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Are premium seats worth it?

Evaluating premium seats at five Chicago venues.

Photograph: Ron Vesely
Chicago White Sox baseball at U.S. Cellular Field

Auditorium Theatre

Box seats $42–$78
Sight line
Costly seats come at a costly angle. Better views down below.
Sound
Nothing special
Perks
With just four seats in a large box, you get ample legroom.
Verdict
Save your cash.

Cadillac Palace Theatre
Center orchestra
$85
Sight line
Eleven rows back: not too close, not too far
Sound
Front and center, couldn’t be better
Perks
You can bring lobby-purchased food and drinks into the house, but so can the people with cheaper seats.
Verdict
Splurge

U.S. Cellular Field
Scout seats
$250–$265
Sight line
First 11 rows behind home plate. So close you can see the stitching on the ball.
Sound
You’ll hear every syllable of a profanity-laced tirade.
Perks
Separate entrance, parking pass, and all the food and booze you can manage
Verdict
Splurge

RECOMMENDED: Chicago White Sox baseball guide

Chicago Theatre
Rows HH and GG
$50–$150
Sight line
Crystal clear—so much so that a comedian may harangue you if you try to sneak in late.
Sound
No complaints
Perks
Food and drinks allowed in the house (again, this goes for cheaper seats, too)
Verdict
Splurge

Lyric Opera of Chicago
Mezzanine box seats
Varies, up to $294
Sight line
Perfecto. Direct line of sight makes for easy-to-read translations on the overhead translation box.
Sound
Bellissima. Acoustics carry the distance.
Perks
Guests are allowed late entry—unlike the peasants down below.
Verdict
Opera junkies: splurge. Everyone else: save.

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