The Best Live Music Venues in Chicago, Illinois: An Expert's Guide

Chicago is a city that has always been a destination for touring musicians, and it's no surprise that the Windy City has some of the best music venues in the country. From classic theaters to modern rock clubs, there's something for everyone in the bustling metropolis. Whether you're looking for a place to see your favorite bands up close or just want to experience the city's rich tradition of live music, here are some of the best music venues in Chicago that you should check out.

Old Town School of Folk Music

is located in a historic bohemian public hall dating back to 1892. The venue has been renovated several times, and now it hosts performances by some of the best artists in the genre.

It's also home to a variety of American bands and psychedelic rock bands, all of whom perform in a room that preserves its character and has an excellent sound.

The Chicago Theater

is best known for its iconic party tent, a remnant of its past as an opulent French Baroque-style movie palace. After having been renovated several times, the interior is just as magnificent and hosts performances by prominent bands such as the Avett Brothers and Sigur Rós, as well as established comedians such as Chris Rock and John Mulaney.


is one of the oldest and most famous clubs in the city, hosting a variety of medium-sized national tours of all genres, from rock to hip-hop and electronic. Stop by the GMan tavern, located next door, for a drink before the show (you might meet one of the main artists drinking whisky) and, after the final encore, head to the Smart Bar, where the music continues to play late into the night.

Thalia Hall

is located in Pilsen and is one of the best music venues in Chicago. It's also home to local favorites Kimberly Gordon and Patricia Barber who maintain their residencies throughout the year.

Be sure to arrive early as there are usually a lot of people.

The Riv

is generally considered to be Aragon's sister rock club, located just one block away. With a capacity of around 2,500 people, the jazz-era theater isn't as big as its neighbor, but the acoustics are much better. You might see someone like Dan Auerbach or Miguel here.

Le Piano

is a jazz club on the north side that has something special: couples can lie under the piano during a performance for a special listening experience. This cozy corner bar in Roscoe Village is something of a stepping stone into the Chicago music scene, hosting numerous concerts by local and touring bands in its shady but intimate back room. No matter what type of music you like: rock, hip-hop, jazz, blues or electronic, there's something for everyone in Chicago.

From classic theaters to modern rock clubs, there are plenty of places to experience live music in this vibrant city. So be sure to check out one of these amazing venues when you're in town!.

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