Uptown Entertainment District

For over a century, Uptown has been a popular Chicago entertainment district, which played a significant role in ushering in the Gilded Age, the Lyceum Movement, the jazz age, the silent film era, the swing era, the big band era, the rock and roll era, has been a filming location for over 480 movies, has ties to significant spectator sport athletes and organizations, including the Chicago Blackhawks and three Olympic figure skaters, as well as theater, comedy clubs, dance performers who later became nationally famous, and even “The People’s Music School,” a needs-based, tuition-free music school for formal classical music training.

“You have the Riv [Riviera Theatre], you have the Aragon. … We have a downtown theater district.  There  should be an Uptown music district, given our history with labels as well as the club scene, which is truly, truly unique around the country” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
It’s not the first time the question has been asked — a 2000 study by the Washington-based Urban Land Institute said it too — but the fact that the incoming mayor is raising it has sparked hope that now might be the time it finally happens.
“It’s very exciting that he’s thinking about this early on,” said Harry Osterman, the incoming alderman for the 48th Ward, where many of the venues for the district sit. “Culture and music and the arts are very important to our city, and the Uptown area has a long history of that.”
How many neighborhoods can boast of hosting the likes of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Sophie Tucker — “the Last of the Red Hot Mammas” — dazzling the starstruck crowds that flocked to Uptown through the years? Or Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead in more recent times.
The Uptown Entertainment District is home to numerous important music venues and nightclubs. Historically a very popular tourist destination, this district is now experiencing a revival, with many new shops and restaurants opening every year. The center of the Uptown Entertainment District is Uptown Square – which was designated as a National Historic District in 2000. The Uptown Entertainment District is a short bike ride to Chicago’s Lincoln Park, which boasts a variety of athletic fields, bicycle/ running paths, a sledding hill, and Montrose Beach.
Notable attractions:
- Uptown Square
- Aragon Ballroom
- Uptown Theatre
- Green Mill Jazz Club
- AND SOON!  THE UPTOWN THEATRE!
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