32 Best Things To Do In Chicago At Night

The bustling urban city of Chicago is brimming with things to do in the daytime. I mean, it’s one of the best world-class cities in the United States–how could you be bored?

From taking selfies at The Bean in Millennium Park to munching on deep-dish pizzas to exploring large and epic museums all around town, visitors can easily fill their days up with exciting activities.

But what is there to do in Chicago at night exactly? Well, we’re here to tell you that Chicago at night is something else!

In a city as large and magical as Chicago, it’s easy to see why Chicago comes even more alive in the nighttime! From karaoke bars and rooftop bars to speakeasies and museums after dark, there is no shortage of nighttime activities in The Windy City!

If you’re ready to keep the exploration going even after dark, here are the top things to do in Chicago at night.

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If you know nothing about Chicago, let’s start with the basics. Chicago is the third most populated city in the United States. It is a Midwest city that sits adjacent to Lake Michigan and is famed for its architecture.

Chicago is best known for the following:

  • The Bean, which is officially known as Cloud Gate at Millennium Park
  • Impressive architecture and skyscrapers
  • Chicago deep-dish pizza
  • Chicago-style hot dogs
  • Navy Pier, one of Chicago’s most famous landmarks and a popular tourist destination
  • Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs
  • The Chicago Riverwalk, a pedestrian area lining the Chicago River that features plenty of restaurants and resting spots to enjoy the river


Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!

When To Go: During the late spring, early summer, and early fall months: May, June, September, and October. Summers can be very hot and humid, but you’ll find plenty of outdoor events and festivals during this time.

Where To Stay: Near the center of all the action is best! I recommend The Westin Chicago River North or Pendry Chicago for more luxe vibes; Virgin Hotels Chicago for hip boutique hotel vibes at an affordable price!

Nearest Airport: O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

How to Get Around: Chicago is well-known for its convenient public transit system. It’s also a very walkable city! For longer distances, opt for rideshare before choosing to rent a car. Parking in downtown Chicago can be difficult and expensive — many hotels charge a daily fee for parking, and street parking can be limited and expensive.

Must-Do’s: See The Bean (Cloud Gate) at Millennium Park, take an architecture boat tour, visit Navy Pier, try a Chicago-style hotdog, and get a deep-dish pizza at Pequod’s (I recommend the spinach and garlic).

Before You Go: Pick up Go City’s Chicago All-Inclusive Pass if you plan on sightseeing and going into museums. It’ll save you so much money on attraction tickets!


Now that you have the download on Chicago’s most iconic attractions and features, let’s dive into the best things to do in Chicago at night!


Chicago 360 at night

Time to enjoy some quintessential cityscape views at a staple Chicago landmark! Chicago is one of the best places (if not the best place) in the USA to enjoy cityscape views. And nighttime is one of the best times to view the city’s twinkling lights from above!

The two most popular observation decks in Chicago are:

  • SkyDeck Chicago – Located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower)
  • CHICAGO 360 – From the top, you’ll be able to see Lake Michigan, Navy Pier, Soldier Field, and the Magnificent Mile.

Both feature spectacular views of Chicago’s skyline!


Save with Go City’s Chicago All-Inclusive Pass

Save up to 51% on tickets to Chicago’s most popular attractions, including Shedd Aquarium, CHICAGO 360, Skydeck Chicago, Shoreline Architecture River Cruise, Museum of Science and Industry, and more. You can choose from 25+ different attractions in total.

We explored Chicago with this pass and got to see a lot more than we usually do in big cities — while saving a ton of money!

Pro Tip: Don’t want to pay for views? For similar skyline views, head to The Signature Room at the 95th. This restaurant/lounge offers guests a dining experience with sweeping 360-degree views. All you have to do is pay for your meal or drinks!


The Goodman Chicago - TravelsWithElle

If you’re into Broadway shows, plays, and productions, Chicago’s got an entire area that’s made for just that. The Chicago Theatre District offers a variety of top-billing performances and concerts held across many renowned venues.

Take, for example, The Goodman Theatre. This venue is the largest and oldest non-profit theatre in Chicago, and if you find a show you like there, we highly recommend booking tickets!

Pro Tip: Looking to save on ticket costs? At 10 am each performance day, remaining mezzanine seats at The Goodman are available at half-price online!

Here are a few other theatres you might want to check the events calendar for:


Chicago Sunset Cruise - Best Things To Do In Chicago At Night

Architecture river cruises in Chicago are an absolute must. Not only will taking a river cruise help you get your bearings and help you better understand the layout of the city, but you’ll also learn so much about the city’s inspiring past.

And did we mention you’re going to be an architecture pro after your cruise? Trust us, they are a lot of fun.

While a daytime river cruise is a fun activity, the architecture river cruises at night, held after dark or at sunset, are even more beautiful. You’ll get the added perk of seeing the city skyline lit up, from a really unique perspective!

There are also dinner cruises available which include either a 3-course meal or a buffet, music, drinks, and more.


Want to learn about Chicago from a truly unique perspective? With a historian as your guide on the Gangsters and Ghosts Tour, you’ll step back to the roaring 20’s, when the Chicago Loop was a hub for bootleggers, speakeasies, and gangsters like the infamous Al Capone.

Not only will you get to hear about the wild stories of the past, but you’ll also visit previous gangster hangouts and haunted sites like the Palmer House, Congress Hotel, and Death Alley.

In our opinion, the Gangsters and Ghosts Tour in Chicago is one of the most fun things to do in Chicago at night! This historic tour is a walking tour so be prepared to walk.


It’s no secret that Chicago has a colorful history related to crime. If you’re intrigued by all the crime history that’s tied to the city, then the Chicago Night Crimes Bus Tour is for you.

On this 2.5-hour tour, you’ll hop on a bus to discover the ‘dark side’ of the Windy City. Explore the lives of notorious mobsters like Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Bugs Moran, and more as you learn about things like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and ‘The Enforcer’s Safe’ and stop by local watering holes.

In addition to learning about a super intriguing topic, you can expect your guide to be funny, informative, and engaging!


Museum of Science And Industry - 1 Day Chicago Itinerary

When a museum closes for the day, they don’t really always stay closed. Many of the top museums in Chicago offer adults-only after-hours events that run until 10pm!

These events are usually themed differently each week, featuring nighttime cocktails, tours, and special exhibits. Some even include dancing or game nights!

Here are just a few examples:


Save with Go City’s Chicago All-Inclusive Pass

Save up to 51% on tickets to Chicago’s most popular attractions, including Shedd Aquarium, CHICAGO 360, Skydeck Chicago, Shoreline Architecture River Cruise, Museum of Science and Industry, and more. You can choose from 25+ different attractions in total.

We explored Chicago with this pass and got to see a lot more than we usually do in big cities — while saving a ton of money!


Chicago Riverwalk - 4 Day Chicago Itinerary - TravelsWithElle

Open 24/7, the Chicago Riverwalk is a really enjoyable activity in Chicago at night. Since it’s only about 1.25 miles, you can enjoy a peaceful, flat stroll along a beautifully manicured path along the Chicago River.

Grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes, bistros, and restaurants that line the water. Stop for drinks or even for some souvenir shopping along the way!


Navy Pier At Night Chicago Illinois

Navy Pier stretches more than six city blocks and offers incredible views of the Chicago skyline, parks and Lake Michigan. One of the best things to do at Navy Pier is just to take a stroll through the whole thing!

If you happen to be traveling in the summertime, Navy Pier is not to be missed. There is a fireworks show that takes place on Wednesday and Saturday nights from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Secondly, if you’re visiting Chicago during the holiday season, don’t miss Navy Pier’s holiday event, Light Up the Lake. This holiday event runs from late November to early January.

At the event, you can expect massive light sculptures, an ice rink, an authentic holiday beer garden, kiddie train rides, a gift market, and other family-friendly and date-night activities!

While there is no admission fee to enter Navy Pier, some of the rides and attractions within Navy Pier do cost extra. For example, the Ferris wheel costs $15 for adults. There are also other ride passes for sale.

Want to see the fireworks from the water on your own private boat? Check out this 2-hour boating excursion and enjoy the private sail ending with The Navy Pier Fireworks.


Similar to the museum after-hours events, the Lincoln Park Zoo also has its own adults-only program after dark!

Throughout the year, the Lincoln Park Zoo is open late on some Friday nights (during the summer, holidays, and other special events) for adults-only events that offer alcohol. These events typically include unique animal chats, educational entertainment, a live DJ, and multiple bars throughout the zoo.

While the zoo is normally free, tickets for nighttime events are usually required. Check their calendar for the latest nighttime events.


Second City Comedy Chicago

You will easily find comedy shows dotted all throughout the city of Chicago. If you’re looking for a festive night out filled with laughter, you definitely can’t miss a comedy show in the city.

If you’re looking for pointers, on where to go, check out Laugh Factory Chicago, where you can enjoy laughs and cocktails 6 nights a week.

Second City, The Comedy Bar, and Annoyance Theater are all other great options that sell affordable tickets!

The comics will range from local headliners to up-and-comers to well-known comedy stars–and you never know, but celebrities tend to drop in for surprise performances a lot!


Green Mill - Best Things To Do In Chicago At Night

Step back in time and visit one of the oldest clubs in the US! Green Mill is a classic Chicago establishment known for its jazzy live music and poetry performances, along with its connections to Chicago mob history (Al Capone used to frequent this spot back in the day).

Even today, you’ll still find this place maintaining its old-timey atmosphere, with jazz music straight from the 1930s and 1940s. It’s quite an authentic experience, meaning it can get crowded, smoky, and loud. But what’s not to love about that?

Pro Tip: Depending on the night you go, there could be a small cover charge for the nighttime jazz. It definitely gets busy, so we recommend getting there early as they do not take reservations. The place usually fills up before 11pm.


Chicago has its fair share of speakeasies, given its mobster history. It might take a little extra work to track down these “secret” Chicago bars, but once you find them, they’re so completely worth it!

Local favorites include Blind Barber in Fulton Market (fun bar behind an actual barbershop), Bordel in Wicker Park (craft cocktails and cabaret), Violet Hour in Wicker Park, and Chicago Magic Lounge in Andersonville.

In addition to the many speakeasies you can visit, be sure to check out a rooftop bar or two during the warmer seasons. Cabra, Rooftop at Nobu, Cabana Club, Cindy’s Rooftop, and Z Bar are all great options for good drinks and views!


Escape rooms have exploded in popularity these days. They make for some of the best indoor entertainment for groups, and one of the best features about them is the fact that they are open late. If you and your group are looking for things to do in Chicago at night and are willing to flex those brain muscles, you should definitely consider doing an escape room!

The Escape Game is the most popular escape room company in Chicago. You can pick from themed rooms such as Gold Rush, Mission Mars, Special Ops, The Heist, and Prison Break.

Once you arrive, you and your friends/family members must work together to find clues and solve puzzles in a set amount of time to ultimately escape!

Pro Tip: The Escape Game experience is included in some tourist passes like the Go City Chicago Card.


Pool Party Spring Break - Cancun In March - TravelsWithElle

There is no shortage of nightclubs in Chicago for dancing the night away. A lot of these nightclubs not only feature energetic dancefloors but also spinning DJs and bottle service if that’s how you want to roll!

Depending on which neighborhood you’re staying in, you’ll want to check out the following:

  • Smart Bar (Wrigleyville)
  • Tao Chicago (River North)
  • Electric Hotel (River North)
  • Sound-Bar (River North)
  • Disco (River North)
  • PRYSM Nightclub (Lincoln Park)
  • Beauty Bar (Chicago West)
  • Le Nocturne (Uptown)


Nightlife in Chicago - 1 Day Chicago Itinerary For First Timers - Travels With Elle

Just as there is no shortage of nightclubs or speakeasies, there also is no shortage of bars in Chicago. One of the best times to visit these bars is after nightfall when the atmosphere picks up and the liveliness is at its peak!

For cool, hipster bars, check out Sparrow in the Near North Side area, Debonaire in Wicker Park, or Emporium Arcade Bar (has locations in Logan Square, Wicker Park, the Fulton Market District).

For brewery hopping, don’t miss Revolution Brewing in Logan Square, Goose Island in Lincoln Park, or Half Acre in Lincoln Square.

And when you’re done barhopping, end your night with a few Chicago-style hot dogs or a pan of late-night deep-dish pizza!


Sakura Karaoke Bar Chicago IL

For the ultimate judgment-free nighttime activity in Chicago, hit up a karaoke bar! Karaoke bars in Chicago come in all shapes and sizes, from dive bars where you perform in front of others to more intimate settings where you can sing in the comfort of your own karaoke room.

Alice’s Lounge, Trader Todd’s, and Brando’s Speakeasy will be great options if you want to belt out tunes in public, while Sakura Karaoke Lounge in Chinatown is the one if you’re looking to rent a private room.

If you want to switch between bowling, playing arcade games, and karaoke-ing, head straight for Punch Bowl Social (they offer 2 small, private karaoke rooms for rent by the hour).


Wrigley Field Chicago

Because Chicago is a major metropolitan city, a lot of artists tend to do shows here. Aside from big stadium shows, popular music venues in Chicago include House Of Blues, The Empty Bottle, The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, and Smartbar. You can do a quick Google search for ‘events in Chicago’ and usually the music events will pop up at the top of your search results.

And of course, Chicago is home to the Chicago Cubs! If you’re a baseball fan, catching a game at Wrigley Field is one of the most iconic things to do in Chicago. You can also catch a Chicago Bears football game at Soldier Field.

Since there won’t be a show or sporting event guaranteed every night, you will have to do some research while planning your trip for your best chances at catching a concert or game!


Enjoy a live, guided tour of Chicago’s night sky in Chicago’s oldest planetarium! Every month, Adler Planetarium holds a 21-and-up after-hours event that invites adults to explore the Museum Campus while enjoying themed drinks and live entertainment.

Usually, the drinking is paired with music and featured vendors, all while guests learn about space, the future of deep space exploration, and a featured topic of the month.

With after-hours admission, you’ll get full access to museum exhibits and galleries, unlimited sky shows in their state-of-the-art theaters, access to special guest lectures, and hands-on educational activities.

Consider grabbing the Go City: Chicago Explorer Pass to visit any 2 to 7 of the most popular attractions of your choice and save your money and time.


Chicago Magic Lounge - Best Things To Do In Chicago At Night

In the mood for dinner, comedy, and a magic show? Then you’ll need to prioritize a visit to Chicago Magic Lounge, a true hidden gem in Chicago! This wonderful venue is dedicated to bringing back the classic magic-bar scene in Chicago.

There’s a lot that happens when you reserve a seat at the Chicago Magic Lounge. The first hour is for food, cocktails, and magic of course! The second hour is dedicated to enjoying the opening act and main act. The magic will be impressive, and you can expect acts to include fun card tricks, hypnotizing, and mind-reading.

If you want to get a good laugh in and have a very entertaining night, definitely do not miss this one!


Lincoln Park Ghost Tour
Courtesy of GetYourGuide

Embark on a ghost-themed walking tour through Northside Chicago! On the Ghosts of Lincoln Park Walking Tour, you’ll visit some of the city’s most chilling locations and learn about the ghosts of gangsters and serial killers who haunt the streets.

This one probably sounds more terrifying than it really is, but one thing is for sure–you will sure learn a lot about Chicago’s crime history!


​Since 2013, the Argyle Night Market has been keeping locals entertained with music, culture and food!

This seasonal event is held on Thursdays from June to September and features a variety of food trucks, local vendors, and live entertainment. Visitors can enjoy street foods from around the world, shop for handmade goods, and listen to live music.

The market also has a beer garden, where visitors can relax with a cold drink in hand while enjoying the warm summer night. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it’s finally back!

The Argyle Night Market is free to enter.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra Orchestra Hall - Things To Do At Night Chicago
Courtesy of Chicago Symphony Orchestra

A night out listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a perfect thing to do in Chicago for music lovers. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is EASILY one of the best orchestras in the world, and their performances are renowned for their exceptional quality and artistry.

The Orchestra performs at Orchestra Hall, which is a beautiful venue with excellent acoustics. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece, with Art Deco design elements and a grand entrance that sets the tone for an unforgettable evening.

If you attend a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, expect a truly immersive experience that engages all of the senses! We’re talking powerful and moving music where the Orchestra’s world-class musicians bring each piece to life with their skill and passion!


Buckingham Fountain - Things To Do In Chicago

As one of the largest fountains in the world, the water action that Buckingham Fountain produces from early May to mid-October (when temperatures are above freezing) is a must-see.

Every 20 minutes until 11:00 PM, the fountain puts on an amazing water display that is free of charge to watch.

At dusk, the fountain show is especially nice! Lights and music accompany the 150 feet water jets, making it a must-do if you’re even remotely in the area.

In addition to the fountain itself, Grant Park is a beautiful and expansive green space that offers a variety of activities for visitors. The park is known as “Chicago’s Front Yard” and is home to many iconic landmarks, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and the Museum Campus. Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the park either before or after the fountain show and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

If you’re looking for something to eat or drink, there are plenty of options in the area. The nearby neighborhoods of South Loop and Printer’s Row offer a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to a range of tastes and budgets. 


Topgolf Chicago - Best Things To Do In Chicago At Night
Courtesy of Topgolf Chicago

Topgolf Chicago is a fun and unique activity to enjoy in Chicago at night — no matter if you’re traveling solo or with a large group. Located slightly out of the way in Schaumburg, Topgolf is a golfing range with a twist.

Instead of hitting balls into a traditional range, players aim for targets that are spread out across the range. Players score points based on how close they get to the targets, making for a fun and competitive experience.

Topgolf Chicago is open late, making it a great option for a night out. The venue is open until 11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends.

In addition to the driving range, Topgolf also features a full-service restaurant and bar, making it a great spot to grab a drink or a bite to eat while enjoying the game.

In total, there are three floors worth of entertainment whether it be golfing from one of their over 100 climate-controlled bays, watching a game on one of their 200 TVs, grubbing on some food, or enjoying the rooftop terrace and its fire pits!

Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, Topgolf Chicago is a fun and entertaining activity that is perfect for a night out with friends or family. The venue is open rain or shine, so even if the weather isn’t great, you can still enjoy a fun and competitive game of golf!


If you’re visiting Chicago in the winter, one of the most fun things to do at night is to enjoy one of Chicago’s many seasonal ice skating rinks.

During the winter season, the city has several outdoor ice skating rinks that are open during the winter months, providing a fun and festive atmosphere for visitors and locals alike. A few to check out include:

  • The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park – Located in the heart of downtown, this rink is surrounded by cool architecture and offers beautiful views of the city skyline. The rink is typically open from mid-November to mid-March and offers free admission.
  • Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon – This unique rink is shaped like a winding ribbon and offers a fun and challenging skating experience. The rink is open from mid-November to mid-March and offers skate rentals for a fee.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo – The zoo also offers an ice skating rink during the winter months. The rink is located in the zoo’s Farm-in-the-Zoo area and is open from late November to late February.


Chicago’s Candlelight Concerts is a series of special classical music concerts that take place in beautiful, intimate venues bathed in candlelight.

Current offerings include shows such as A Tribute To Taylor Swift, The Best of Hans Zimmer, Bach to The Beatles, A Tribute To Adele, and so much more. You’ll want to book as soon as possible because there are limited tickets for these shows!

Click here to see all the candlelight concerts offered at this moment.

27. The Roar: A Prohibition Era Speakeasy

Go back in time to Chicago’s Prohibition Era at The Roar on Rush!

The Roar is a unique Speakeasy and cocktail-tasting experience set during the jazz age of Chicago. Grab a delicious 1920s drink and enjoy live music, food, and more.

This limited-time event features a lively Speakeasy that lights the way to a hidden 4-room cocktail experience where you will meet quirky characters from the elaborate web of a Roaring Twenties bootlegging operation.

Each room tells a story and is paired with a cocktail tasting from Prohibition times! Afterward, take a seat in the Speakeasy for more cocktails, food, and live music with special performances.

You’re gonna want to break out your best flapper dresses and linen jackets, this cocktail party at The Roar is not to be missed!


Enjoy an intimate evening filled with good music paired with a 3-course meal at Grand Cabaret After Dark!

Located at The Grand Cabaret inside Porkchop, prepare to be mesmerized by the live jazz, bluegrass, and country music from the Chris Ussery Trio while savoring an exquisite three-course meal.

Standard Admission includes entry to the experience, reserved table seating, and a three-course meal. Since doors open at 6:00 pm and the live music and dinner service starts at 6:45 pm, you’ll have time after the show to continue the night out elsewhere!


Mad Hatter’s (Gin &) Tea Party is the perfect event for Alice In Wonderland fans and all fantasy lovers in general! They’ve had 100,000+ tickets sold in other cities like NYC, LA, London, Paris — and they’ve finally made it to Chicago!

At this limited-time event, you’ll get to immerse yourself in the classic story of Alice in Wonderland at this themed pop-up bar! Bring out your crazy side as you interact with characters from the beloved fairytale and treat your taste buds to a menu of tantalizing tea party cocktails crafted with the most curious components. All of this while wearing a Mad Hatter top hat!

The 1.5-hour cocktail experience includes 1 small welcome drink, 3 original cocktails served in tea cups, small pastries and bite-sized snacks, and a Mad Hatter Hat to wear during the experience! Too much fun!


Fancy a game night with your date, friends, or family members? Call up your favorite gamer friends and head on down to Midlane Esports for a night of fun!

At Midlane Esports, you pay by the hour so you can play unlimited games. Yes, unlimited!

Whether you are a casual gamer or take gaming seriously – there will be something here for you! With the Wombo Combo, you get two hours of gaming along with a game-themed cocktail, or bottomless soda and an appetizer – the choice is all yours.

Have a night of Nintendo nostalgia or a mainstream Fortnite party on the PS5 at the click of a button. They also have tabletop games too!

31. Drunk Shakespeare Chicago!

Looking for a unique and hilarious way to watch Shakespeare? Then get tickets to Drunk Shakespeare Chicago!

This magical stage where great things happen is set in a hidden speakeasy located behind the Chicago Theater. Guests enter to find a glam cocktail bar and library with over 10,000 books.

Five classically-trained actors meet as members of “The Drunk Shakespeare Society”. One of them has at least 5 shots of whiskey and then they (quite over-confidently) attempt to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play!

Hilarity and mayhem will ensue while the four sober actors try and keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking… and what they’re drinking!


Live Music In Chicago - Things To Do In Chicago At Night

Chicago’s music scene is a whole lotta fun, and there are many venues and restaurants where you can listen to live music at night. Here are a few options:

  • The Green Mill: We mentioned this one before, but this legendary jazz club in Uptown has been around since 1907 and has hosted some of the biggest names in jazz! It’s a great spot to catch live music in an intimate setting.
  • Kingston Mines: This blues club in Lincoln Park is known for its lively atmosphere and great music. There are two stages, so you can catch multiple acts in one night.
  • Buddy Guy’s Legends: This blues club in the South Loop is owned by legendary blues musician Buddy Guy. It features live music seven nights a week and has a menu of Southern-style food.
  • Andy’s Jazz Club: This jazz club in River North has been around since 1951 and features live music every night of the week. They also have a full dinner menu.
  • The Chicago Theatre: This historic theater in the Loop hosts a variety of concerts and shows throughout the year. It’s a great place to catch big-name acts in a beautiful setting.
  • The Hideout: This dive bar in Bucktown is known for its eclectic lineup of live music, including indie rock, country, and more. It’s a great spot to catch up-and-coming acts.
  • The Promontory: This restaurant and music venue in Hyde Park features live music in a variety of genres, including jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. They also have a full menu of Southern-inspired food.


On my last trip to Chicago, I used Go City’s Chicago All-Inclusive Pass. This easy-to-use mobile attraction pass really helped us see a lot of Chicago in a really short amount of time, and it helped us save a ton of money!

The Go City Chicago Pass is a digital attraction pass that provides easy access and admission to some of Chicago’s most popular museums and excursions. With certain excursions, you’re even able to skip the line, saving you both money and time.

There are two types of passes–the All-Inclusive Pass and the Explorer Pass.

The Go City All-Inclusive Pass is really great for travelers who want to see as much as possible while they’re in Chicago. With the All-Inclusive Pass, you can choose between a 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 or 7-day pass that will give you free admission to 25+ museums and attractions throughout Chicago.

The pass includes admission to the following heavy-hitters:

  • Architecture River Cruise
  • Skydeck Chicago
  • 360 Chicago
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Field Museum
  • Museum Of Science And Industry
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Skyline Lake Tour

If you don’t plan on visiting a ton of different attractions, Go City also has an Explorer Pass which will still save you a lot of money. With the Explorer Pass, you’ll pay one flat fee for a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7-choice pass.

You’ll then have 60 days to use the Explorer Pass on whichever attractions you’d like. There is also no need to pick attractions ahead of time, so you’ll have the flexibility to choose attractions as you go.

You can buy the pass online here. Be sure to use a promo code before buying!

DEAL ALERT: For a limited time, use the above link + the promo code AFFGOALL for an additional 5% off your Go City pass. This code is valid for any Go City pass in any destination!


  • Chicago Pizza Tour: Chicago’s only bus guided neighborhood pizza tour, includes 4 stops in different neighborhoods.
  • Bikes, Bites, and Brews – Chicago’s Signature Dishes Bike Tour: Half-day bike tour featuring classic eats like Chicago dogs, deep-dish pizza, cupcakes and craft beer!
  • Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour: Explore Chicago while hearing stories about Chicago’s most notorious criminals and mobsters including Al Capone and John Dillinger.
  • Chicago Architecture River Cruise: A must-do for first timers! We did this tour and loved every minute of the cityscape views and the storytelling our guide used to teach us the history of Chicago.
  • Prince: The Immersive Experience: Lose yourself on an interactive trip through the music and life of Prince. Journey through 10 multidimensional spaces
  • Harry Potter: Magic at Play: A unique, hands-on experience that will bring out the young witch or wizard in all of us. Explore, climb, and play your way through three floors of fun packed with playful celebrations of your favorite places and moments!


If your travel dates fall within the dates of a festival or event, try to work it into your 4-day Chicago itinerary! Some of our favorite memories of travel destinations are from special local events that we happened to just stumble upon.

  • SoxFest (Jan) – celebrating all things baseball
  • Winter Brew (Jan) – beer festival
  • Chicago Ale Fest (Feb) – beer festival
  • Chicago Auto Show (Feb)
  • Chicago Theatre Week (Feb)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March) – includes an annual dyeing of the Chicago River and huge parade
  • Windy City BREWHAHA (March) – beer festival
  • Chicago Restaurant Week (March)
  • Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (April) – largest pop culture convention in the Midwest
  • Chicago Memorial Day Parade (May)
  • Maifest Chicago (May) – honors German heritage and the start of spring
  • Gay Pride Chicago (June)
  • Chicago Blues Festival (June)
  • Taste of Chicago (July) – the world’s largest free-admission food festival
  • Pitchfork Music Festival (July)
  • Air and Water Show (August)
  • Lollapalooza (August)
  • Chicago Jazz Festival (September)
  • Hyde Park Jazz Festival (September)
  • Oktoberfest Chicago (September) – beer festival
  • Chicago International Film Festival (October)
  • Chicago Marathon (October)
  • The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (November)
  • McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade (November) – free parade featuring large marching bands, inflatable floats, and performance acts
  • Christkindlmarket (December) – inspired by the epic German market in Nuremberg
  • Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest (December)

And there you have it–our top recommended things to do in Chicago at night! We hope this post helped you discover a new thing or two about Chicago’s nightlife scene. Happy traveling and adventuring!

You might also like:

4 Days In Chicago: Itinerary For An Epic Long Weekend

1 Day Chicago Itinerary For First Timers: The Must-Do Highlights

The Ultimate Lollapalooza Packing List: 21 Festival Essentials To Bring

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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