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Chicago Theatre

See a stage show at this iconic cultural beacon, which still captures all the splendor of a trip to the movie theater in the early 20th century.

Grand movie theaters defined the cultural climate of the U.S. in the early 1900s, and the Chicago Theatre was one of the first buildings of this type. It now hosts live productions rather than film, and the opulence of its early days has been carefully preserved. See a show here to admire a magnificent interior that is an important piece of history. 

The theater cost $4 million to build, an enormous amount of money in 1921, when it first opened. The building’s opening was met with a storm of excitement. At the time, it was known as the “Wonder Theatre of the World.” Take a quick look around the building to see why. Stand in the lobby and look up. The decorations of the grand space are inspired by the Royal Chapel at Versailles. See the crystal chandeliers, elegant marble columns and ornate ceiling details that make this open area so impressive. The theater spawned many imitations throughout the country during the first few years after it opened. It is still considered one of the best original palace-style movie theaters. 

Step into the 3,600-seat auditorium to see how the grandeur is taken to another level. Its high ceiling means the space is an impressive seven stories tall. Appreciate the incredible detail on the murals above the stage and on the ceiling. 

Buy tickets for a show here well in advance, as events are popular and sell out quickly. Modern legends who have appeared on the theater’s stage include Ellen DeGeneres, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, David Letterman, Van Morrison, Arcade Fire and many more. 

Whether or not you plan on attending a show at the Chicago Theatre, it is worth a visit just to appreciate its beautiful façade. Special features include an enormous stained-glass window along with an unmissable multi-level fluorescent sign. Find the theater in the downtown area, just south of the Chicago River.


Guide to Exploring around Chicago Theater


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Lodging Near Chicago Theater

See all 480 Hotels near Chicago Theater
$143
Congress Plaza Hotel

Congress Plaza Hotel

520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
3.4
of 5, from 389 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Built in 1893, this downtown Chicago hotel offers a convenient location across from Grant Park and close to Lake Michigan.

$178
Hard Rock Hotel Chicago

Hard Rock Hotel Chicago

230 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago
4.1
of 5, from 2,065 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

On Michigan Avenue and across from Millennium Park, this rock-inspired hotel occupies the 36-story, Art Deco-style Carbide and Carbon Building in downtown's Loop; Macy's is a block away.

$130
River Hotel

River Hotel

75 East Wacker Drive, Chicago
4.2
of 5, from 1,031 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Chicago Theater, Wrigley Building, and Tribune Tower. Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre and Chicago Cultural Center are also within 10 minutes.

$191
Palmer House a Hilton Hotel

Palmer House a Hilton Hotel

17 E Monroe St, Chicago
4.2
of 5, from 2,556 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This 1925 Beaux Arts-style Chicago hotel is steps from Millennium Park, 2 blocks from Macy's and the Art Institute, and 1 mile from Lake Michigan, Magnificent Mile shopping, and Wrigley Tower.

$130
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop

Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop

111 West Adams Street, Chicago
4.2
of 5, from 2,043 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Club Quarters is a club-like hotel in the center of the Loop, Chicago’s central business district. A short walk to Symphony Center, the Art Institute, Board of Trade, Willis Tower, Grant Park and the Riverfront, the Theatre District and Magnificent Mile.

$205
Virgin Hotels Chicago

Virgin Hotels Chicago

203 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
4.8
of 5, from 475 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Centrally located in downtown Chicago’s Loop business district, this upscale hotel is a 10-minute walk from the iconic Bean sculpture in leafy Millennium Park and a short stroll from the boutiques and museums of Magnificent Mile. Wrigley Field, home to the Cubs, is a 20-minute drive.

$189
Hyatt Regency Chicago

Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 East Wacker Dr, Chicago
4.3
of 5, from 2,859 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This Magnificent Mile hotel is located among Chicago's world-class shopping, restaurants and attractions. The Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Art Institute are less than a mile away.

$276
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

401 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
4.8
of 5, from 815 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Near North Side, this family-friendly Chicago hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. Chicago Theater and Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre are also within 10 minutes.