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Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL

Music, Music venues Loop
5 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
Civic Opera House

Everything you need to know about visiting the Civic Opera House (20 N Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606).

Built in 1929 by business magnate Samuel Insull, the art deco architecture and gold-covered interior design of the Civic Opera House is anything but subtle—an venue for the dramatic narratives that unfold on its stage. The Lyric Opera of Chicago has made the opulent venue its home since 1954, presenting eight productions each season. As one of the top opera companies in the country, it attracts some of the industries most respected singers and musicians, including musical director Sir Andrew Davis (formerly of the BBC Symphony Orchestra) and creative director Renée Fleming (the soprano superstar who spent years with the Metropolitan Opera). Each season at the Lyric offers something different, including reimagined productions of classic operas like Faust and Richard Wagner’s Ring cyle.

Go beyond the footlights

It may be too late for you to make a career out of treading the board and belting out arias, but you can experience an evening behind the scenes of the Civic Opera House with a backstage tour. These hour-long, behind-the-scenes looks at the facilities are offered throughout the season and include a tour of the orchestra pit and a peek behind the curtains, where you’ll step onto the catwalks and see how operas are brought to life. 

Learn more about the show 

Your ticket to a Lyric Opera production doesn’t just allow you to see the show, it also gives you access to a pre-opera talk. One hour before curtain time, operagoers can gather in the theater for a half-hour preview talk that delves into the composer, themes, music and drama of each production. Call ahead to find out if a pre-opera talk is scheduled—opening nights and special events are usually excluded.

Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. The Civic Opera House was most recently updated with new tips on July 2, 2017.


Venue name: Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL
Address: 20 N Wacker Dr

Cross street: at Madison St
Transport: El stop: Brown, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Washington; Blue to Monroe. Bus: 20, 60, 157.
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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I've been here a few times and I love every aspect of this place! The decor is glamorous and ornate. It almost feels like 1920s Hollywood-era style. I've gotten to sit almost on every level, and every area, and every seat offered a spectacular view, sound and experience. If this is your first time, don't forget to visiting the lower level, basement. Costumes from past plays are displayed and it's truly amazing to take in.


Strikingly beautiful opera house. It seems like every seat is a good view. It is ornate, regal, and elegant. Great place for a fancy evening out, especially if you are trying to impress someone. 

There is truly nothing like the Civic Opera house. Walking into the ornate lobby and sitting in the breathtaking house immediately transports you back to a time when jazz was king and gangsters ruled Chicago. Okay, maybe not, but pieces of true Chicago history drip from corner to corner of this lovely work of art. Of course, no trip to the Civic Opera house is complete without seeing one of the great productions from the Lyric Opera of Chicago. But that's another story...