The Chicago Theatre

The Chicago Theatre, located at 175 N. State Street, is an all-purpose venue, so you never know what might be on the nightly schedule, as its shows run the gamut. Situated in the heart of the Loop neighborhood, the landmark Chicago Theatre is hard to miss, especially since its marquee sign, which reads "Chicago," can easily be seen from numerous downtown vantage points. Founded in 1921 and known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre, the Chicago Theatre has served various roles throughout its history. For example, it spent many years as the city's main movie theater. These days, anything from comedy acts, magic shows, Broadway-style stage plays, and concerts are held at the Chicago Theatre, and you'll do well to check the schedule out when in town.

Those who plan on seeing shows at the Chicago Theatre will not only be treated to a quality onstage performance, but also they will relish in the beautiful architecture. The theater is seven stories tall, and it covers nearly half a city block. Baroque touches can be found both inside and out, and the grand lobby was inspired by the Royal Chapel at the Palace of Versailles. Renovations to the theater that started in 1984 aimed to restore the 1930s appearance, and upon re-opening in 1986, the featured act was none other than Frank Sinatra. The Chicago Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1979, and in 1983, it was named an official Chicago Landmark. While the Chicago Theatre shows effectively steal the show once the lights go down, the impressive decor and history of the building itself is not to be overlooked.

In addition to concerts, magic acts, plays, and comedy acts, the Chicago Theatre shows also include a Cirque du Soleil production centered around vaudeville and the special Speaker Series, which highlights discussions among prominent personalities. The Speaker Series shows at the Chicago Theatre are most often politically based, and at times, they feature a moderator to help keep the conversation flowing.

Regardless of which Chicago Theatre shows interest you most, you can look to get your tickets in advance or once you arrive at the door. As one might imagine, buying your tickets for shows at the Chicago Theatre in advance is typically the best way to go, especially if you have your heart set on attending a special performance. There are some great downtown hotels within walking distance, so finding a nearby place to stay won't be hard. There are also a lot of fun things to do and see in the Loop when you're not enjoying one of the shows at the Chicago Theatre. As for getting something to eat before the show, the Loop is home to quite an array of restaurants, so you won't be at a loss for things to eat.

Image: City of Chicago
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