On any given weekend, Chicago usually has over 100 plays for you to choose from. That's not even counting the wealth of world-class dance and music offerings you'll find here!

For symphonic music, it's hard to beat seeing the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Symphony Center; great performances all the time by one of the best orchestra in the world. During the summer, there are free outdoor concerts in Grant Park by Chicago's Grant Park Symphony, which is largely comprised of players from Chicago's other great orchestra, the players of Lyric Opera (you'll want to hear them on their home turf of the Civic Opera House during the opera season, if you're in town from Fall to Spring -- but good luck getting tickets).

If it's live rock or blues music you're after, Chicago's terrific selection of clubs has plenty to keep you busy. Buddy Guy's Legends (often presided over by the man himself) is always worth a trip, and Rosa's is another authentic spot. To keep up on all the acts as they make the circuit, see the Chicago Reader's music listings: http://www.chicagoreader.com/music/ma...

It's hard to believe just how much top-quality theater is in Chicago. Not surprisingly, the "Broadway In Chicago" theatres in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theatre District has hosted such Broadway shows as Wicked, Spamalot, Rent, The Producers, and Valerie Harper in Golda’s Balcony. But if that's all you saw, you'd be missing so much. Go to Goodman Theatre (home of Tony Award-winner Robert Falls) and Steppenwolf (home of Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, John Mahoney, Glenne Headley, Laurie Metcalf, and jeez, a ton of other luminaries). And be sure to check out smaller theaters, such as the Lookingglass Theatre (aka Friends of David Schwimmer), the Royal George Theater, Supernatural Chicago (not a theater, but an ongoing show at a non-theater), the Athenaeum, Pheasant Run (in St. Charles), Drury Lane, Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, the Briar Street Theater. Of the above that aren't in the Loop, almost all are but a short cab ride from there.

Since shows are always changing, you'll want to see the theater reviews at the Chicago Reader: http://www.chicagoreader.com/listings... Another source to see what’s playing in town is the League of Chicago Theatres website: http://www.chicagoplays.com

Want dance? Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet call Chicago their home, and that's just the tip of the dancegoing iceberg. Columbia College usually has interesting programming. Lisitings — http://www.chicagoreader.com/listings...

Summer in Chicago offers up special arts-loving treats. There are the aforementioned performances in Grant Park — http://www.grantparkmusicfestival.com... The festivals presented by the Mayors Office celebrating Jazz, the Blues, Gospel, and Country — http://egov.cityofchicago.org:80/city... And don't miss Ravinia Festival (in suburban Glencoe and accessible by Metra train from Union Station). From classical performances to more modern fare (this year's schedule ranged from solo recitals to the CSO to Blondie), a picnic on the lawn is seldom this civilized. Details are at http://www.ravinia.org

Insider's Tip: Hot Tix is a great way to see the performing arts for 1/2 price. It offers half-priced tickets up to six days in advance to more than 200 Chicago-area theaters. For details, visit http://www.hottix.org