A trio of ways the Harris Theater puts cultural fun in the limelight

Recently, I joined my parents, who do far more interesting things around the city than I do, for a ballet at the Harris Theater. Seriously, they are so much cooler than me, but at least they let me tag along sometimes. 

We saw the Ballet Chicago Studio Company Presents Platinum Anniversary Concert. I left my toddler at home with my hubby and savored, I mean really savored, the grown up time and soaking in the beauty of the ballet. I have always enjoyed seeing shows at the Harris Theater, and while my little guy was not in tow this time around, there were many older children in the audience and some were even in the show! Seeing kiddos immersed in this experience inspired me to share reasons why the Harris Theater could open the curtain on family fun for your crew. 

Smooth arrival 

You can enjoy a scenic jaunt down Lake Shore Drive, park in the garage and walk directly from the garage into the theater. This is a nice perk in our current warm weather, but when the weather gets frightful again, avoiding a slush fest with a band of kiddos will be amazing. For a family outing sans car, the theater’s central location means that a myriad of public transit options are just a stone’s throw away. 

Streamlined design 

Theater in the city evokes imagery of ornate venues such as the Cadillac Palace Theatre where Chicago Parent’s Senior Editor Elizabeth Diffin recently took in a lively performance of Aladdin. I do appreciate the opulent crystal chandeliers and detailed décor of Chicago’s classic spaces, but the Harris Theater provides a breath of fresh air from that decadent style. It is sleek, modern and minimalist, which means there is less for kiddos to get into, i.e., break. 

“Opened in November 2003, the nonprofit Harris Theater was the first multi-use performance venue built in downtown Chicago since 1929,” its website states. So what does a more recently built theater mean for your clan? It is streamlined, easy-to-navigate and has family bathrooms. I have been to several shows at the Harris over the years and never found myself in a bad seat with any type of obstruction. The theater has also won praise for its excellent acoustics! 

Shows to see

Personally, half the fun of having outings lined up on the calendar is looking forward to them. The Harris Theater offers a trio of family-centric shows that start up this fall, giving you plenty of time to daydream about the big days. The Exelon Family Series is made up of hour-long performances on Saturday afternoons at 2 p.m. The shorter shows are designed for children ages 4-12. The upcoming lineup includes a variety of genres from hip hop dance to ballet, so be sure to check out what looks best for your family or see all three

If you let a out a knowing sigh when I mentioned savoring grown up time at that start of this post, maybe you should plan a parent’s day off and snag tickets to see Misty Copleland’s debut performance at the Harris Theater. As a women’s history enthusiast, I was thrilled to find out that Copeland broke new ground when she became the first African-American female principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre’s history. 

Whether you opt for fun family visits or squeeze in some sacred adult time, the Harris Theater is an excellent option to take in a show!

If you go

Harris Theater

205 E Randolph St.


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