Best of 2017: Arts & Entertainment

Best of 2017, Arts & Entertainment: Ravinia

For the seventh year, our readers have voted for their favorite Chicago-area businesses in 11 categories. But before that, for the first time ever, we asked you to send us your nominations before voting began. We received more than 6,700 nominations!

Now that the votes have been tallied, it’s time to announce our Best of 2017 winners. Share your thoughts with us on social media using the hashtag #Bestof2017.

Best Live Music Venue (Suburbs)


Ravinia is North America’s oldest music festival, and a must-visit site every summer.

Live Music Venue (Chicago)

Grant Park

This beautiful park hosts The Grant Park Music Festival and Lollapalooza.

Best Music Festival


This summer, Lolla will welcome Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper, Lorde and Blink-182, among other musical acts.

Best Music Outing

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

This Grammy Award-winning orchestra performs at both the Symphony Center downtown and fellow Best of 2017 winner Ravinia.

Best Dance Company

Joffrey Ballet

Some of the best ballet in the world can be found here in Chicago (and we can’t wait for “The Nutcracker” to return this holiday season!).

Best Dance Venue

Auditorium Theatre

This theatre is not only home to Joffrey Ballet, but will also host Dance for Life on Aug. 19 and A Golden Celebration of Dance on Nov. 12.

Best Museum (Suburbs)

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

The mission of this museum is to “Remember the Past, Transform the Future.”

Best Museum (Chicago) | Best Place to Go on a Rainy Day

The Art Institute of Chicago

An annual reader favorite, there is always something to see or do at this world-renowned museum.

Best Museum (Small)

National Museum of Mexican Art

Built in the heart of Pilsen, this museum features one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the U.S.

Best Museum (Kids)

Kohl Children’s Museum

Let your child’s imagination soar at this museum, which welcomes approximately 330,000 people every year.

Best Place to Go on a Sunny Day

Chicago Botanic Garden

Best of 2017, Arts & Entertainment: Chicago Botanic Garden

When the weather is right, there’s no better place to be on the North Shore than at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Best Live Theater (Suburbs)

Writers Theatre

Best of 2017, Arts & Entertainment: Writers Theatre

The Wall Street Journal called Writers “America’s No.1 theatre company,” and our readers agree.

Best Live Theater (Chicago)

Broadway in Chicago

Chicago is always treated to the best Broadway shows (see: “Hamilton”) thanks to this group.

Best Children’s Theater

Chicago Children’s Theatre

This company has been wowing kids and families since 2005.

Best Comedy Venue

Second City

This comedy club and theater is second to none.

Best Art Gallery

Anne Loucks Gallery

You don’t have to travel far to see some of the best in contemporary American art.

Best Family Outing

Lincoln Park Zoo

Best of 2017, Arts & Entertainment: Lincoln Park Zoo

Spend a leisurely day exploring this free zoo, or take advantage of one of the many family programs available.

Best Chicago Sports Experience (Women’s Team)

Chicago Sky

Don’t miss any of the action at Allstate Arena this summer.

Best Chicago Sports Experience (Men’s Team)

Chicago Cubs

Our readers love cheering on the 2016 World Series Champion (!) Cubs at Wrigley Field.


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Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, she loves cheering on the Cubs and Blackhawks and also fears she watches too much Netflix.







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