18. House of Blues in Chicago
When House of Blues first opened, the chain of rock clubs seemed destined to be one of those Planet Hollywood-style fads, frozen in the Nineties, with its Blues Brothers and porkpie-hat imagery and omnipresent merchandising. But a strange thing happened – HOBs in New Orleans, Vegas, L.A. and Chicago (this club opened in 1996) began to book killer shows in all genres, not just blues. "When it's packed," says Talib Kweli, "you can actually feel the building sway with the show." The food here is great, too. Don't miss the Sunday gospel brunch.
Fun Fact: Arena acts often stop by for a change of pace from their usual big tours – notable examples include Pete Townshend in 1997, Pearl Jam in 2005, Jay-Z in 2009, and Prince and B.B. King last year.