Late-night celebrations aren’t just for New Year’s Eve. Instead of settling in for an extended winter’s nap until spring — which, to be fair, we wouldn’t judge you for — take advantage of the long nights. These Chicago spots that stay open late will remind you of the city’s 24/7 appeal.
Chicago’s comedians put on the real show after dark. Both the iO Theater (1501 N. Kingsbury) and Second City, (1616 N. Wells, above) offer late-night improv experiences, at midnight and 11 p.m., respectively. Keep your eye out for surprise celebrity sightings at Second City. They’ve had Paul Simon and Chris Rock show up in years past.
BYOB to Playground Theater (3209 N. Halsted), which stages a Deux A Trois show described as a “late night of comedy, music and some awkward sexual ambiance.” It happens the third Saturday of the month, starting at 10:30 p.m.
Throw darts at River North’s Point & Feather (113 W. Hubbard), bowl at the Diversey River Bowl (2211 W. Diversey), or enjoy over 50 arcade, video, table, and pinball games at Emporium, which has locations in Fulton Market, Logan Square, and River North. All are open until at least 2 a.m.
This winter, try staying overnight at one of Chicago’s iconic museums. There’s Dozin’ With the Dinos at the Field Museum (select weekends in 2020, from $68), Asleep With the Fishes at the Shedd Aquarium (Fridays through May, from $85), and Science Snoozeum at the Museum of Science & Industry (select Fridays and Saturdays, from $65).
Fitness Formula Clubs in East Lakeview, the West Loop, and Old Town are open 24 hours on Monday through Friday. Classes include candlelight yoga, typically at 8 p.m., and guests get two hours of free parking.
Mode Body Boutique (1301 W. Madison) is also open 24/7, offering group classes, cryotherapy, and personal training, which you can schedule as late as your trainer dares.
Not ready to commit to a membership? Both gyms offer free one-day passes.
Whether it’s late night or early morning, Chicago’s taco scene satisfies. The Gold Coast’s Velvet Taco (1110 N. State) stays open as late as 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Try their Korean pork with angry crema, kimchi slaw, pickled Fresnos, and cilantro on a corn tortilla.
Zombie Taco (530 N. LaSalle) in River North has its own all-night taco window where fans flock for the spicy quinoa and cauliflower taco with kale-and-apple slaw, charred corn, lime crema, and Cotija cheese.
Big Star’s Wicker Park location (1531 N. Damen) is open until 2 a.m. nightly where you can snag their walking taco with corn chips, spicy pinto bean dip, Cholula, crema, queso Chihuahua, onion, and cilantro for the journey home … or out.
Also calling your name: fan-favorite neighborhood institutions Lazo’s Tacos (2009 N. Western), open 24 hours, and Tacqueria Huentitan (4019 W. North), open until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
If you find your stomach growling in the wee hours of the morning, head to Bar Siena (832 W. Randolph) in the West Loop, which is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and until 2 a.m. on other evenings, where the late-night menu features a delectable meatball and mozzarella calzone for $17.
On Saturdays, Quartino (626 N. State) slices pizza until 2 a.m. and at Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie), executive chef Maxwell Robins cooks up their Wild Boar Sloppy Joe until the same time. Just in case you need a nap afterward, Longman & Eagle also has six hotel rooms.
While most Chicago bars have to close two hours after the clock strikes midnight, a lucky few have earned the right to stay open even later. At the famed Green Mill (4802 N. Broadway), you can soak up the speakeasy vibe at live jazz shows until 5 a.m. on select nights.
Dive dance club The Hangge-Uppe (14 W. Elm) — which, let’s be honest, is really meant for late nights — stays open until 5 a.m. on Saturdays and until 4 a.m. most other nights. The same goes for famed live blues music club Kingston Mines (2548 N. Halsted), located in Chicago’s “Blues Alley,” and River North cocktail bar Celeste (111 W. Hubbard), where they’re slinging a much-needed Fantástico cocktail with gin, passionfruit, aperol, and cava.
There’s even a dedicated Moscow mule menu at Timothy O’Toole’s (622 N. Fairbanks) in Streeterville, open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until 3 a.m. otherwise.
Lakeview’s Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport) plays a selection of movies at midnight throughout the month, including classics like “The Room” and the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Snag tickets early (they tend to sell out) for the Logan Theatre’s (2646 N. Milwaukee) Late Night at the Logan series with 11 p.m. movie screenings.
And after the party, there’s the after-party. Nothing says “the night is still young” like ending your night with breakfast. We’ve got you covered with these.
334 W. Chicago
With everything from pancakes to breakfast cocktails, this River North diner even has an aptly named Night Owl spiked shake with Godiva dark chocolate liqueur, Myers’s rum, chocolate sauce, and vanilla ice cream.
4126-30 W. Montrose
Featuring two drive-through windows, this Mayfair institution cooks up everything from chili dogs and Italian sausage to grilled cheese and garlic bread for all of your fourth meal needs.
1159 S. Canal
Since 1993, the White Palace Grill has fed hungry night owls with an extensive menu that includes eight unique variations on the brunch staple, chicken and waffles.
6 E. Chestnut
Open in 1983, this family-run Gold Coast institution whips up everything from Mediterranean skirt steak to five-egg omelets.