Chicago’s vibrant nightlife offers endless choices, including popular nightclubs, laid-back lounges, theaters, and much more. If you're looking for a great cocktail or craft beer, you can visit one of the many bars that offer scenic rooftops, queer events, lively nightclubs, a Prohibition-style atmosphere, or relaxed lounges. You'll find countless entertainment options around the city, including live music, improv and burlesque shows, and celebrity and student folk-art performances, to name a few. You can even enjoy drinks while playing free arcade games or relax with traditional bathhouse treatments. No matter your preferences, Chicago nightlife offers something for everyone. Here are the 10 best things to do after dinner in Chicago.



    Dance the night away at a popular nightclub

    Smartbar is a basement nightclub featuring well-known DJs spinning a wide array of dance music, including house, EMD, and techno. You can find Smartbar located just north of Wrigley Field on North Clark Street. You can dance the night away with resident DJs like The Black Madonna, Harry Cross, and Sassmouth, or you can catch a special event. Smartbar’s state-of-the-art Funktion One speakers provide fantastic sound that will keep you moving. The club also hosts a variety of queer events, including the popular Sunday night Queen Party.

    Location: Metro / Smart Bar, 3730 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA

    Phone: +1 773-549-4140


    Steppenwolf Theater

    Watch a play with a top-notch cast

    Steppenwolf Theater is a popular performing arts venue that hosts nearly 700 shows every year. The theater was founded in 1976 and today boasts a company of 49 actors, directors, and playwrights. Performances include well-known actors such as Tracy Letts, Cary Coon, and Joan Allen.

    You can find the theater on North Halsted Street, 1 block from the North/Clybourn subway stop. Half-priced tickets are available at the theater 1 hour before curtain-up. On Tuesdays, the theater hosts a “pay your age” special.

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    Location: 1650 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA

    Phone: +1 312-335-1650


    The Second City

    Enjoy a comedy improv show

    The Second City is a well-known comedy club that was the starting place of many famous comedians, including Tina Fey, John Belushi, and Bill Murray. You can find Second City situated on North Wells Street, just south of West Concord Lane. At the show, you'll see quick-witted improv sketches, humorous songs, and hilarious scenes. The bar offers light food, beer, wine, and cocktails for you to enjoy with the performance. Second City also offers a well-known center that trains thousands of comedians per year.

    Location: 1616 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA

    Phone: +1 312-337-3992


    photo by Marc Heiden (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified



    Hit the dance floor at an inclusive gay and lesbian bar

    Berlin is a gay and lesbian bar featuring an exciting dance scene with '80s, disco, and new wave music. The club is situated on Belmont Avenue, just east of North Sheffield Avenue. In addition to the wide array of dance music, the space also offers special themed nights and live shows. The bar offers strong mixed drinks, beer, and wine. If you're in search of an inclusive place to dance with great energy, look no further. The club is welcoming to people of all sexual orientations.

    Location: 954 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

    Phone: +1 773-348-4975


    AIRE Ancient Baths Chicago

    Relax with a variety of treatments in a traditional bathhouse

    • Couples

    AIRE Ancient Baths Chicago offers long-established Greek, Ottoman, and Roman spa treatments in a building with beautifully restored historic architecture. AIRE can be found in River West at the intersection of West Superior and North Halsted Streets. You can enjoy an expansive list of bath experiences, including The Himalayan Salt Experience or The Wine Bath Experience, which allows you to soak in a bath of antioxidant-rich Spanish Ribera del Duero wine followed by an hour-long massage with grapeseed oil. All experiences include a thermal tour, where you have access to soak in baths of varying temperatures, including an indoor/outdoor bath where you can enjoy the seasonal temperatures.

    Location: 800 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60642, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 312-888-7099


    Untitled Supper Club

    Enjoy a cocktail and a show at a Prohibition-era club

    Untitled Supper Club features a variety of live shows in a Prohibition-era setting and offers a gourmet menu and an extensive list of whiskeys. The club can be found on West Kinzie Street, just west of North Clark Street in River North. As you explore the club, you'll be taken back in time with the art-deco design and details of the Prohibition period. Entertainment includes burlesque shows, blues performances, and much more. If you're looking for an award-winning meal, they offer a prix-fixe menu that highlights Chicago Italian food from the '20s and '30s.

    Location: 111 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA

    Open: Friday–Sunday and Wednesday from 4 pm to 10 pm (closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays)

    Phone: +1 312-880-1511


    Joy District

    Visit a local club featuring a restaurant, dancing, and rooftop bar

    Joy District is a multilevel venue that features a nightclub, restaurant, and rooftop patio. You can find Joy District located in the River North neighborhood, near the intersection of West Hubbard Street and North Clark Street. If you're looking for a hip dance spot, you can head to the second-floor dance club, which features top-notch Chicago DJs and a full bar with bottle service. Be sure to check the schedule, as you may catch a celebrity performance. Past performances have included Ludacris, Demi Lovato, and Louis the Child. For a more laid-back vibe, the rooftop is a great spot to enjoy a drink while taking in the panoramic views of the city.

    Location: 112 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA

    Open: Saturday–Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm, Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 11 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 312-651-3979


    Chicago Underground

    Explore Chicago’s hidden underground city

    Chicago Underground is a network of tunnels connecting businesses and attractions below the bustling city. You'll find Chicago Underground located South of Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. The Underground is traversed via the Pedway, a series of pedestrian passageways that link 5 miles of shopping, offices, and parking lots and take you to underground food stands and coffee shops. You may also enjoy exploring the underground streets where parts of "The Dark Knight" were filmed or touring the Deep Tunnel Project, which is located 350 feet under the streets. Chicago Underground is also home to a vibrant nightlife scene with a selection of bars, including a late-night dance club, a 1920s speakeasy, Japanese and tiki bars, and a live music venue.

    photo by David Wilson (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Replay Lincoln Park

    Play free vintage arcade games while enjoying a craft beer or cocktail

    Replay Lincoln Park features an arcade bar offering a wide variety of craft beers and arcade-themed cocktails. You can find the arcade located in Lincoln Park at the intersection of North Sheffield Avenue and West Wolfram Street. You can enjoy an impressive collection of pinball and retro games, including Tetris, Space Invaders, and Tron, and the best part is they are all free to play. When you're ready for a late-night snack, there is a small menu available featuring burgers and fries.

    Location: 2833 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

    Open: Sunday from noon to 10 pm, Monday–Thursday from 3 pm to 10 pm, Friday from 3 pm to 11 pm, Saturday from noon to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 773-665-5660


    Rosa's Lounge

    Watch live blues bands in an intimate lounge

    Rosa's Lounge is a popular family-owned blues lounge renowned for its ambience and performances and has received recognition from both the New York Times and Rolling Stone. You can find the lounge situated on West Armitage Avenue, just west of North Kimball Avenue. Performances include modern Chicago artists such as Sugar Blue and Billy Branch, as well as legendary performers like Pinetop Perkins and David Honeyboy. You can order food and drinks from the bar and find a great seat to enjoy the show in this intimate lounge.

    Location: 3420 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from 7 pm to 11 pm (closed Sunday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +1 773-342-0452


    Old Town School of Folk Music

    Enjoy a dance or music performance by folk music students

    Old Town School of Folk Music is a community arts school that offers a wide variety of public music concerts and dance performances. The school and 2 performance venues can be found at the intersection of Lincoln and North Oakley Avenues. At Gary & Laura Maurer Concert Hall, you can enjoy state-of-the-art acoustics and great views, with all seating close to the action. Myron R. Szold Music and Dance Hall offers a more flexible seating arrangement that allows guests to interact with performers. The Old Town School Cafe features light bites and sweet treats as well as cold beverages, coffee, beer, and wine.

    Location: 4544 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, USA

    Open: Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday–Thursday from 9 am to 10 pm, Friday from 9 am to 8 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 773-728-6000


    photo by Dannygutters (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

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