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Monday, December 25, 2023

Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom: Your Guide to Chicago's Iconic Music Venue

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Monday, December 25, 2023

Nestled in the heart of Chicago's vibrant Uptown neighborhood, the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom stands as a testament to the city's rich musical history. This 1926 landmark, originally a ballroom, has transformed into one of the country's most revered concert venues, boasting a capacity of nearly 5,000 and hosting legendary acts like The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, and countless others.

So, you're planning a night at the Aragon? Buckle up, music lovers, because this guide has everything you need to know:

Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom

Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, Chicago
A captivating image showcasing the Aragon Ballroom's grandeur, with spotlights illuminating the stage and a vibrant crowd enjoying a live performance.
 Source: Wikipedia 


Golden Age of Dance: A Ballroom Born of Elegance

In 1926, brothers Andrew and William Karzas, pioneers of the movie palace era, envisioned a dance hall unlike any other. Their creation, the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom (Wikipedia), was a masterpiece of Spanish Baroque architecture, adorned with terracotta-hued stucco and wrought iron balconies. Inside, the magic truly unfolded. John Eberson, a renowned theater designer, transformed the space into a Moorish wonderland. Twinkling stars adorned the ceiling, mimicking a night sky, while cascading arches and wrought ironwork evoked the grandeur of a Spanish palace. The centerpiece, however, was the colossal maple dance floor, capable of accommodating 4,000 couples gliding to the rhythm of big bands and jazz orchestras.

The Aragon quickly became Chicago's premier dance destination. Its sophisticated atmosphere, strict dress code, and eagle-eyed chaperones set it apart from the city's rowdier dance halls. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Judy Garland graced its stage, while local residents flocked to experience the electrifying energy of the era. Live broadcasts on WGN radio further cemented the Aragon's national fame, solidifying its place as a cultural beacon.

Evolution Through the Decades: From Ballroom to Rock & Roll Haven

As the Roaring Twenties faded, the Aragon adapted to the changing times. The decline of social dancing in the 1960s saw the venue embrace rock and roll, hosting iconic acts like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Doors. The ballroom's acoustics, originally designed for waltzes and foxtrots, surprisingly proved perfect for the amplified sounds of the new generation.

The Aragon persevered through numerous challenges, including a devastating fire in 1967 that destroyed the adjacent pier and Cheetah Club venue. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the ballroom was restored, its spirit undimmed. In the following decades, it witnessed the rise of punk, new wave, and alternative music, becoming a platform for emerging artists and established legends alike.

A Legacy Enduring: Where History Meets the Beat

Today, the Aragon Ballroom stands as a vibrant testament to its own resilience and Chicago's rich musical heritage. The venue seamlessly blends its historical grandeur with modern amenities, hosting an eclectic mix of concerts, dance nights, and comedy shows. From headliners like Radiohead and Coldplay to local indie bands and salsa nights, the Aragon continues to pulsate with the energy of diverse genres and passionate audiences.

Whether you're a seasoned music fan or simply seeking a glimpse into Chicago's captivating past, the Aragon Ballroom offers an experience unlike any other. Stepping through its doors is akin to stepping back in time, where the ghosts of past eras mingle with the vibrant energy of the present. So, put on your dancing shoes or grab your concert buddy, and prepare to be swept away by the magic of the Aragon Ballroom – a timeless icon that continues to dance to its own beat.

Capacity and Seating:

The Aragon Ballroom boasts a spacious capacity of 5,000, comfortably accommodating both intimate gatherings and electrifying concerts. Its flexible layout allows for various configurations, from a seated orchestra pit to a full-fledged standing general admission area.

Seating Chart:

While the Aragon Ballroom doesn't publish a fixed seating chart due to its adaptable layout, you can generally expect:

  • Main Floor: This expansive area offers standing room closest to the stage, perfect for experiencing the energy of the crowd.
  • Balcony: Elevated tiers provide a bird's-eye view of the stage and the entire venue, ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Boxes: Located on either side of the stage, these private booths offer VIP treatment with plush seating and dedicated service.

Events and Entertainment:

The Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom is a historic and iconic venue in Chicago, Illinois, known for hosting a wide variety of events and entertainment, from concerts and music festivals to corporate events and weddings. Here's a glimpse into what the Aragon Ballroom has to offer:


  • Concerts: The Aragon Ballroom is a premier concert venue, having hosted legendary artists like The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, and many more. Upcoming concerts include Bleachers on February 10th, 2024, and The Black Keys on March 2nd, 2024.
  • Music Festivals: The Aragon Ballroom is also a popular spot for music festivals, such as Riot Fest and North Coast Music Festival. These festivals bring together a variety of artists and genres, making for an unforgettable experience.
  • Corporate Events: The Aragon Ballroom's spacious and elegant setting makes it an ideal location for corporate events, such as meetings, conferences, and product launches. The venue can accommodate a variety of event sizes and has a team of experienced event planners to help make your event a success.
  • Weddings: The Aragon Ballroom is a unique and romantic wedding venue. The ballroom's grandeur and elegance provide a stunning backdrop for your special day. The venue also offers a variety of catering and wedding planning services to make your wedding dreams come true. 


  • Live Music: The Aragon Ballroom is known for its incredible live music scene. With a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting, the venue provides an intimate and immersive experience for concertgoers.
  • Dancing: The Aragon Ballroom's spacious dance floor is perfect for letting loose and enjoying the music. The venue often hosts dance events, such as DJ nights and salsa nights.
  • Theater: The Aragon Ballroom also occasionally hosts theatrical productions and comedy shows. These events provide a unique and entertaining experience for a night out.

Catch a Show or Host an Event:

The Aragon's stage has been graced by a who's who of musical royalty, from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley in its early years to The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, and Beyoncé in more recent times. Today, the venue continues to attract a diverse range of performers, from indie darlings to established superstars, ensuring there's always something for every taste.

Beyond concerts, the Aragon is also a popular choice for corporate events, weddings, and private parties. Its spaciousness, elegant ambiance, and state-of-the-art amenities make it the perfect setting for any occasion. Check out the official website or follow them on social media to stay updated on the latest happenings:

Planning Your Visit:

Getting There:

The Aragon is conveniently located at 1106 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60640. It's easily accessible by public transportation, with the CTA Red Line ("Lawrence") station just steps away. Ample street parking is also available in the surrounding area.


Finding parking near the Aragon Ballroom can be tricky, especially during peak hours. Here are some options to consider:

  • Metered street parking: Available on West Lawrence Avenue and surrounding streets. Be mindful of time restrictions and bring change.
  • Parking garages: Several parking garages are located within walking distance, including the Uptown Square Garage and the Broadway Garage.
  • Public transportation: The CTA Red Line "Lawrence" station is just a few blocks away, offering a convenient and affordable option.

Nearby Attractions:

Before or after your Aragon adventure, explore the vibrant Uptown neighborhood:

  • Enjoy a pre-concert meal: Indulge in delicious tacos at The Bad Apple, savor authentic Italian fare at La Scala, or grab a quick bite at Gino's East.
  • Catch a movie: Immerse yourself in the independent cinema scene at the historic Uptown Theatre.
  • Do some shopping: Browse unique boutiques and vintage stores along Clark Street.


No need to get lost! This handy map shows the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom's location, nearby parking options, and some popular restaurants and attractions:


Bonus Tip: Check out the Aragon's website or social media pages for upcoming events, artist information, and special promotions. You might just snag tickets to your next dream concert!

Visiting the Aragon:

So, if you find yourself in Chicago, consider stepping into the Aragon Ballroom. Purchase a ticket, grab a drink at the bar, and let the music transport you back in time. You might just catch a glimpse of the glittering past, feel the electrifying energy of the present, and understand why the Aragon Ballroom continues to be a legend in its own right.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your dancing shoes, book your tickets, and get ready to experience the magic of the Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom!

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Thanks for reading Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom: Your Guide to Chicago's Iconic Music Venue

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