As the home of the world’s first skyscraper and mail-order business, Chicago has long been a place for growth and innovation. Having hosted the 1893 World’s Fair, this town also knows a thing or two about holding great events. Planners will find a wide variety of venues that highlight Chicago’s progressive and welcoming character. Served by two airports within 20 miles and the nation’s 2nd largest transit system, getting in and around Chicago is a breeze. With top-rated hotels, great restaurants and exciting entertainment opportunities, this city is definitely a winner. Check out the top venues for your next event, as well as our top things to do in the Windy City.
The Top 10 Chicago Venues Planners Should Consider
At the largest convention space in the country, you’ll find 2.6 million sq.-ft. of exhibit space, four ballrooms, four theaters and 173 meeting rooms. As the centerpiece of the Collection at McCormick Square, the convention center is linked to the Wintrust arena and five hotels via enclosed sky bridges. Convenient transportation options make it easy to head off and explore all that Chicago has to offer.
Photo Credit: SMG
Set to open in January 2019, this latest Convene location is perfectly situated in the heart of the Chicago Loop. With a Forum capable of seating over 250 guests, big and small groups alike can take advantage of all of Convene’s signature features. Thanks to partnerships with five nearby hotels, guests won’t have to go far to experience some of the best in Chicago hospitality.
Photo Credit: Convene
As the second best hotel in the USA according to U.S News & World Report, it’s no surprise that the Peninsula is one of the best places in the city for meetings and events. With 11 elegant venues, onsite AV and catering services and the support of a dedicated conference concierge, planners can rest assured that their event will be magnificent from start to finish.
Photo Credit: HSH Management Services Limited
Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, this venue towers over the competition. Whether you’re hosting a gathering for 10 or a gala for 550, guests will be impressed by the best views in town and the sleek, modern atmosphere of each space. Consider incorporating the Skywalk or TILT platforms to give guests a truly thrilling experience.
Photo Credit: 360 Chicago
This historic Magnificent Mile hotel features four luxurious ballrooms and over a dozen unique meeting spaces. Throughout the hotel you’ll find a seamless blend of 1920s elegance and 21st century amenities. With an upscale restaurant, a wine bar and a three-level Fitness Center & Spa, guests will find it easy to move from business to leisure.
Photo Credit: Intercontinental Chicago
This elegant industrial venue offers 30,000 sq. ft. of highly flexible event space. Available lighting and furniture options enhance the creative possibilities of this unique canvas. Thanks to an expansive list of preferred caterers, planners can partner with some of the best in Chicago event services.
Photo Credit: Morgan MFG
Located in an unmistakable building, the Radisson offers 13 incredible event spaces. The Atlantic Ballroom alone can accommodate everything from trade shows to receptions of over 1500 guests. Along with 300+ stylish rooms, this hotel also offers an impressive array of amenities including a green roof and a private movie screening room.
Photo Credit: Radisson Hotel Group
Are you hosting 500-person reception? Crown Hall can handle it. Need space to make a presentation? Captivate an audience of 400 in the spacious Feinberg Theater. With four other flexible open spaces including an outdoor terrace and a variety of meeting rooms, whatever the event, this multipurpose space is sure to have a suitable venue.
Photo Credit: Venue Six10
Once a private club, this 1893 landmark building underwent extensive restoration to open in 2015 as a modern hotel full of Old Chicago grandeur. Along with elegant ballrooms and sleek boardrooms, the hotel features unique venues like the Tank and Stagg Court. Don’t forget to consider Cindy’s, one of the most popular rooftop bars in town.
Photo Credit: Chicago Athletic Association
Originally built in 1936, this highly versatile space offers 50,000 sq. ft. of event space, including dozens of breakout rooms and an outdoor courtyard. Located just across the street from the Collection at McCormick Square, this venue unites Chicago’s industrial past and its current status as a top event destination.
Photo Credit: The Revel Group
Top Things to Do in the Windy City
Although Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most popular spots, thanks the iconic Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”), it’s part of much larger Grant Park, which stretches along the shores of Lake Michigan. Along with beautiful gardens and fountains, the park is also the home of renowned institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium and Alder Planetarium.
Photo Credit: Chicago Traveler
Big Time Entertainment
As the birthplace of the term “Jazz,” it’s no surprise that music is major part of Chicago culture. Check out the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, which has been around since the Prohibition Era and still has Al Capone’s favorite booth. You can also head to Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park for live blues every night. Lucky visitors can also experience the excitement of the Chicago Jazz Festival during Labor Day weekend.
Photo Credit: Kingston Mines
When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, the city celebrated like never before. Not every game is that exciting, but fans can still catch a game at historic Wrigley Field. Not a Cubs fan? Don’t worry, as the hometown of an NFL team, NBA team, NHL team and another MLB team, Chicago’s sports calendar has something for everyone.
Photo Credit: Wrigley Field
Interested in the other top U.S. cities and venues for meeting and event professionals? Download our free guide to see them all!