BEST Things to do in Chicago at Night in 2022 (From a Local)

Wondering what to do in Chicago at night? Below are the best things to do in Chicago at night in 2022.

Looking for fun things to do in Chicago tonight? The are tons of unique things you can do in Chicago at nighttime. Whether you are visiting Chicago or have lived here all your life, you will find something unique and new to do in the city in the evening.

Best Things to do in Chicago at Night (2022)

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you make a booking using my links at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Below are the top things to do in Chicago in the evening.

Join a Mob or Crime Tour

Chicago is known for its history of organized crime and being the home of mafia figure Al Capone. There are several fun mob tours in the evening for those that want to learn more about the history of organized crime.

Listen to Music at an Intimate Candlelight Concert

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

You can find the full list of candlelight concerts in Chicago here.

Take an Architecture River Cruise

Chicago has amazing architecture and the best way enjoy it is by going on an architecture river cruise. In addition to cruises throughout the day, there are also architecture cruises available in the evening.

Take a Lake Cruise

skyline from lake cruise in Chicago in the summer
If you enjoy being on the water, a lake cruise is also a fun activity at night. While you don’t get to see the buildings up close like on a architecture river cruise, you do get to enjoy skyline views. If your time is short, you can do a combination river and lake cruise. Lake cruises depart from Navy Pier or the Michigan Avenue bridge.

Enjoy the Views from 360 Chicago

360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory) on the 94th floor of the 875 North Michigan Avenue (the building formerly known as the John Hancock Center) has an observatory with great panoramic views of Chicago. The highlight is TILT an enclosed moving platform that tilts you out over Michigan Avenue. You can also visit BAR 94 which has a full 360-degree view of Chicago.

If you prefer to enjoy the same views over a meal or a drink, there is an upscale restaurant on the 95th floor named the The Signature Room at the 95th, and a bar on the 96th floor called The Signature Lounge at the 96th which are open late in the evening.

Click here to buy a skip the line ticket).

Enjoy the Views from the Skydeck at Willis Tower

The Skydeck at Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower and what locals still call it) is the most well known of Chicago’s two tall skyscrapers with public observatories. The Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and was the tallest building in the world from 1974 until 1998.

If you are not scared of heights, stand on The Ledge, a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor of Willis Tower!

Click here to buy a skip the line ticket.

Open until 10pm

Adler at Night

The Adler Planetarium is open late every Wednesday night. Experience hands-on, minds-on activities, experiences, and shows about the universe and see their award-winning sky shows.

Every Wednesday is free Museum Entry for Illinois residents with proof of residency. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

Open late on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm–10:00 pm

Watch Free Summer Fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights

Navy Pier puts on a free fireworks show twice a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  While you can watch the fireworks from Navy Pier, you can also watch it from various spots along the lakefront and some restaurants and bars. Another great option for watching the fireworks is on a fireworks lake or river cruise which will stop on the water for passengers to enjoy the show.

Have Fun at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a must do if you are visiting Chicago with toddlers or kids. There are fun attractions at Navy Pier including a large Ferris wheel (click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line), rides and games, restaurants and bars. Navy Pier is also the starting point for various sightseeing tours, boat rides and cruises. Navy Pier puts on a free fireworks show on Wednesday and Saturday nights in the summer.

Open to 10pm Sunday-Thursdays and midnight on Friday & Saturday

This summer, Navy Pier will be home to Pixar Putt, a pop-up, open-air 18-hole mini-golf course featuring characters from Disney and Pixar movies, including Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Coco, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, and Inside Out. Pixar Putt After Dark tee off times (Thursday-Saturday from 7 pm onwards) are reserved for adults 18+ only.

Attend the The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience

The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience is an immersive Regency-era ball with period costumes and stunning decor. Enjoy music inspired by the Bridgerton soundtrack and be captivated by the performances around you in this 90 minute interactive experience.

When: Ends June 19, 2022 (various dates and times)

Where: XS Tennis and Education Foundation, 5336 S State St, Chicago, IL, 60609

Cost:  Tickets start at $49 per person for general admission. Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.

Prince: The Immersive Experience

Celebrating the Artist known as Prince, by visiting Prince: The Immersive Experience, an interactive, multisensory experience. Tour 10 immersive spaces and explore his life, revolution, and talent as you step inside the iconic Purple Rain album cover and an audiovisual dance party designed by Prince’s lighting and production designer. Explore exclusive artifacts curated by The Prince Estate and play music producer with the original sessions from one of Prince’s greatest hits in Studio A. This limited-time run is perfect for Prince fans and music lovers alike. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are on sale now.

Where: 540 N. Michigan Avenue (on the Mag Mile)

When: Opens June 9, 2022

Cost: General admission starts at $39.50 per person. Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.
Push Pin Travel Maps

See the Water Displays at Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago at night
Buckingham Fountain, a well known Chicago landmark in the center of Grant Park, is one of the largest fountains in the world. When the water is turned on, it produces a major water display for 20 minutes every hour with a center jet shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air. Beginning at dusk, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major water display.

Buckingham Fountain runs to 11:00 p.m. daily, typically from mid-May through mid-October, depending on weather.

Go Kayaking in the River

A fun and active way to explore the city is to go kayaking in the Chicago River. There are several companies that offer kayaking tours in Chicago including Urban Kayaks, Kayak Chicago and Wateriders. There are several tours to choose from including sunset tours, moonlight tours and fireworks tours.

Please note that you will get a little wet so bring a waterproof case for your phone and water-resistant or quick-drying clothing.

Relax on the Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk, a 1.25-mile long path along the south bank of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago from Lake Michigan to west of Franklin Street. It is one of the best spots in Chicago for boat and people watching. There are restaurants, bars, benches and steps to sit and relax. You can see a map of attractions on the Riverwalk here.

Open until 11 p.m. daily

Watch Digital Art at Art on theMart

Art on the Mart in the evening
Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. Free 30-minute program of projections are shown twice nightly. Spectators can watch the show from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. nightly 

Admire Chicago’s Skyline

Chicago has an amazing skyline and it is even more beautiful at night when it is all lit up. Here are the best places to visit in Chicago for skyline views.

See the Skyline from a Helicopter

If you are able to splurge one of the best ways to see the beautiful skyline is from a helicopter tour.

Have Dinner and Drinks on a Rooftop

Chicago has several rooftop bars and restaurants with amazing views of Chicago.  Here are some of the best rooftops in Chicago:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by LondonHouse Chicago (@lhchicago) on

LH ON 22 (85 East Wacker Drive) – Enjoy classic cocktails and small bites from the outdoor LH terrace of LondonHouse Chicago which offers great views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile.

Cindy’s (12 S Michigan Ave) – Restaurant and bar on the rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel located across Millennium Park which offers panoramic instagram worthy views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.

The J. Parker (1816 N Clark St) on the rooftop of the Hotel Lincoln with great views of Lincoln Park.

Kennedy Rooftop (1551 W North Ave) on top of the Hyatt Place Wicker Park, has amazing skyline views.

Listen to Free Music in the Park

You can listen to free concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park and other parks during the summer.

The annual Grant Park Music Festival is the only free outdoor classical-music concert series in the US. It features the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Chorus along with guest performers and conductors. Performances take place every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening from June 15 -August 20, 2022 many of them in the evening. You can see the full schedule here.

The Millennium Park Summer Music Series (6:30-9pm on Mondays and Thursdays from June 20–August 18, 2022) features a wide variety of music from established and emerging artists.

Watch Free Outdoor Movies

There are several places you can watch free outdoor movies in Chicago in the evening.

You can watch outdoor movies at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville on select Wednesdays from May to end of September. Seating on the grass is free but you can also purchase VIP seating. You can find the full schedule of movies at Gallagher Way here. Gates open at 6 p.m. and movies begin at 7:30 p.m.

This summer you can watch free movies on Tuesday evenings from July 12–August 30, 2022 at Millennium Park. Guests can sit at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or lounge on the Great Lawn as movies are presented on the state-of- the-art, 40-foot LED screen. You can find the full schedule for the Millennium Park Summer Film Series here.

You can also enjoy free movies at Navy Pier on Monday evenings (6:30PM – 9:00pm) from July 18-August 29, 2022. The popular outdoor film series Water Flicks returns with a focus on families and featured titles include My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Mi Familia, Rent, Are We there Yet, Minari and Encanto.

Watch Classic Movies on a Rooftop

Want to watch classic movies against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline? Rooftop Cinema Club is bringing its outdoor screening series to a rooftop in Fulton Market this summer starting May 26, 2022.

Rooftop Cinema Club will be located on the fifth floor terrace of The Emily Hotel (311 N Morgan St) and tickets will range from $20–$30. This will be a high end movie experience complete with tropical decor, lawn games, state-of-the-art LED screens, individual wireless headphones and a range of seating options including lounge chairs and loveseats. Guests can also order drinks and snacks.

Play Indoor Mini Golf

Big Mini Putt Club (1302 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622) is 9-hole indoor miniature golf course with a full bar serving craft cocktails, local draft beers, and other drinks in a fun, lively setting.

Open until 11:30pm Monday-Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday and 11pm on Sundays.

Take Photos at The Bean

If you have seen photos of Chicago on social media, chances are you have seen photos of Cloud Gate (also called The Bean), the famous mirrored sculpture in Millennium Park.

Although The Bean is very very touristy, don’t skip it. It is a great photo spot and a must on any Chicago bucket list.

Open daily to 9pm.

Listen to Live Jazz at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

Listen to live jazz music at a historical Chicago spot. The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is known for its live jazz and its connection to Chicago mob history. It was a prohibition era speakeasy and one of Al Capones favorite spots to hang out.

Listen to the Blues at Kingston Mines

Kingston Mines is the oldest blues bar in Chicago and has hosted blues legends like Magic Slim, Koko Taylor and Joanna Connor since opening in 1968.

WNDR After Dark

Visit the WNDR Museum, an immersive art and technology experience, for a special “WNDR After Dark” event where guests can enjoy music from DJ SKOLi as they walk through the museum during extended hours. All ages are welcome. Alcohol will be available for purchase for guests 21+. Tickets to WNDR Museum must be purchased in advance at https://www.wndrmuseum.com/chicago/events.

Runs one Friday a month. Next event is Friday, June 10 from 6:30 pm–10:00 pm

Take a Night Tour

If you are visiting Chicago for the first time, you can join a night tour to see a different side of the city. Exploring Chicago after dark is more pleasant when the weather is hot in the summer as you can avoid the heat and strong sun.

Check out this 1.5-Hour Open-Top Double-Decker Night Tour or this 2-Hour Chicago City Lights Evening Segway Tour.

As you can see there are many fun and unique things to do at night in Chicago.

Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.