What are the BEST Magic Shows (in Chicago) for 2023?
Chicago may be known as the windy city (for its air-driven politicians) but it also has a long history as a Magic City, with great acts that include Teatro Zinzanni, Magic Penthouse, The Magic Parlour, and The Chicago Magic Lounge to name a few.
You've come to the right place for the list of the Best Magic Shows Chicago has to offer, from the up-close and intimate parlour shows, to the large scale touring theatre productions from Broadway and beyond. Forget the Blues and catch some fun, windy-city Magic in Chicago.
ALL Chicago Magic Shows TODAY
Penn and Teller
The Chicago Theatre
175 N State St
Chicago, IL 60601
The "bad boys of magic" have been wowing audiences in Las Vegas for over 20 years. Why bad boys you say? Well, they have the bad habit of revealing how it's done! But it never seems to take away from the amazing wow factor of what they do! Their act is surprising, clownish, and well... unconventional. They have been making headlines for years with their many TV shows, Broadway performances, and sold out runs. The chemistry between this duo is magical and P&T tricks are some of the best in the business.
Kimpton Hotel Palomar
505 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
This is not your typical sit-down magic show. The idea is to experience a full evening of entertainment: food, cocktails, music, mingling, and of course... magic. Each event will feature four top Chicago magicians doing up-close magic right in front of you. There's also live music, appetizers and an open bar. Open bar means guests must be 21 and over, and elegant cocktail attire is required. This special evening will be one you won't soon forget.
Food and Drink: The evening includes light appetizers and an open bar.
Age Restriction: Ages 21 and older.
Parking: Parking can be found at several paid parking garages nearby.
3453 N Halsted Street
3453 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
This show is an affordable treat, and a quick something to do after dinner. The show itself is a short one-hour long, but tickets prices won't break the bank. The venue is intimate at just 30 seats and everything happens just a few feet away. The decor is sumptuous and old-world. The age limit recommended is 12 and this is a BYOB venue, so if you are over 21, you can bring in your own beer, wine or liquor. But what about the magician you ask? Aaron and his trusty side-kick, Hoppy the amazing psychic wonder bunny, put on a very entertaining show, and it is obvious that Aaron loves what he does.
Show Duration: The show is 60 minutes long.
Food and Drink: This is a BYOB venue for persons who are 21+.
Age Restriction: Ages 12 and older.
The Chicago Magic Lounge
5050 N. Clark Street
5050 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640
Behind an unassuming entrance that leads into a laundromat, is the secret door to the 7,200 square-foot Deco-styled Chicago Magic Lounge. Once you've solved the mystery of how to get in, you hope ordering yourself a cocktail at one of two bars won't be anywhere nearly as difficult. Then enjoy the Chicago magic in the bar with no ticket required. Or come to see the show which begins with an hour of up-close magic followed by a cabaret show. There are both in-house magicians and special guests, so there is always someone new to see at the Chicago Magic Lounge. You can also order fun "small plates" from their full kitchen for a snack during the show.
Show Duration: The running time varies. Monday to Wednesday nights shows run approximately an 100-minutes. Thursday to Sunday evening shows run from two hours for main floor ticket holders to two-and-a-half hours for premium ticket holders (includes 654 Club performance). Sunday matinees run 45-minutes.
Food and Drink: Food is available in the Performance Bar beginning at 6 pm and in the cabaret as soon as guests are seated. Food and beverage table service is available throughout the show.
Age Restriction: This is a 21+ venue after 5:30 pm. They allow persons aged 16+ into the Harry Blackstone Cabaret with a parent or guardian. Patrons of the Performance Bar MUST be 21. The Family Show on Sunday afternoons is suitable for ages 5+.
Parking: There is no parking lot or valet parking. Street parking may be available.
The Magic Parlour
Palmer House Hilton Hotel
17 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
Enjoy an elegant and classic evening of magic and mind-reading with magician Dennis Watkins. The Magic Parlour is for small intimate audiences of under 50 guests, cocktail attire suggested. The price of your ticket includes a selection of wine, beer, and soft drinks. Dennis is a 3rd generation magician who learned many of his classic tricks from his grandfather. He is also known for originating the role of Houdini in the production of Death and Harry Houdini, where he played for seven sold-out runs of pure Chicago Magic.
Show Duration: The show is 90 minutes long.
Food and Drink: Beer, wine and soft drink selections are included with your admission. Food is not permitted in the show room. There is a special Magic Menu offered through Lockwood Restaurant inside of the Palmer House for guests who wish to dine before or after the performance.
Age Restriction: The Magic Parlour is a grown-up night out. There is nothing unsuitable for children in the show. However, it is designed for an adult audience. The show is open to guests age 12 and up. Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by adults and will be seated with their chaperones.
Tristan Crist Magic Theatre
The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre
100 N. Edwards Blvd
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Located in Lake Geneva WI, the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is an intimate theatre experience with a large Vegas show feel. Tristan's show is for all ages and is 90 minutes of magic, comedy and illusions. His show is always evolving with something new every year. Perhaps its a motorcycle appearing out of thin air in a matter of seconds. Or maybe you'll be asked on stage to help Tristan with the performance. Rated Lake Geneva's #1 attraction on Trip Advisor.
Show Duration: The show is approximately 90-minutes
Food and Drink: Concessions and drinks are available in the lobby.
Age Restriction: All ages. Children under 4 can enter free if seated on parent's lap.
Parking: There is parking onsite.
Rhapsody Theatre Chicago
1328 W. Morse Avenue
This circa 1912 theater has had a facelift, and now has an exciting new purpose. It is the home of Rhapsody Theater, a space dedicated to bringing the best in magic and entertainment to Chicago and the Rogers Park neighborhood. The new venture comes from Dr. Ricardo T. Rosenkranz who is also a highly regarded illusionist who is well-known for producing "The Rosenkranz Mysteries". The 200 seat theatre has a bar where you can get a drink to take into the show, and also purchase light fare if you are a tad bit hungry. Check out the exciting line-up of performers gracing the stage at Rhapsody Theater.
Food and Drink: A restaurant and several bars are on the premises.
Parking: Valet parking available.
The Chicago Illinois Magic History
Even from the earliest days of Chicago, magic was present in a different form. Now one of the largest metropolitan cities in the Midwest, Chicago started out as little more than extensive Native American settlements of the Algonquin and Miami Confederacy of tribes. Before the first Western settlers came in to settle the area, Native American tribes practiced their own rituals and religious experimentation that looked akin to a type of mysticism to early settlers.
Early settlers gave way to bigger and more organized parties of Western inhabitants. Chicago grew, thrusting out the native population in favor of ever-expanding newcomers and their technology. Soon, Chicago became a major transportation hub for the great lakes along with the local rivers. With the rise of industry and commerce, Chicago became a thriving metropolis. As the city grew, so did the number of visitors making Chicago the perfect location for notable people to meet.
While Harry Houdini was a resident of New York, his magic show took him all over the United States and even the world. However, his early days, when he was a struggling magician, found him at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair Tunisian Village exhibit. Performing tricks for small change among wandering patrons, Houdini met Howard Thurston, also a struggling performer at the time. The two fledgling magicians would later become fabulously famous, known for their flair for the dramatic. And it all started in Chicago.
Fellow illusionist and Chicago native, Harry Blackstone Sr. became the king of the Vaudeville magic show. He introduced illusions like levitation, perceived impalement and sawing a woman in half. Paired with a lovely female assistant with a hardy scream, Harry amazed people, making them believe that he could magically re-attach what he seemingly cut in half.
While the golden age of magic seemed to make Chicago come alive with tricks and illusions, the Great Depression quickly dried up the gold. It wasn't until post World War II when the economy was booming that disposable income left many in Chicago seeking entertainment. The second wave of magic shows was born.
This newer form of magic did away with large props that sought the wow factor and focused on close-up magic, pioneered in the Chicago magic clubs. This style of illusions was less about over the top performances and more about skill. Smaller, more impressive tricks were shown closer to the audience, drawing them in and leaving them wondering how it was all done. The greats of this new intimate style were Bert Allerton who performed at the famous Ambassador East Hotel Pump Room, and Matt Schulien who owned his own family restaurant and bar. Then the 1970s brought a counterculture backlash against the magic shows of Chicago, causing the acts to change to suit audience demands.
Today, Chicago still boasts a robust magic scene with magicians and acts to amaze even the biggest fan and cynic alike. You'll find here our list of favorite things to do in when wanting Chicago magic in your evening.
PAST Magic Shows Chicago
Braden Auditorium, Normal IL
University Street & College Avenue
Normal, IL 61761
Michael is probably best known for his television show The Carbonaro Effect. He is a prankster at heart, and on his show he would pose as a regular joe who then pulls magic tricks out of his hat (so to speak) to freak out the unsuspecting public. His sometimes ridiculous explanations for what was going on, (never letting on that it was magic), made the situation even funnier. In his live show Michael brings all his wit and quirky humor to the stage, with sleight of hand, performance art and bizarre antics that will surely make for an evening of upbeat fun.
North Shore Theatre
9501 N Skokie Blvd
Skokie, IL 60077
Justin Willman is on the road with his Magic in Real Life tour, a show with oodles of incredible magic, illusion, and laughs. What is special about Justin? Well, for one thing, his quirky sense of humor. You might have seen him on his latest Netflix specials, Magic for Humans where he levitates while doing goat yoga, (yes I said goat), and does some very funny stuff with kids and marshmallows. Beloved by TV hosts such as Ellen and presidents such as Barack Obama, Justin has made a mark with his sometimes silly, but always fabulous illusions. His touring show is for all ages.
322 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
How can a guy that doesn't talk and has tape covering his mouth even entertain? The answer is... very well! Tape Face has taken Vegas a bit by storm with his impish sense of humor and Herculean abilities to engage audiences of all ages. Although not a magician in the traditional sense, Tape Face has a magical show that you'll find charming and touching.
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