community and as a host to many local events.
Best Chicago-Area Twitter
“Chicago is a town, a city that doesn’t ever have to measure itself against any other city.
Other places have to measure themselves against it.
It’s big, it’s outgoing, it’s tough, it’s opinionated, and everybody’s got a story.” — Anthony Bourdain.#ChicagoHistory ✔️ pic.twitter.com/oPMwspRID2
— Chicago History ™️ (@Chicago_History) June 25, 2022
From history to the best spots in the city, quotes by Chicago icons, throwback photos and more — this Twitter will have any Chicagoan scrolling!
Best Chicago-Area Instagram
For things to do and places to be seen, Chicago Bucketlist has you covered.
Best Chicago-Area TikTok
@chicagofoodguide Corndogs have never been so appetizing 😋 #chicagofoodguide #fyp #foodie #love #fun #foodreview #corndog ♬ About Damn Time – Lizzo
This TikTok account is guaranteed to make your mouth water as they hunt down the best spots for drinks, atmosphere and tasty bites around the city!