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Music is the heartbeat of our city, whether you’re at a late-night club or a summer music festival. Come experience the unforgettable energy of Chicago’s music scene.

millennium park

Music festivals

Explore the best of Chicago’s fests.

Photo courtesy of Lollapalooza

lollapalooza

Dance all day at Lollapalooza

windy city smokeout

Hear country greats at Windy City Smokeout

crown fountain

Catch a free summer festival

lollapalooza

Dance all day at Lollapalooza

lollapalooza

Photo courtesy of Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

This annual summer fest has grown into one of the largest music festivals in the country. Each year, hundreds of thousands of music lovers converge on Grant Park for four days of music’s best and newest acts, including hip-hop, electronica, indie, rock, and beyond.

This year’s top headliners include Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, The Strokes, and Tame Impala, alongside more than 170 artists across eight stages. The festival also features dozens of Chicago restaurants, VIP and Platinum areas to elevate your experience, and Kidzapalooza, a family-friendly festival within a festival — children 10 and under are welcome to Lollapalooza free of charge with a ticketed adult.

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windy city smokeout

Hear country greats at Windy City Smokeout

windy city smokeout

Photo courtesy of Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout

Beer, barbecue, and country music — Windy City Smokeout has everything you need for the ultimate summer weekend. This year, the annual fest features some of the hottest acts in country music, including Chris Young, Eli Young Band, Old Dominion, Cole Swindell, and more.

Can’t listen to country without a cold one in hand? The Smokeout has you covered with craft beer from the country’s top breweries, including plenty of local favorites. And the barbecue is top notch. Twenty of the world’s best pitmasters will be serving up their smoky specialties all weekend long.

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crown fountain

Catch a free summer festival

crown fountain

Chicago Blues Festival in Millennium Park

Free summer music festivals

When the weather heats up, so does festival season in Chicago. The summer is jam-packed with family-friendly music fests across the city — and many of them are free.

The Chicago House Music Festival showcases the unique sounds and styles of various house DJs. The Chicago Jazz Festival celebrates the genres deep roots in the city, the Chicago Blues Fest is the largest free blues fest in the world, the Grant Park Music Festival features award-winning classical music. And the Chicago Gospel Music Festival celebrates the genre in the city where it was born. See the full schedule for more free fests.

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jazz blues and house music

Jazz, Blues & House

Three styles with deep Chicago roots.

Chicago Blues Festival

jazz

Jam with jazz legends

blues

Hear Chicago-style blues

house

Hit the dance floor with house music

jazz

Jam with jazz legends

jazz

Green Mill Jazz Club

Chicago jazz

Our city has been part of the jazz scene for as long as there’s been jazz. Musical greats like Nat King Cole, Gene Ammons, Benny Goodman, and King Oliver helped turn the city into a major jazz hub and created their own influential Chicago sound.

Today, Chicago continues to foster an innovative jazz scene that churns out surprising new sounds. Check them out at Andy’s Jazz Club in River North, Green Mill Jazz Club in Uptown, and Jazz Showcase in South Loop. During the summer, jazz fests around the city showcase local and national talent.

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blues

Hear Chicago-style blues

blues

Blues showcase at the Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago blues

Blues roots run deep in Chicago. Our city is home to legendary blues venues, iconic blues players (Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy, to name a few), and even our own distinct take on the genre — Chicago blues. All have become a staple of Chicago’s dynamic nightlife scene.

To hear it for yourself, head to Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park. The long-time neighborhood club plays live music seven days a week. Near downtown, Blue Chicago features late-night, live blues in an old-school setting. And, of course, Buddy Guy’s Legends books up-and-coming and classic blues acts (including the man himself on occasion).

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house

Hit the dance floor with house music

house

Chicago house

Love house music? Come hear it in the place it was born. The pioneering dance music began in a club on the city’s west side in the ‘80s, led by famous DJ Frankie Knuckles. The repetitive beats and synthesized basslines were the beginning of a new genre that would eventually reach dance floors around the world.

A handful of Chicago venues keep house music’s local legacy alive. Smartbar in Wrigleyville, Berlin in Boystown, and East Room in Logan Square all spin house favorites until late into the night. In the summer, the Chosen Few Picnic & Festival, My House Music Festival, and the Chicago House Music Festival draw house DJs from around the world.

 

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Featured venues
riverWalk

Nightlife

Pull up a bar stool in the country’s top city for drinking.

DISCO at Celeste

best bars

Visit the city’s best bars

nightlife

Dance til dawn at our nightclubs

lgbtq

Explore LGBTQ+ nightlife

best bars

Visit the city’s best bars

best bars

Lost Lake in Logan Square

Chicago’s best bars

Hip cocktail bars showcasing the latest mixology trends, cozy neighborhood taverns serving local beers, Prohibition-era speakeasies that take you back in time. The diversity of Chicago’s bar scene is one of the reasons Time Out named us the top drinking city in America.

Start your night at The Violet Hour, one of the most acclaimed cocktail spots in the city. Catch the game at Murphy’s Bleachers, feel the island vibes at Lost Lake, surround yourself with history at 100-year-old Green Door Tavern, and take in the lake views from The J. Parker rooftop. And you can’t go wrong grabbing a pint at any of Chicago’s welcoming neighborhood pubs.

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nightlife

Dance til dawn at our nightclubs

nightlife

DISCO at Celeste in River North

Nightclubs & lounges

Sometimes you want a low-key night out. But sometimes you want a get-dressed-up, stay-out-late, dance-til-close night. Chicago is buzzing with the sounds from pulsing nightclubs and swanky lounges, each offering an unforgettable night on the town.

The Underground in River North attracts big-name DJs, late-night revelers, and even local and visiting celebrities. Get a manicure before hitting the dance floor at Beauty Bar in West Town, and hear house music in the city it was born at Smartbar in Lakeview. For stunning city views, head to a rooftop hotspot in the Loop, like ROOF on theWIT or I|O Rooftop Lounge.

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lgbtq

Explore LGBTQ+ nightlife

lgbtq

Sidetrack in Boystown

LGBTQ+ nightlife

Chicago is known for our inclusivity, and our nightlife scene is no exception. All throughout the city, you’ll find welcoming bars, pubs, and nightclubs where you can kick back and be yourself. One of the hottest areas for nightlife of all kind is Boystown, one of the largest and oldest LGBTQ+ communities in the country.

Sidetrack is a local favorite, with frozen drinks and weekly events like showtune singalongs on Sundays. The Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club is famous for their over-the-top diva shows, and Roscoe’s weekly Drag Race is a popular amateur competition. And Hydrate is a Boystown staple, with resident DJs and an always-packed dance floor.

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