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

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? There 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)

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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.

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 75-minute Night Bus Tour or this City Lights Evening Segway Tour.

Listen to Music at an Intimate Candlelight Concert

If you prefer indoor concerts, Chicago’s Candlelight Concerts is a series of special classical music concerts that take place in beautiful venues bathed in candlelight. Upcoming candlelight concerts include:

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele
Candlelight: Favorite Anime Themes
Candlelight: A Tribute to ABBA at Stan Mansion

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.

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

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 restaurants, bars, rides and games and a large Ferris wheel (click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line).

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

Prince: The Immersive Experience

Celebrating the Artist known as Prince, by visiting Prince: The Immersive Experience (540 N. Michigan Avenue), 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.

Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.

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Spray Paint ‘n’ Sip Urban Art Workshop

Grab some spray paint and unleash your inner street artist at a Spray Paint ‘n’ Sip Urban Art Workshop. This interactive spray paint workshop will teach you the ins and outs of working with spray paint and other elements of graffiti and street Art as you create your own painted mural. Click here to purchase tickets.

6 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays – Sundays

See Famous Works of Art at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago (111 S Michigan Ave) is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States and is frequently found on lists of the top museums in the world. In addition to its large permanent collection of art from around the world, you can see rotating exhibitions.

Click here to buy a skip the line ticket if you want to avoid long lines.

The museum is open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

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.

8:30 and 9:00 p.m. nightly

Experience Immersive Monet & The Impressionists

Immersive Monet & The Impressionists is the latest blockbuster immersive art experience by Massimiliano Siccardi, whose Immersive Van Gogh exhibit sold over 4.5 million tickets in North America. From Monet’s celebrated water lilies to Degas’s graceful dancers and more, step inside living paintings at Immersive Monet & The Impressionists.

Where: Lighthouse ArtSpace at Germania Place, 108 W. Germania Pl, Chicago

Cost:  You can see full prices and purchase tickets in advance here.

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

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:

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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.

Watch Free Outdoor Movies

Watch outdoor movies at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville on select Wednesdays. 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.

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. 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.

Listen to Live Jazz Music

Listen to live jazz music at a historical Chicago spot. The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (4802 N Broadway) 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.

Le Piano (6970 N Glenwood Ave), an elegant jazz bar inspired by the Latin Quarter of Paris, is perfect for a date night in Chicago.

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.

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.

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.

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: