Staying in the Windy City will afford the visitor a vibrant and eclectic cultural experience, and staying in any of the best hotels in Chicago will give you access to the great music venues the city offers. Whether your tastes are for the classical, jazz or blues you will find something in this city to entertain you.
The Classical Venues
As such a cultural city, its heritage is reflected in the availability of great live classical music. If you’re in the city in the summer, a visit to the Millennium Park should be on your itinerary. This outdoor venue regularly puts on concerts in the stunning Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and their prized sound system fills the park with the sound of great music.
Accessible from many of the best hotels in Chicago, the Grant Park Music Festival offers free concerts and runs all summer. The music performed ranges from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Beethoven and you can take a picnic on the Great Lawn or settle in to one of the seats in front of the stage. There are classical concerts, jazz, indie rock, electronic and many more.
Another great festival during the summer is The Ravinia Festival, which is held in what was once an amusement park. It was opened in 1904 and included a baseball diamond, a casino and dining rooms. The original theatre is still standing and concerts are held under the stars or in the theatre itself. George Gershwin, the Ballet Russe and Luciano Pavarotti have all performed here, and music ranges from the classical to jazz and musical theatre. Again, you can take a picnic or enjoy a meal in the Dining Pavilion.
The city is renowned for its jazz and there are numerous venues to imbibe whilst staying in the best hotels in Chicago. Jazz Showcase is the brainchild of 87-year-old Joe Segal, who has been promoting jazz music in the city since 1947. It has been located at various venues over the years but is now at S. Plymouth Court. Jazz Showcase has presented performances by most of the contemporary greats but is always on the lookout for new talent.
The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge has been attracting jazz fans since 1907 and was renovated in 1910 to form the Moulin Rouge inspired venue we see today, including sunken gardens and a green windmill on the roof. The best local jazz musicians play here into the early hours, as the venue has a late licence and is open after 2 am when the bars close. Sipping a dry Martini whilst listening to great jazz is a wonderful way to spend an evening in the city.
Where there’s jazz there’s blues – in fact, Robert Johnson called the city the ‘sweet home’ for the blues. Probably the most famous blues venue in the city is The House of Blues on N. Dearborn. It was founded by Isaac Tigrett, who grew up surrounded by blues music in Tennessee. It sees itself as an educational establishment and celebrates the culture that this music grew out of. There is a restaurant onsite, where dishes such as Voodoo Shrimp and cornbread are served, so it’s a great place to spend an evening. There are shows on most nights and the Gospel Brunch on Sunday morning gives you the chance to hear some great gospel music.
This truly is a city of music and the venues on offer will make it difficult for those staying in the best hotels in Chicago to choose how to spend their evenings. Whichever venue you decide on, you can be sure of a wonderful time.