For the seventh year, our readers have voted for their favorite Chicago-area businesses in 11 categories. But before that, for the first time ever, we asked you to send us your nominations before voting began. We received more than 6,700 nominations!
Now that the votes have been tallied, it’s time to announce our Best of 2017 winners. Share your thoughts with us on social media using the hashtag #Bestof2017.
Best Live Music Venue (Suburbs)
Ravinia is North America’s oldest music festival, and a must-visit site every summer.
Live Music Venue (Chicago)
Grant Park 
This beautiful park hosts The Grant Park Music Festival  and Lollapalooza.
Best Music Festival
Best Music Outing
This Grammy Award-winning orchestra performs at both the Symphony Center downtown and fellow Best of 2017 winner Ravinia.
Best Dance Company
Joffrey Ballet 
Some of the best ballet in the world can be found here in Chicago (and we can’t wait for “The Nutcracker ” to return this holiday season!).
Best Dance Venue
Auditorium Theatre 
Best Museum (Suburbs)
The mission of this museum is to “Remember the Past, Transform the Future.”
Best Museum (Chicago) | Best Place to Go on a Rainy Day
An annual reader favorite, there is always something to see or do at this world-renowned museum.
Best Museum (Small)
Built in the heart of Pilsen, this museum features one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the U.S.
Best Museum (Kids)
Let your child’s imagination soar at this museum, which welcomes approximately 330,000 people every year.
Best Place to Go on a Sunny Day
When the weather is right, there’s no better place to be on the North Shore than at Chicago Botanic Garden.
Best Live Theater (Suburbs)
Writers Theatre 
The Wall Street Journal called Writers “America’s No.1 theatre company,” and our readers agree.
Best Live Theater (Chicago)
Broadway in Chicago 
Chicago is always treated to the best Broadway shows (see: “Hamilton ”) thanks to this group.
Best Children’s Theater
This company has been wowing kids and families since 2005.
Best Comedy Venue
Second City 
This comedy club and theater is second to none.
Best Art Gallery
Anne Loucks Gallery 
You don’t have to travel far to see some of the best in contemporary American art.
Best Family Outing
Lincoln Park Zoo 
Spend a leisurely day exploring this free zoo, or take advantage of one of the many family programs available.
Best Chicago Sports Experience (Women’s Team)
Chicago Sky 
Don’t miss any of the action at Allstate Arena this summer.
Best Chicago Sports Experience (Men’s Team)
Chicago Cubs 
Our readers love cheering on the 2016 World Series Champion (!) Cubs at Wrigley Field.
More from Make It Better:
- 5 Ravinia Acts You Shouldn’t Miss This Summer 
- Peer-to-Peer Boating: How to Hit the Water By Boat Without Ever Buying One 
- Local Best-Selling Author Releases New Suspense Thriller, Plus Shares Her Top 5 Favorite Thrillers 
Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, she loves cheering on the Cubs and Blackhawks and also fears she watches too much Netflix.