If you enjoy music under the stars, the outdoor concerts at Ravinia are a stellar treat. The Ravinia Festival, a summerlong series of performances, is the hot-months' home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but the festival also features popular jazz, chamber music, rock, pop, and dance acts. Pack a picnic (don't skimp, concertgoers do it up right with everything from fine china to candelabras), bring a blanket or chairs, and sit on the lawn for little more than the cost of a movie ($10 to $38). Large screens are placed on the lawn at some concerts so you won't miss anything. Seats are also available in the pavilion for a significantly higher price ($25 to $115). There are restaurants and snack bars on the park grounds, so if you forget your goodies you still won't go hungry. Concerts usually start at 7:30 or 8 pm; the park usually opens three to four hours ahead to let everyone score spots and get settled. Weekend-morning concerts are aimed at kids. They feature a "KidsLawn" before or after the concert with an interactive music experience, an "instrument petting zoo," and occasional live performances.
During the winter, check out the BGH Classics series; tickets for these indoor concerts at Bennett Gordon Hall cost only $10.