How to do Chicago's theatre district from Indianapolis

Over 17 million people live within a 150 mile radius of Chicago. Enlarge that by another 35 miles and you can add a few more million people with the inclusion of Indianapolis and a number of outlying smaller towns. So, if you're one of those millions looking for something fabulous to do, like see a Broadway show, then you're in luck; because while you can't drive to New York in three hours, you can drive to Chicago in that amount of time and the see the same talented men and women who perform in the famed theatres of Manhattan in Chicago's theatre district.

Where Broadway hits Chicago
There are five main venues in Chicago's theatre district that host Broadway shows: the Bank of America Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Oriental Theatre, Roosevelt University's Auditorium Theatre, and Broadway Playhouse. Each theatre has its own production calendar, with some shows selling out months in advance. You're best bet for premium seats is to plan ahead but even if it's last minute and you score some resale seats on, you're sure to have a good view as there truly are no bad seats. Plus, all the theatres are within easy walking distance to a number of restaurants and hotels so once you arrive on Broadway in Chicago, you'll be good to stay for as long as you like.

Where to eat before the show
Most of the individual theatre websites list partner restaurants where the staffs know how to get you in and out on time for the start of whatever performance you're attending. One great new hot spot to check out is the Randolph Street Tavern where they make good on their promise to deliver "genuine food, craft beer, elevated cocktails, and fine wine". Bonus, the waiters there know their menu so don't be afraid to ask for recommendations.

Where to stay after the show
Along with good eats, Chicago's theatre district has a number of easily accessible hotels. And most offer valet parking, a must if you want to relax and enjoy your evening without worrying about traffic or finding an open spot in a parking garage. Tip, don't be afraid to call last minute for a reservation. If it's a popular show you might be gambling on finding a room, but often times you can secure one for a lower price than you would have if you'd booked in advance. One to try, The Wit — a contemporary Double Tree by Hilton.

But no matter what restaurant, which hotel, or show you ultimately choose, rest assured that you're in for an evening with lovely food and outstanding entertainment second to none — not even to the Big Apple itself! And for close to 20 million people, that's a really, really good thing. More information on Chicago's theatre district and a listing of current shows can be found online at

Shauna Nosler lives in Indianapolis. She's a contributor to both the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Monthly Magazine as well as to the national news organization U.S. News & World Report. More of her writing can be found on the lifestyle blog, The Flavored Word.

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