Culture + Style

Live Music Lover’s Guide to Chicago

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (Photo: Ten Photos)

From blues and jazz to hip-hop and rock, Chicago has always had its own spin on music, and there are plenty of places to take in the Windy City’s unique musical stylings. Checking out one of the many concerts in Chicago on any given night is easily one of the best ways to get to know the city’s people and its spirit — it’s just a matter of knowing where to go. Here are some great places to start.

Journey Across Musical Genres

chicago-best-music-hip-hop-the-shrine.jpg

Situated in Chicago’s South Loop, The Shrine offers a spectrum of live music, from hip-hop to soul and reggae to R&B. Even on nights when there’s not a ticketed performance, you’re guaranteed to find DJ’s skillfully spinning a mix of cuts from across these styles. But make sure you dress to impress. The Shrine does maintain a dress code, but no one ever complained about looking and feeling good on their night out.

Jazz Your Night Up

chicago-best-music-venues-jazz-green-mill-03.jpgGreen Mill Cocktail Lounge (Photo: Ten Photos)

Chicago and Jazz have danced hand-in-hand since the early 1900’s. To this day, Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is the jazz venue of choice for most. Maybe it’s the century of jazz history it has played host to, or maybe it comes with the thrill of haunting gangster Al Capone’s old stomping grounds. Either way, grab yourself a booth and sway the night away.

Cultivate Your Cultural Roots

chicago-best-music-venues-folk-country-old-town-school.jpg

For over half a century, Old Town School of Folk Music has played a huge role in preserving and celebrating cultural music through education and performance. Open mic nights allow you to experience Americana past and present, performed by students and professionals alike, or you can share in the heritage of internationally renowned artists. Treat yourself to a free World Music showcases on any Wednesday, or plot out your musical travels across time and space at the school’s diverse concert features.

Seek Progressive Sounds

Tucked away on the North West Side is a cozy space geared toward innovative performances, from neo-classical to contemporary jazz and improvisation. Constellation opened in 2013 to fill a gap where some of the most unique touring artists fell. The two performance spaces cap at 75 and 150 seats, so you’re always in for an intimate treat from some of the finest musicians and performers from around the globe.