Updated Oct 30, 2023 - Things to Do

Four haunts to visit this Halloween

Old photo of a huge hotel.

This photo of the Drake Hotel was taken in the 1920s, not long after it supposedly was first haunted. Photo: Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

With Halloween here, let's put aside talk of costumes and candy to dive into primo haunted places to visit this holiday.

The Nederlander Theatre: The downtown playhouse was recently named one of the most haunted places in the world. The old theater sits at the site where the famed Iroquois Theater fire happened in 1903, which killed 602 people.

Yes, but: Chicagoans actually know that Couch alley, located behind the theatre, is the haunted spot, because that's where authorities piled up the bodies after the fire.

Photo of an alley with painted walls
Couch alley. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Resurrection Mary

Probably the best ghost story in Chicago history. Mary is a ghost inhabiting Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois. Killed by a hit-and-run driver on Archer Avenue and buried at Resurrection, she now haunts the area as a young hitchhiker. There are several stories of people picking her up and, once they get close to the cemetery, she disappears into it.

Horror Hotels

The Congress and The Drake: Who doesn't love haunted hotels? Chicago has a few, including the lobby at the Congress, haunted by the ghosts of mob victims. And in Room 441, a phantom kicks the bed to awaken guests. No need for a wake-up call.

  • The Drake Hotel reportedly hosts "The Lady in Red," a ghost who died at a New Year's Eve party over 100 years ago and haunts guests to this day.

Metro and Smart Bar

After reading about ghost sightings at this iconic club, Monica asked owner Joe Shanahan about them a few years ago for Curious City.

  • His answer: "Well I'm not here to say it's true or not true … But I think this building has spirit, and that spirit is not something I take lightly. I want to be sure to honor it."

Plus: There are several more great haunted Chicago stories. We recommend taking a tour this weekend, either by bus or on foot.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more