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Chicago Theater District

Published on: Mar 22, 2023
By: Kathryn Willingham
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The Loop is located in the heart of downtown Chicago, bordered by the Chicago River, Harrison Street, and Lake Michigan. It includes Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, and the Chicago theatre district, where you can see theatrical world premieres, world-famous comedy, and pre-Broadway runs of shows headed to New York. Packed full of great hotels, restaurants, and iconic theaters, this area is a must-see for locals and tourists alike. Below we’ll tell you what theaters are located in – and just beyond – the theater district as well as popular hotels and other attractions in the area like Millennium Park and The Art Institute of Chicago.



Auditorium Theatre

Auditorium Theatre at 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive opened in 1889. Architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler designed the building – and a young Frank Lloyd Wright worked on it as a draftsman. This venue hosts dance, music, and theatrical events including runs of the musicals Sister Act, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Annie, and Grease


Broadway Playhouse

Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, originally home to the Drury Lane Theatre, is located at 175 E. Chestnut Street just off The Magnificent Mile. With 550 seats, this theater has an intimate feel and has hosted tours of shows like Traces, Colin Quinn: Long Story Short, Rock of Ages, and Love, Loss, and What I Wore.  


Cadillac Palace Theatre

Cadillac Palace Theatre at 151 W. Randolph Street opened in 1926 and has 2,500 seats. It has hosted pre-Broadway runs of shows like The Producers and Mamma Mia! as well as tours of Shrek the Musical, The Color Purple, Mary Poppins, Wicked, and Aladdin


Chicago Theatre

Chicago Theatre, originally the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre, is located at 175 North State Street and opened in 1921 as a movie theater. Now owned by Madison Square Garden, it holds 3,600 seats and is a popular venue for plays, comedians, musicians, concerts, and more. 


CIBC Theatre

CIBC Theatre at 18 W. Monroe Street opened in 1906 and was originally called the Majestic Theatre. It has 1,800 seats and popular productions include pre-Broadway productions of High School Musical, Kinky Boots and Spamalot, as well as long runs of shows like Hamilton and The Book of Mormon. The pre-Broadway run of Boop! The Betty Boop Musical begins in November 2023. 


Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre at 170 N. Dearborn Street is Chicago’s oldest active nonprofit theater. Its Albert Ivar Theatre, the main stage, has 156 seats and its many live performance productions have included the world premieres of War Paint, The Visit, Marvin’s Room, and Ruined.


Harris Theater

Harris Theater is located at the northernmost part of Millennium Park at 205 E. Randolph Street. This indoor theater seats 1,499 and hosts many music and dance performances including the New York City Ballet, Chicago Opera Theater, San Francisco Ballet, and many classical and jazz performances. The nearby Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts outdoor performances in the park. 


James M. Nederlander Theatre

James M. Nederlander Theatre at 24 W. Randolph Street opened in 1926 and was originally called the Oriental Theatre. This theater holds 2,253 seats and has hosted many pre-Broadway runs of shows like The Addams Family, The SpongeBob Musical, Escape to Margaritaville, Pretty Woman: the Musical, On Your Feet!, and The Cher Show


Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago at 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive was founded in 1954 and its home at the Civic Opera Building is the second largest opera auditorium in North America, the first being New York’s Metropolitan Opera. It holds 3,563 seats.


Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre Company at 1650 N. Halsted Street opened in 1974 and is one of the best-known regional theaters in the US. Its ensemble includes John Malkovich, Tracy Letts, Martha Plimpton, Ian Barford, Austin Pendleton, K. Todd Freeman, and many more, and it is home to numerous world premieres. Recent productions have included August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, Detroit by Lisa D’Amour, Head of Passes by Tarell Alvin McCraney, The Wheel by Zinnie Harris, and Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu. 

The Second City Chicago

The Second City

The Second City is located at 230 W. North Avenue in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, reachable on the CTA Brown Line Sedgwick stop. This famous improv comedy venue has daily shows and is known for its famous alumni, including Tina Fey, Chris Farley, Bill Murray, and Keegan-Michael Kay. 

Belmont Theater District

Belmont Theater District

Belmont Theater District is located in Lakeview and Lakeview East, accessible on the Red, Brown, and Purple train lines. This district includes over 20 theaters that produce everything from world premieres of new plays to world-famous improv comedy. 

Popular Hotels


Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop

Address: 32 W. Randolph Street

Contact: 872-710-9539

Amenities: Fitness center, business center, meeting rooms, free wifi, free breakfast

Allows Pets: This location does not allow pets. 

How’s the on-site restaurant? Intermission Bar and Kitchen is an American restaurant open Monday to Sunday from 3pm to 10pm at night. Think flatbreads, sliders, wings, burgers, and steak. 

“Location! The Cambria is surrounded by Theaters and is just a few easily-walkable blocks from Millennium Park and the Art Institute…The hotel is modern and well maintained. The staff was friendly and helpful. The rooms are well appointed and clean. I'll definitely stay here again.” – Paul Dearing


Hyatt Place Chicago Downtown

Address: 28 N. Franklin Street

Contact: 312-955-0950

Amenities: Fitness center, indoor pool, business center, free wifi, kitchen, free breakfast

Allows Pets: Yes, for an extra charge. 

How’s the on-site restaurant? The Placery is open daily from 5pm – 11pm and serves drinks, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. 

Easy Check in. Smiles on all staff. Lounge was vibing. Rooms comfy. Breakfast hit the spot. Couldn't have asked for anything better.” - Zee


Hilton Chicago

Address: 720 S. Michigan Avenue

Contact: 312-922-4400

Amenities: Fitness center, indoor pool, business center, meeting rooms, free wifi

Allows Pets: Yes, for an extra charge. 

How’s the on-site restaurant? Kitty O’Sheas is an Irish pub open from 4pm – 12am Monday to Friday, 7am – 1am on Saturday, and 7am – 12am on Sunday. Think wings, sandwiches, salads, fish & chips, and a large whiskey menu. 

“Best hotel I have stayed at in a while! Beautiful clean rooms and wonderful amenities! The pool and gym are amazing! 2 hot tubs y'all!” – Brandi Goss


Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown

Address: 68 E. Wacker Place

Contact: 312-419-9014

Amenities: Fitness center, business center, meeting rooms, free wifi

Allows Pets: Yes, for an extra fee. 

“Perfect location, close to the sites, shopping, theaters and restaurants. The building is beautiful, with an art deco lobby and clean, comfortable rooms. The staff is welcoming and professional. The complimentary breakfast was good and a nice way to start our day. Would definitely stay here again.” - Cait


Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

Address: 221 N. Columbus Drive

Contact: 312-638-6686

Amenities: Fitness center, indoor pool, outdoor pool, business center, meeting rooms, free wifi

Allows Pets: Yes, for an extra charge. 

How’s the on-site restaurant? The FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar is open from 1am – 8pm Sundays and Mondays and from 8pm – 11pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Food includes flatbreads, burgers, salads, steak, duck, and fish. 

“I love how the pool is open late and the gym, also very clean and elegant everywhere. I love the lobby next to the restaurant, which has amazing food. Wonderful staff who go out of their way for your needs! The outdoor pool and lounge are great for relaxing next to a bonfire and is very romantic as well.” – Lillian Abdelhadi

Other Attractions

Millennium Park is home to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Crown Fountain, and Cloud Gate, also known as “The Bean.”

The Art Institute of Chicago at 111 S. Michigan Avenue is a world-famous art museum home to works from Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper, Vincent van Gogh, Diego Rivera, Georgia O’Keefe, Claude Monet and more. 

The American Writers Museum at 180 N. Michigan Avenue celebrates American writers of all genres. Exhibits educate audiences about past and present writers and encourage a love of reading and writing.  

Skydeck Chicago is located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower at 233 S. Wacker Drive. Enjoy panoramic views of the entire city at this observation deck. 

Shedd Aquarium at 1200 S. Dusable Lake Shore Drive holds 32,000 animals. Guests can see Beluga whales, otters, sharks, turtles, and of course, fish!

Chicago Plays and Musicals

Looking to see a show in Chicago? Check out our articles on Chicago Plays and Chicago Musicals to see what's running right now!

Kathryn Willingham

Head of Creative Development at Jean Doumanian Productions

Kathryn Willingham has worked in entertainment for over ten years, and recent credits include: Co-producer of SHRINK currently streaming on Peacock, Associate Producer of the independent film UNA, and Creative Executive on multiple theatrical productions including HANGMEN by Martin McDonagh on Broadway, NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour Off-broadway and Associate on productions EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe and THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble. She was Producer of Todd Almond’s musical travelogue “Wyoming and Parts of Kansas” and Production Coordinator for Karen O and KK Barrett's “Stop the Virgens.”


Education: B.A. in English, Literature & Creative Writing from Rhodes College
Knowledge: Theaterical Production


Mar 22, 2023

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