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Adler at Night: The Perfect After-Dark Chicago Experience

December 6, 2022 By CityPASS

Racking your brain trying to find a special spot for a date night? Love space and want to get up close and personal with thousands of stars glistening above you? Itching to learn some wild astronomy and space facts? From incurable romantics to curious space explorers and astronomers in the making, the perfect place to go in Chicago after sundown is its world-famous Adler Planetarium.

Established in 1930, the Adler Planetarium of Chicago was the first of its kind to open to the public in the western hemisphere. More than 90 years after that memorable day, the Adler continues to be one of Chicago’s staples, thanks to its innovative design, interactive shows, stunning permanent exhibitions, and now even an after-dark, immersive event.

Adler at Night is a memorable Wednesday experience that you shouldn’t miss if you are in town. Even better, it’s free for all Illinois residents — just remember to bring along a valid proof of residency.

If you fancy finding out more about it, then this guide is an essential read.

Complete Access to All Museum Exhibitions

One of the best things about seeing the Adler Planetarium at night is that your ticket grants you access to all the current museum exhibitions.

Take a close look, for example, at the planetarium’s world-famous collection of star maps and celestial globes, take part in fun and interesting research to identify constellations, and even create your very own constellations in the night sky.

And remember to stop by the new Community Star Studio, where you can participate in a workshop that teaches you how to connect to the night sky with various media. Think drawing, coloring, designing, and more — set your imagination free and see where it takes you!

Doane Observatory's Massive Telescope

One of the most fascinating areas you can visit inside the Adler is the famous Doane Observatory. This is where you can view THE biggest public telescope in Chicagoland. This impressive piece of astronomy equipment gathers over 7,000 times more light than our (unaided) eyes, which makes for extra-bright, astounding views of the universe.

There is one small caveat, though. The Observatory will not always be open during Adler at Night, as the weather plays a big role in whether or not the sky can be observed with such clarity. If you really want to visit this part of the planetarium at night, keep an eye on the weather forecast and maybe give the box office a ring before booking your spot.

Live Entertainment and Evening Guest Speakers

In true Adler style, Adler at Night is full of great live shows and entertainment, coupled with fun and friendly experts who are ready to answer (almost!) all your questions about space. So come in with an open and curious mind and be prepared to be blown away by everything you will see, learn, and experience.

For example, check out the planetarium’s award-winning sky shows. From hunting for a new ninth planet to flying through the stars, from walking on the Moon to touring the solar system, there is so much to do at Adler at Night that you probably won’t know where to start!

Before you visit, we recommend checking the sky show trailers by visiting the planetarium’s website and ensuring that you design an Adler at Night experience that is fully tailored to your tastes.

Destination Solar System

This is one seriously cool interactive experience you do not want to miss if you visit Adler at Night. Destination Solar System takes you to the futuristic year 2096, when space tourism is a huge trend. In this uber-immersive story, you have booked a trip around the solar system with a deep space tourist company called Space Express Tours.

The trip is called — of course — Destination Solar System, and it takes place on a super-fast spaceship belonging to the Space Express fleet. Once your journey begins, you will travel billions of miles in just seconds. On board, aside from your fellow passengers, you will be accompanied by Jesse, a fun and knowledgeable tour guide, and Max, a cutting-edge computer.

Trust us; this is one part of Adler at Night that you shouldn’t miss for the solar syst… oops, make that the world.

Crystal Clear Chicago Night Sky

Let’s be honest. Even on the clearest night, Chicago isn’t exactly the best place for you to spot many stars by simply tilting your head up and gazing at the sky. This is why a visit to Adler at Night can be a truly magical experience.

You can go on a guided tour of Chicago’s night sky during the event. Simply step inside the Atwood Sphere and enjoy thousands of stars shining brightly above you. Who said that dinner and cinema were the most romantic first date?!

Perfect Chicago Skyline Views

In 1873, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed most of the old city buildings and killed or displaced many of the city’s residents. Nonetheless, the fire taught city leaders a critical lesson: Buildings needed to be planned and constructed using better techniques and more fire-resistant materials.

When you visit Adler Planetarium at night, you can identify some of Chicago’s most famous skyline landmarks. These include 311 South Wacker Drive, Willis Tower, the Franklin Center, Chase Tower, The Legacy at Millennium Park, The Heritage at Millennium Park, and many more.

Experience Adler and More at a Fraction of the Price

Not an Illinois resident? No problem! While you won’t be able to admire the thousands of stars above Chicago for free, you can still bag yourself a great bargain when you book your visit to Adler at Night.

With Chicago CityPASS® tickets, you can visit Adler Planetarium — as well as experience a lot more of the incredible sights and experiences Chicago has to offer — at a fraction of the price. Check out the great savings you can get with CityPASS® tickets and book your Chicago trip today!

Chicago Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Chicago, we recommend finding lodging near Chicago's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header image Courtesy of Adler Planetarium

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