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Chicago Theatre

175 North State Street | Chicago, IL 60601 | Official website
Chicago Theatre Photo info
f11photo/Shutterstock
  • Type: Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing, Tours
  • Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
Overall Rating: 4.0 U.S. News Travel (4.1)
Value: 4.0 (4.0)
Facilities: 4.0 (4.0)
Atmosphere: 4.5 (4.5)
About these ratings

Aside from Cloud Gate and Buckingham Fountain, the Chicago Theatre's red and yellow marquee is perhaps one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Illuminating North State Street at the northern edge of the Loop, the Chicago Theatre first opened its doors in 1921 as an extravagant movie theater and performance venue. Throughout its history, the theater has hosted such big names as Duke Ellington, Diana Ross and Lewis Black in addition to screening blockbuster flicks. Those who attend shows today say that the theater's historic appearance only enhances the viewing experience.

You don't have to catch a show to admire the theater. Hourlong guided tours are available year-round, although times vary by month and may change to accommodate performance schedules. On a guided tour, you'll learn about the theater's French-baroque features, like the exterior facade modeled after the Arc de Triomphe, the Versailles-inspired lobby and the grand staircase mimicking that of the Paris Opera. You'll also have the opportunity to peek behind the scenes: The tour leads participants through the dressing rooms (where many performers — including Frank Sinatra and Dolly Parton — have signed the walls) and out onto the stage.

You'll find the Chicago Theatre a few blocks northwest of Millennium Park, a short walk from the State/Lake "L" train station (serviced by the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink and Purple lines) and the Lake station (serviced by the Red line). Showtimes and ticket prices vary by day and performer; tours cost $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. For a detailed schedule of upcoming performances and tour times, visit the Chicago Theatre's website.

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