Chicago Nightlife – A Guide for Newcomers

Chicago, Illinois – The Windy City. Home to 2.7 million people, beautiful architecture, and plenty of places for amazing Chicago nightlife. Chi-town is the perfect city for enjoying any type of night time fun from bar hopping, clubbing, relaxing at a lounge, etc. If you’re wondering “where can I go at night in Chicago?”, you’ll be happy to know you can find plenty of places all throughout the city. If you aren’t sure where to start, then here is a guide for the best places to enjoy nightlife in Chicago.

Chicago at Night

Does Chicago Have a Good Nightlife

The cost of living in Chicago can be quite a lot, and you’ll need to know how to get a job before you move to Chi-Town. But what you’re paying to live a comfortable life, Chi-town makes up for it with some of the most excellent spots to enjoy a fantastic evening in the town. You can always head over to Wrigleyville and visit the bars that seemingly go on for blocks. You might also be able to catch a late evening baseball game at the Wrigleyville stadium. Or if you’re feeling like enjoying some of the lesser-known spots, you can always go to Hyde Park and take a walk through the UIC’s beautiful campus in the evening. If it’s a party you’re looking for, you can always head to Lincoln Park, Fullerton, or River North for some of their amazingly fun nightclubs. Our point is, there are a plethora of things to do in Chicago at night.

Windy City Nightlife

Check out this awesome travel guide of the windy city. You get to know Chi-town in a whole new light and quickly fall in love with all there is to see and do.

Best Chicago Nightclubs, Bars, and Places to Lounge

Moving to a city alone can be lonesome and boring, especially in the Windy City. Once you get settled in you’ll be wondering “where’s the party in Chicago,” there are so many bars and clubs in Chicago to enjoy at night. You can experience the downtown scene, check out the clubs and lounges on Michigan avenue, or head to Logan Square for many indie bars and restaurants. There is no shortage of nighttime fun when you’re living in Chicago.

Reggies Chicago Music Joint – One of the Best Nightclubs in Chicago

Chi-Town is one of the greatest cities in the country to see live music and recommended by many who live there or have visited the place. It’s home to many musicians, and concerts are among the most entertaining things to do in the Chi. Reggies Music Joint is a pub and live music club located near the South Loop and a seriously fun nightclub near downtown Chicago. Many artists and musicians perform at Reggies, and there’s great pub food and plenty of beer and room to dance if you’re feeling the music. They update their schedule every week so you can stop by and enjoy a show. Truly a one of a kind place to catch some live music.

Headquarters Beer Cade

If you love old school arcade games and beer, you’ve found the right spot. Headquarters Beer Cade is a bar with a unique twist. You can sit and catch an NBA or NFL game while enjoying a nice glass of beer like normal, or you can enjoy all of the fun arcade games from the ’90s. If you’re still bummed about moving away from friends, Headquarters is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.  Did we mention it has two huge rooms filled with games? The fun never stops at Headquarters. The bar is located in the River North neighborhood and is a relatively safe area for nightlife. Be sure to check their website to see their hours during the week.

Southside Nightclubs in Chicago – The Promontory

Located in Hyde Park, one of the best Chicago neighborhoods for young professionals, the Promontory is a perfect blend of a bar, lounge, and upscale restaurant near the South Side. Though you have the option to eat there, it’s more often that people go for the beautiful atmosphere and the great alcohol selections that they have. It’s also an excellent spot for catching live jazz performances. If you’re looking for an elegant and fancy evening on the town, you can always go to the Promontory.

Where to Go Dancing in Chicago – Berlin Nightclub and Bar

If you’re wondering where to go dancing in Chicago, look no further than Berlin Nightclub in the Boystown neighborhood. A great place to lose yourself and go crazy on the dance floor. It welcomes a very diverse crowd and has music for all tastes. If you don’t feel like dancing, you can always go for a drink, or check out one of the many performances. That’s why Berlin is considered to be a fun nightclub.

People throwing confetti at a club
Enjoy Chi-Town's most excellent bars and clubs

Chicago’s Best Comedy Clubs

Comedy and the Chi go together like peanut butter and jelly. The comedy scene in the Chi is a serious one, and for anybody who loves comedy, whether it’s improv, sketch, or stand-up specials, Chi-Town is the place to be. Moving in the summer is a great time for comedy because there are a lot more acts during the warm weather months. There are many open-mic nights for novice performers or if you just want to catch a show. There are plenty of dates to go to an improv show or a full stand up at some of the many comedy spots throughout Chi-Town.

Zanies Comedy Night Club

Zanies has been a Chi-Town comedy staple since 1978 and have been the stage of many famous comedians throughout the years. It has excellent service, good grub, good drinks, and of course, some of Chi-Town’s finest comedians each evening. If you’re looking to get a good laugh, Zanies is among the better bars and clubs in Chicago.

The Second City

The Second City is a comedy improv troupe and is one of the oldest places to go for some good old fashioned Chi-Town comedy. They have all kinds of shows, from stand-up to sketch comedy, and it’s well known for having hilarious improv shows year-round. From its humble beginnings in 1959, the Second City became extremely popular and expanded to other cities. But, everyone comes to Chi-Town for the most enjoyable improv comedy in the country.

The Comedy Club House

The Comedy Club House is a unique and popular comedy club when you want to step outside of the best suburbs of Chicago and enjoy the downtown comedy scene. They have hilarious stand-up and improv group performances, but they also offer improv training courses and comedy workshops for those looking to get into the comedy world. There’s also the Kids Comedy Company, where children from five up to eleven can have fun and learn some life long creative skills – this being one of many things to do in Chicago with kids.

Gallery Cabaret

If you’re looking for fresh comedy or considering doing a 5-minute set yourself, the Gallery Cabaret is perfect for you. Located in Bucktown, just north of downtown, the Gallery Cabaret is a fun dive bar with comedy open-mic nights. They offer decent food, great cocktails, beer, and everything you need for making the nightlife in Chicago fun for you and your friends.

A lone microphone on stage at a comedy club
There's no better place to get a good laugh than Chi-Town

Restaurants to Go to at Night

Before you decide where to go for your evening in Chi-Town, you’re probably wondering, “where can I get something to eat?” Trust us, we know exactly what you mean. One of the biggest perks of moving to Chicago is the great food. Chi-Town is extraordinarily diverse and multicultural, so you’re bound to find food from around the globe, but with a little Chi-Town twist. If you’re in the mood for Italian, you can find many pizzerias and pasta places in Little Italy. Chinatown is packed full of different street food vendors and restaurants to choose from. If you’re in the mood for some Mexican cuisine you can always go to Little Village in South Lawndale or Humboldt Park for some Puerto Rican cuisine. You can also get a hot-dog from Jacky’s Hot-Dogs for a late evening snack.  Whatever it is you’re in the mood for, you can easily find it, and the best restaurants in Chicago are usually always open late so you can dig in on your evening out.

Giordano’s Pizza Restaurant

Whenever you mention deep-dish and pizza in the same sentence, Giordano’s should be included. This restaurant and pizzeria has been around since 1974 and is one of the best pizzerias in the Chi. Giordano’s can be found in several locations throughout the best neighborhoods in Chicago. They have delicious pasta and other Italian dishes aside from the fantastic pizza as well. You can even have them deliver right to your address in case you feel like dining before heading out.

The New Tacos Tequilas

Tacos Tequilas is a new spot to enjoy some excellent tacos and other Mexican dishes. It was created by two long time residents, Jorge Manzano and Jorge Pizana. Located in the northeastern neighborhood of Avondale, this is a good place to stop and get some late-evening grub.

Chinatown’s Joy Yee

In the heart of Chinatown, Joy Yee is one of the very tastiest restaurants to get all kinds of Chinese cuisine. Located in the Chi’s South Loop district, this place is very popular. Before you hit the bars, you can pre-game and start with some of their shrimp tempura or any of their popular bubble teas, jelly drinks, and freezes.

Bub City: Texas and Chi-Town Fusion

When we said Chi-Town has every type of food you can think of, we meant it. Bub City is highly unique, with its Texas influenced cuisine. They have everything that you can expect, from excellent traditional cooking to more experimental dishes. It’s an interesting blend of the two styles of cuisine and plenty of beer. They also have themed nights and games to entertain their guests like Texas trivia and doing a line-dance. So you can add this to your list of things to do in the evening.

A pepperoni pizza pie
There's no food like Chi-town food

What is There to do in Chicago at Night

Maybe you aren’t looking just to go to bars, clubs, and restaurants, or maybe you just forgot how to pack wine bottles for moving, so late night drinking isn’t an option. We suppose you also want to go and explore the more active side of Chi-Town. There are plenty of places you can go to and have a blast to spice your nightlife, whether it’s bowling, axe throwing, whirly ball, arcades –  you name it, Chi-Town’s got it.

Waveland Bowl

No matter where you relocate to, bowling is always a fun activity. Waveland Bowl is a fun place to bring out your old ball and hit a few pins. Located right smack in the center of the North Center neighborhood, you can enjoy the alley, play some pool and have a drink – it’s good for late-evening fun in the Chi.

Escapade Games – Escape Room

Everyone loves a good escape room, and Chi-Town is one of the very best places to enjoy a plethora of them. One noteworthy spot is a must for enjoying the nightlife; Escapade Games has quickly become a popular outing for many people. Not only do they have the traditional escape games like Chi-Gate, but they also have the “Rage Room.” It’s a room explicitly set up for you to grab a crowbar, or wrench and break stuff – not a wrong way to ‘go-to-town’ in the Chi.

Get Social at the Killerspin House

To truly enjoy Chicago nightlife downtown, nothing on Earth says “fun” like a good game of table tennis. It’s fun to play with your friends before a good night of bar hopping and show them who the ping pong king is. The joint is located right in the heart of downtown. The most significant appeal of the Killerspin House is that you can book a private party for you and a small group of your buddies or a bunch of them and make it an event. They’ll even go as far as to set up a tournament – did we mention they give prizes?

Rink Fitness Factory

You cannot say that you’ve experienced everything Chi-Town has to offer until you’ve been to a roller-rink – plain and simple. Roller skating has been a Chi-Town staple for decades. You can bring the kids for birthday parties, or bring your sweetheart for a share of romantic things to do in Chicago. The roller-rink in the evening is truly where the magic happens, and the Rink Fitness Factory is the very place to do it. Located in the South Side, this is an excellent spot for evening fun, and if you’re nervous about skating don’t worry, it’s always an easy pace, good for a beginner or an expert.

A roller skating rink
Fun, games, drinks; what's not to enjoy?

Come and Enjoy Chicago Nightlife

If you’re considering moving to one of the many excellent neighborhoods, you can contact a reputable moving company that knows the metropolitan area well. You can opt for offers like moving services where your entire house will be packed up and moved to your new address. You can also choose the really convenient packing services offered to help you get all of your belongings appropriately packed. If you need to know how to transport a car while in the Windy City you can have your vehicle shipped to you with auto transport services. There are also great storage services available in case to need to store your extra belongings somewhere safe.

Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with the nightlife, you know that living in the Chi, the fun never ends. But if you’re looking for more of a quiet evening, you can always drive along Lake Shore Drive up to Navy Pier and look at the beautiful skyline near the river. Or take a walk in the lovely neighborhood of Fullerton and see all of the light decorations. Chicago truly is a wonderful place to spend your time.

Written By: Jessica Hill