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Benjamin Barnes entertains a group at the Chicago Magic Lounge in Andersonville.

Benjamin Barnes entertains a group at the Chicago Magic Lounge in Andersonville.

Photo by James Murphy Trainman / Courtesy of Chicago Magic Lounge

10 magic shows and shops giving Chicagoans thrills and chills right now

Presto! Magic shows keep appearing in Chicago — and tickets are quickly disappearing.

Here are 10 recommended places to experience the city’s magic, including shows and a couple of shops. On this list, you’ll find more upscale dinner-and-show options as well as some inexpensive events, including a BYOB event and spots where you can simply drop in and get a taste.

Dennis Watkins has been performing magic in Chicago since 2008 but he has a new performance space in the basement of Petterino's in the Loop.

Dennis Watkins has been performing magic in Chicago since 2008 but he has a new performance space in the basement of Petterino’s in the Loop, presented in conjunction with the adjacent Goodman Theatre.

Photo by Kyle Flubacker / Courtesy of Goodman Theatre

Bamboozled Magic Show presents close-up tricks and illusions Thursday nights at Rhine Hall Distillery. Tickets are relatively cheap: $25, or $40 for two. 21 and older. 2010 W. Fulton St.

Chicago Magic Lounge revives the city’s tradition of close-up magic, with magicians performing tricks at patrons’ tables, followed by a featured artist on the stage. The stylish venue doubles as a museum, stuffed with historic magic posters, props and books. It’s 21 and older, but teens 16 and up can attend with a legal guardian. Signature Show, $52.50 to $85; other shows, $30-$47.50; no ticket required for the Performance Bar.5050 N. Clark St.

Magic Inc. is the country’s oldest shop for magic props, books and lessons. Also, a good place to meet magicians. 1838 W. Lawrence Ave.

The Magic Parlour has a new home (in the basement of Petterino’s) where longtime Chicago favorite Dennis Watkins continues to astound audiences, seemingly reading their minds and committing other impossible feats with playing cards, dice and the other tools of the trade. $85-$95; VIP $115-$125. 50 W. Randolph St.

The Magic Penthouse presents a show once a month at the Kimpton Palomar Hotel, with several performers doing up-close magic while guests mingle over drinks and appetizers. Email for private bookings. 505 N. State St.

Old-Fashioned Magic puts the spotlight on Ryan Plunkett (also seen at Chicago Magic Lounge), as he performs tricks inside Koval Distillery. $65.4241 N. Ravenswood Ave.

Rhapsody Theatre, a revamped vaudeville house built in 1912, hosts touring magicians like British star Jamie Allan (featured through Jan. 7) as well as locals, including venue owner Ricardo Rosenkranz, the Physician Magician. $30-$100. 1328 W. Morse Ave.

Sideshow Gelato offers frozen desserts, magic and performance spectacles in a Lincoln Square storefront.

Sword swallower Cassidy Rose performs for a small crowd in December 2023 at Sideshow Gelato. The Lincoln Square storefront offers frozen desserts, magic and performance spectacles.

Manuel Martinez

Sideshow Gelato serves frozen desserts with a side of magic. The scheduled sideshow and magic performances are family friendly, except the late-night shows, which add a bit of burlesque. Tickets to many shows are just $20. 4819 N. Western Ave.

Teatro ZinZanni, a dinner circus-and-cabaret show in an elegant room atop the Cambria Hotel, features the charismatic Chicago magician Lucy Darling, who has “a purposefully retro, Dean Martin-like comic persona,” as noted in the Chicago Sun-Times. $129-$149. 32 W. Randolph St.

Trickery presents hourlong magic shows on weekends in a BYOB space. At $32, the tickets are on the more affordable end of the magic spectrum. 3453 N. Halsted St.

Robert Loerzel is a journalist based in Chicago.

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