Designed as an ornate Spanish courtyard and completed in 1926, the Aragon Ballroom was one of the biggest entertainment venues for big bands in Chicago during the 1940s. Today, it’s used as a concert venue for rock, pop, and electronic music artists. With easy access to and from the El, the Aragon Ballroom is one of the most popular and certainly one of the most unique performance spaces in all of Chicago.
Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W Lawrence Ave Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 561-9500
Before Hollywood dominated the US film industry, Chicago was a major center for silent film during the early 20th century. Most notably, many early Charlie Chaplin films were produced and filmed here, including Chaplin’s iconic movie The Tramp. Chaplin, along with the rest of the American cinema, moved his productions to California and Essanay studios were in poor financial health in the years afterward. Today, it is a part of St. Augustine college and, while no guided tours exist, it is a protected landmark and the iconic sign for the studios remains intact.
Essanay Studios, 1345 W Argyle St Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 878-8756
Since Uptown is located right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, it is endowed with wide and sandy beaches, much to the shock of those not native to the Midwest. Chicago has some of the best beaches anywhere on the Great Lakes and in the whole country, and Montrose Beach is as good a beach as any in Chicago. An added bonus: it’s officially dog friendly so dog-owners and lovers will feel right at home during all four seasons.
Montrose Beach, 4400 North Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL,USA, +1 773 363-2225
Elaborate, classy, and sexy, the Kiss Kiss Cabaret offers entertainment you won’t find anywhere else in the Midwest. Burlesque, vaudeville, comedy, magic shows, and fine drinks have been offered here since 2009. The winner of ‘Best Burlesque Troupe’ as voted by Chicago Reader, the cabaret’s new location is right next to the aforementioned Green Mill Cocktail Lounge.
The Kiss Kiss Cabaret, 4707 N Broadway St #309 Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 867-1946
Once an elaborate movie palace built in 1917, it has now been converted into an ornate concert venue that houses mainly punk, hip-hop, and indie groups. Lauded for its sound quality, historicity, decor, and amazing views from the balcony, this piece of 1920s history is not one you’ll want to miss, even if you don’t enjoy the music commonly performed there.
Riviera Theatre, 4746 N Racine Ave Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 275-6800