Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

Author: is the hub for Chicago's vibrant musical communities. With hundreds of event, venue and artist listings each week, as well as music news and criticism from nationally renowned journalists, we'll show you Chicago-- a world class music destination --through the eyes of a local.

Elbo Room

By Madeline Higgins

North Coast and Riot Fest dominated the first half of Chicago's music calendar in September, but the latter half of the month which bridges into October offers a fresh season's worth of treasures. At the end of Riot Fest comes the last breath of summer: the air begins to nibble, though not yet bite, driving local musicians and music-lovers into the comfort of cozy cafés, underground bars, and other warm and intimate spaces.

Smart Bar

Perhaps one of Chicago's greatest assets is its recognition as the birthplace of house music in the early 1980s. A genre that has since traveled the globe and now solicits stronger associations - for many people - with Europe than the United States, house has influenced countless subsequent genres of electronic music and helped define dance music as we know it today. And though it's now well integrated into the musical "mainstream," house began as a community refuge for various types of marginalized groups; its formative years were deeply political and distinctly underground.

Grant Park Music Festival

By Madeline Higgins

There's no summer quite like a Chicago summer: this mantra slips in and out of conversations with shifting frequency over the course of a calendar year. People utter it wistfully and occasionally in the dark of winter. Spring brings hopeful anticipation to their words. By midsummer, the usual unpredictable weather invites a sarcastic edge to Chicago's summer slogan. Through humidity and afternoon thunderstorms, Chicago remains an incredible place to enjoy the outdoors in the summer months.

Gospel Fest

By Madeline Higgins/

Chicago dives into festival season head-on this month, as venues, promoters and artists being preparing for the slew of festivities that populate Chicagoans' streets and calendars during the spring.

From a street party sidewalk sale to the famed Gospel Music Festival, May boasts an array of music events and block parties as diverse as the city itself. We've compiled a list of four notable (and affordable) festivals to accommodate your spring music needs - you never know what you might end up enjoying. Support the community, enjoy the weather, and take advantage of all this city has to offer.

Classical Music in Chicago: A Fall Preview

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 12:00 AM by

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago's classical season kicks off in late September; by October, the notes are flying.  The variety of music is often staggering, from big symphonies in swanky concert halls to organ music in elegant cathedrals to new music in small clubs with a full bar. This fall, you can hear old favorites or expand your mind - often in the same week. It's going to be a great season.

Preview: Lollapalooza 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014 12:00 AM by


Lollapalooza, August 1-3 in Grant Park, is one of the largest music festivals in the nation and one of Chicago's top destination events, with last year's installation reportedly drawing more than 100,000 attendees per day. Outside of the crowd and the expansive festival site, the size of the artist roster alone is enough to make the three-day, genre-spanning festival daunting and difficult to navigate.

Downtown Sound

Mondays can be a bit of a drag, especially in the summer when all anyone wants to do is be outside, but the Downtown Sound concert series makes them something to look forward to. Downtown Sounds, which kicks off today, takes place weekly at Millenium Park through August 11 (with an exception of July 28) beginning at 6:30 PM. The series' highly-curated lineup captures a wide range of musical styles from folk, to independent rock, to world sounds. Each concert showcases talent based here in Chicago along with renown artists from all over.

Thalia Hall

Thalia Hall, the newest music venue to grab the attention of Chicago's music lovers, has some serious roots. The hall served as a community and cultural hub from when it was first opened in the Pilsen neighborhood in the 1890s through the 1960s when its doors were closed. Over the last decade or so, Pilsen's reputation has turned from a relatively quiet, family neighborhood to one of the city's brightest hotspots for creative arts, emerging business, and restaurants, but until now lacked any sizable concert venue akin to Northside theaters such as the Metro, the Riviera, or the Vic. Thalia Hall is just the music hallowed hall that Pilsen has been craving.

Concert Crowd

Chicago is home to a number of rock venues whose reputation precede them including the iconic, independently-owned Metro, the world-famous incubator for the best in independent music, the Empty Bottle, the Aragon Ballroom (and its legendary Capone-era underground tunnels), and many more. Rock lovers in Chicago are lucky though, these beloved clubs are just the tip of the iceberg in a city that offers concertgoers live rock music 365 days a year. We've gone above and beyond the typical concert listings to rounded up some of our favorite small clubs and other hot spots for live music.

Featured Partners

First Timer's Guide to Chicago
We're glad you're coming for the first...
Been Here? Do this in 2018
Did you fall in love with Chicago, too? It happens...
Chicago Sightseeing
Whether you are planning a Chicago travel...
Spend a Weekend in the Chicago Loop
Experience some of the best attractions, theater,...
Sightseeing along the L Train
Chicago has an excellent public transportation...
Editor's Picks: Just For Fall
Fall Date Night Ideas in Chicago
Date Night can mean a lot of things to different...
Chicago Beer Gardens Kick Off the Fall Season
Beer + gardens: two words that have intonations...
Apple of My Eye
October is National Apple Month and we're...
The Sky is the Limit at the Chicago Architecture Biennial
The largest architecture and design exhibition in...