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Best Of Chicago

Best Outdoor Venues In Chicago

September 27, 2010 2:57 PM

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credit:  www.ravinia.org
Even though summer is over and the outdoor concerts have dwindled, let’s relive the experiences with five of Chicago’s great outdoor spots to get your music fix. In no particular order:


Ravinia

200-231 Ravinia Park Road,
Highland Park, IL
www.ravinia.org

Ravinia Park in the north suburb of Highland Park originally opened in 1904 as a theme park but soon became the place to go for CSO concerts, opera, and modern artists. There is plenty of seating in the Pavilion with a clear view of the stage, but more casual concert-goers will enjoy the open lawn seating where they can stretch out on a blanket with a picnic, rent a lawn chair, and enjoy music under the summer skies.

Who you might see there: BoDeans, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Cheap Trick, Crosby Stills & Nash

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credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images


Pritzker Pavilion

201 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
www.millenniumpark.org

Frank Gehry wanted to create an outdoor pavilion that would make everyone—from the fixed seats to the rolling lawn—feel included in the experience of a concert. He did just that when designing the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, with the huge billows of brushed steel surrounding the amphitheater and the connecting trellis of pipes overhead that hold the sound systems that mimics the acoustics of an indoor concert hall. Since completion, it has been the home of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Music Festival. There are 4,000 fixed seats and the lawn can seat an additional 7,000.

Who you might see there: The Decemberists, She & Him, Andrew Bird, Wilco, Tori Amos

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Charter One Pavillion

Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island

1300 S Lynn White Dr
Chicago, IL 6060
www.livenation.com

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firstmidwest.com/FMBA

First Midwest Bank Amphitheater

Tinley Park, IL
www.firstmidwest.com/FMBA

First opened in 1990 and having been through several name changes—some may know it as the Tweeter Center, others as World Music Theater and still others as New World Music Theater—FMBA has seen many big names come across its stage. It is located in the southwest ‘burb of Tinley Park and can hold up to 28,000 people making it one of the largest venues in the Chicago area. In 1997, ’98, and 2005, FMBA hosted Farm Aid and the very first Lollapalooza was held here in 1991.

Who you might see here: Rush, Weezer, AC/DC, The Smashing Pumpkins, Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds

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credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wrigley Field

1060 W Addison St,
Chicago, IL 60613
chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/ballpark

Let’s face it: seeing a concert played at the historic Wrigley Field is pretty awesome. You don’t need to be a Cubs fan (or a baseball fan at all, for that matter) to go and have a good time at a Wrigley Concert. You can either get a seat on the field right in front of the stage (which faces home plate and is backed by that famous ivy) or up in the stands for a less-intense but not watered-down concert experience. These concerts come only a couple times a year and tickets tend to sell out fast.

Who you might see there: Rascall Flatts, Dave Matthews Band, Elton John, Billy Joel, The Police

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Alpine Valley Music Theatre

Alpine Valley Music Theatre

W2699 County Road D
Elkhorn, WI 53121
www.livenation.com

Built in 1977 and located north of Chicago, this seasonal venue is a 50,000 capacity amphitheater that includes a large lawn and 9,500-seat pavilion covered by a wooden roof. Located in East Troy, Wis., the theater is approximately equidistant from Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee, allowing it to draw audiences from all three cities. During its season, which extends from June through early fall, the theater draws bigger-name bands and performers. Alpine Valley was the largest amphitheater in America until 1993 when a larger venue was erected in California.

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