Travel Tips for DJs Visiting Chicago

RTST performs at Green Music Fest in Chicago on June 11, 2017. (Credit: Christine Ciszczon)

DJs may not know where to eat, stay, and play when they get booked in cities they’ve never been to before. To help them get the most out of their visit, DJcity has launched a monthly series called DJ Travel Tips. The series highlights some of the best things to do in some of the most popular destinations around the world.

Where to Stay

DJ Trew:

“If I’m taking a staycation, it’s usually at the Blackstone Hotel located on Michigan Avenue, right along the lakefront. During the building boom that followed the Great Chicago Fire, this hotel was built as part of the Blackstone theater complex. I moved to Chicago in part for its architectural history, so staying here is more appealing personally than to be at an upscale boutique. The best way to experience Chicago history is to sleep in it! Get a lake view room and then venture out to Grant Park for some daytime exploring. Then hit the theater district at night for plays, dance performances, or live concerts.”

Where to Eat

Big Once:

“As a life-long resident of ‘America’s Fattest City’ contender, I could go on for days about the unhealthy food options in Chicago. If you’re into Italian beef, burgers, and hot dogs, hit Portillo‘s downtown on Ontario Street. For the best Mexican food in the city, hit L’Patron or El Cid, both in Logan Square. For breakfast, go to Cozy Corner, also located in Logan Square. There are a ton of good BBQ places too, my favorite being Fat Willy‘s on Schubert Avenue. For Chinese, pretty much anywhere in Chinatown will set you straight, but I’m partial to Three Happiness on Cermak. Last but not least, we arrive at deep-dish pizza. This debate can quickly lead to throwing hands among Chicago natives, but the only correct answer is Pizzeria Uno on Ohio Street.”

What to Do


“One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is going to art galleries and museums. My personal favorite museum is the Museum of Contemporary Art. They curate really good exhibits within a variety of mediums. They’ve previously displayed work from Murakami, David Bowie, and Alexander Calder. You also can’t go wrong visiting the Art Institute. They have a huge collection of art spanning different centuries as well as a great modern wing. If art history is not your thing, you can always get your ‘Ferris Bueller’ on and stare at La Grande Jatte. Pilsen is a great neighborhood to visit not just for its culture, but it’s also home to the Chicago Arts District. If you happen to be there on a second Friday, they open up the galleries for the public to view the works they’re curating.”

Where to Party

Big Once:

“For the downtown club experience, your best option is Underground. It’s a legendary Chicago club that has some of the best guest DJs from all over the world. Plus, they just got a major upgrade when they hired a new Saturday resident last month. If you aren’t into bottles and sparklers, there are literally thousands of bars, live venues, themed spots, and dives all over the city. Because Chicago is so massive, a lot of people stick to going out in their neighborhoods or surrounding areas. If you’re up for exploring, check out Logan Square, Hyde Park, Pilsen, Little Village, or the West Loop. Each neighborhood has its own unique culture and flavor that carries over into the nightlife scenes. Chicago has a lot of great DJs of every genre, so there are always multiple options for whatever you’re into.”

Related: Travel Tips for DJs Visiting Berlin