Chicago Music Venues

Chicago concert venues are some of the finest on the planet, catering to every style and musical genre imaginable. Here is a list of some of the most notable venues.

United Centre

United Centre is Chicago’s sports arena, and home to its hometown basketball team (the legendary Chicago Bulls). As such, it plays home to the biggest stars and world-conquering bands capable of filling the biggest arenas and stadiums with the same anthems that you hear on your radio. Their 2018 line-up runs the gamut from industry veterans like Hall and Oates, U2, Depeche Mode, Paul Simon and Radiohead, to younger megastars like Harry Styles, Sam Smith, Shakira, Maroon 5 and Childish Gambino. Clearly one of Chicago’s most epic concert venues.

House of Blues

House of Blues is one of the first names you think of for iconic American music venues. Owned by Live Nation, Chicago’s franchise can be found in Marina City near the Loop district. With its 1,800 capacity, some of the city’s most distinguished musical guests make House of Blues their Chicago tour stop. Welsh living legend Tom Jones spends two nights at House of Blues in May, other notable names are indie rap wizard Tech N9ne; trap powerhouse A$AP Ferg, and Ska-punk veterans The Mighty Bosstones.

Huntington Bank Pavilion

Also known as the “Venue with a view”, the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island is an outdoor amphitheatre open throughout the summer on the man-made Northerly Island. From this particular concert venue, you can see some of the best views of the Chicago skyline as well as notable locations like Soldier Field, Lake Michigan and more, which makes it a perfect venue for experiencing live music. 2018 has the likes of trap superstar Post Malone, British indie-rockers alt-J, classic California rock veterans Steve Miller Band, 80’s rock legends Styx, and the family-friendly Kidz Bop Kids gracing the stage at the Pavilion.

The Aragon Ballroom

The Aragon Ballroom, with its Mediterranean vibe, has been around since the 1920s and has remained one of the popular Chicago’s concert venues to date. Situated on West Lawrence Avenue in the Uptown area near the L train, the venue is owned by live music giant, Live Nation. Several moments in the musical history of Chicago happened here, from Nirvana’s final Chicago concert, Green Day’s “MTV Jaded in Chicago”. The prestige of the venue is reflected in the gigs they have booked for 2018. From Grammy-nominated indie rock trio The Yeah Yeahs; classic soul revivalist Leon Bridges who has taken the R&B world by storm since 2015; critically-acclaimed British singer-songwriter James Bay, who will be performing a 2-day stint at the Ballroom; and revolutionary industrial pioneers, Nine Inch Nails.

The Auditorium Theatre

One of the oldest Chicago concert venues, Auditorium Theatre was built in 1889 and owned by Roosevelt University. A music venue within Chicago’s Auditorium Building, it hosted the NFL Draft in 2015 and 16, is the first venue outside New York to host the draft in 50 years. Its musical pedigree rivals the most prestigious of venues, with its stages graced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Genesis, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and more. Such a pedigree is still being maintained today, with a 2018 line-up including the legendary David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Neil Young; 8-time Grammy-nominated alt-rock outfit Death Cab for Cutie and 90’s R&B legends Dru Hill and Ginuwine.

Adams-Medill Park

Named after Jane Addams and Medill Elementary School, Adams-Medill Park is a public park and home to the three-day Chicago Spring Awakening Music Festival, an EDM-centric open-air festival with a superstar line-up. Household names like deadmau5, A-Trak, Flux Pavilion, Josh Wink, Pete Tong, Steve Aoki, Tiesto and much more are scheduled for earth-shattering performances and DJ sets this year. Spring Awakening takes place between 8 – 10 June.

The Beat Kitchen

One of the busiest concert venues in the city, the Beat Kitchen is a restaurant and live music venue that’s been on the scene since 1994. It showcases artists of a very wide variety of genres and styles, spanning from the metalcore supergroup, Mutoid Man; free jazz improvisers Extraordinary Popular Delusions; reggae shamans Natty Nation and comedy rap/parody Champagne Jerry. It also frequently showcases homegrown Chicago bands.

The Bottom Lounge

The Bottom Lounge is a 700-capacity concert hall in Chicago’s meatpacking district and operated by Live Nation. Their influence is seen in the acts that are brought to Bottom Lounge, which tend to be national or international acts with either a growing, passionate following, critical acclaim or both. This ranges from hip-hop rising star Joyner Lucas, a nationally respected wordsmith who recently went viral with his compelling “I’m not racist” video; to international Afrobeat star, Burna Boy and other acts such as Scotland’s own Young Fathers and NYC alt-metal pioneers, Helmet.

Subterranean

Subterranean, true to its name, specialises in all things underground and indie. This two-hall venue (known respectively as Subterranean Music Hall and Downstairs at Subterranean), can be found on Chicago’s North Ave. Subterranean hosts Chicago’s premier reggae club night, Reggae Gold; features indie hip-hop giants like Slum Village and Evidence as well as local rap acts; and plays home to Toastamania IX, Chicago’s wrestling-themed thrash metal festival.