Jazz, reggae, funk or pop, Motown, classical, blues or rock — music changes its tune at the drop of a guitar pick, but it never skips a beat in its universal appeal. Chicago offers some great spots for kids and their parents (and grandparents!) to groove to a virtual smorgasbord of music together.
If the word juicebox conjures images of giggling, sticky-faced toddlers riding in the mini-van, you’re on the right track—as long as that van is headed to the Juicebox Series. Presented by the city of Chicago, Juicebox showcases some of the area’s best music, dance and theater. Although geared toward the preschool set, younger grade-school children will have a good time, too. Kids even get to take part in the action. Juicebox happens the first and third Fridays of each month at the Chicago Cultural Center (Preston Bradley Hall) and the first and third Saturdays at Garfield Park Conservatory (Horticulture Hall). Best of all: It’s free!
4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Ask any kid what a playdate is and they’ll tell you it’s hanging out with friends and having fun. The Old Town School of Music has borrowed the term and taken it to a whole new level. Their Playdates offer the 5-and-under crowd musical playtimes. Old Town also hosts Kids’ Concerts throughout the year for the school-aged set, bringing in the best area musicians as well as internationally known touring artists. Ticket prices are $6 for Playdates and $10-$15 for Kids Concerts.
What kid hasn’t watched The Voice and dreamed of being chosen by Adam Levine? School of Rock brings the dream a little closer with first-rate public concerts featuring performers between the ages of 9 and 17. Music genres include reggae, funk, rock, pop and more. What’s extra cool is that many of the concerts benefit charities. Tickets range from free to $10.
2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Eating dinner set to music may be nice, but hearing a concert set to brunch is sublime—especially when it appeals to the whole family. The Beat Kitchen, a classic vintage Chicago restaurant bar and venue, knows this. For just $6, the under-aged can bop to the likes of Mr. Singer and the Sharp Cookies, Deep Fried Pickle Project and the Poochamungas. Adults will enjoy a full bar and brunch menu that includes many kid-favorite dishes. Concerts for Kids take place on Sundays at noon (doors open at 11 a.m.).