Live Music Jams across Chicago That You Can Enjoy Nightly

The power of live music is on full display at a host of Chicago clubs, music theaters and even in restaurants. If listening to bands and vocalists show off their skills is how you like to spend an evening, you'll find that Chicago does things right. Multiple options let you tap into the venues that 10Best readers favor, like relative newcomer Lincoln Hall or longtime favorites like Green Mill. While the local music scene can’t be found in one particular area, it’s not hard to find your favorite sound since hundreds of venues play live music almost every single night from blues and jazz to rock and roll and folk.

Great bands can be found playing in small, dingy venues like Martyrs’ to elegant, old-world speakeasy lounges like Green Mill. Just outside the city’s borders, fans head to FitzGerald’s in Berwyn to hear big bands and Evanston SPACE for its intimate vibe.

Most people know the Old Town School of Folk Music for its outstanding offerings of music classes but its line up of folk and world music draws sold-out crowds to its elegant and intimiate concert hall.

Whatever your taste in live music, you can easily find top-notch performers and a great venue to enjoy it in Chicago. 

From Dizzy Gillespie on down to Roy Hargove, jazz legends have been playing owner Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase since 1947. The club has moved multiple times over the decades but has settled in comfortably in this acoustically refined South Loop...  Read More

Roscoe Village

Not always the first place people think about when looking for live music in Chicago, Beat Kitchen deserves a mention because it books some great bands and the smallness of the venue makes it easy to get up close and personal with the musicians...  Read More

Lincoln Park

Small enough yet large enough venue to enjoy great bands. Fans love the intimacy yet never feel it's too crowded to see and hear the band because of the great acoustics and sight lines from both the main level and upstairs. Aside from the...  Read More

Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Jay Pritzker Pavilion is not only an architecturally gorgeous venue in downtown Chicago, but it has an outstanding sound system and provides a wide variety of high-caliber concerts for free, if you sit on the lawn. The Grammy-nominated Grant...  Read More

Blues Heaven Foundation
Photo courtesy of Photo by Jamie Bartosch

The former home of Chess Records studios, where some of the greatest blues music of all time was recorded, has now been converted into a blues museum and live music venue. Your best bet is to go to one of the free 6 p.m. shows in their new...  Read More

Large, high-energy Latin bands with jammin' horn sections play regularly at this Moorish-styled Middle Eastern restaurant and club, one of the most popular dance clubs in Chicago. Even if you don't want to dance, you'll enjoy hearing bands play...  Read More

Who better to design a space to play than musicians themselves? That was the goal when creating SPACE (which stands for Society for the Preservation of Art & Culture) located just north of Chicago in Evanston. Every part of the venue, from...  Read More

Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Photo courtesy of 4/09 Image emailed from CSO. - Lisa

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Orchestra Hall is a grand space with great acoustics and stunning architecture. Add to that one of the country's best orchestras (they've won more Grammy Awards than any other ensemble in the world) and seeing a...  Read More

The venue is standing room only but even when it's packed it can be a lot of fun to hear live music. From some of the biggest names in folk to jazz, big band, country, blues, rock and open mics, this off the beaten path (it's in Berwyn) venue...  Read More

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Trendy folks and jazz aficionados regularly flock to this cool joint. Once a hangout of Al Capone, Charlie Chaplin and Gloria Swanson, the place has tons of character. It was also a speakeasy during Prohibition, meaning that Green Mill retains a...  Read More


Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.