If you’re planning an event, there’s no better place than Chicago — home to hundreds of hotels and conference centers, a large international airport, great local transportation, and a whole lot of history. (Just don’t ask for ketchup on your Chicago dog.) And for planners looking outside of the box, there are tons of unique Chicago event venues that deliver amazing experiences you couldn’t find anywhere else. The only problem with finding the right one is knowing where to start! That’s why we rounded up 30 one-of-a-kind Chi-town event spaces that can quite literally get the party started.
Remember: If nothing catches your eye, be sure to check out our venue search to browse and compare hundreds more.
1. The Ivy Room
Classic ballroom feel? Outdoors under strings of lights? How about a night cap in a swanky lounge? Whichever vibe your next event asks for, The Ivy Room is here to deliver. A sister space to the Dining Room at Tree Studios, the Ivy room offers a ballroom, courtyard, and lower-level lounge fit to accommodate affairs both social and corporate. This venue sets the standard for unique Chicago event spaces, which is why it’s such a constant in Wedding Wire.
Known for providing world-class, “Urban Wine Country” to the masses, City Winery: Chicago gives attendees one of the city’s more unique private event experiences. The obvious front-runners in the wine-tasting department, City Winery also provides guests with access to their barrel room, concert venue, and massive back patio for any and all event needs.
If name recognition alone doesn’t get you jazzed on this space, then read on. Part of the Live Nation family, this renowned music venue is more than capable of hosting a variety of events and gives planners the flexibility of building everything out — from the menu to the music. Choose from a variety of semi-private rooms or rent the entire House of Blues and bring anywhere from 25 to 1800 guests along to experience a piece of music history.
Whether you’re looking to relive the hardcourt magic of “his Airness” or take a virtual swing in Wrigley Field, the Chicago Sports Museum is a fantastic option. Capable of seating a party of 300, this event space offers an unmatched amount of interactivity and fun, making it an especially unique choice amongst corporate event venues.
You’ll be sure to leave with a distinct Euro-feel after an event at the LondonHouse, known for being the only in Chicago with a three-level rooftop space. With four private dining spaces and ten meeting rooms in total, London House offers 25,000 square feet of unparalleled event space from first floor to their famous rooftop. Plus, their onsite event team will equip your meeting with top-notch catering and cutting-edge AV.
The plush environment of the Thompson Chicago makes for an unforgettable event setting. Slick British design meets warm American accents — all combined with incredible views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Choose from 12,000 total square feet of event space suited for banquets, meetings, weddings, and more.
7. Thalia Hall
Looking for a beer cellar? Food hall? Tack room? Grand ballroom with a twist? Thalia Hall is the on-point joint. Able to accommodate anywhere from 14 to 500, attendees will enjoy the best food and booze the city has to offer, while spending time at the historic hangout they know and love.
Known by all night club goers in Chicago, Underground Chicago offers much more than strobe lights and bottle service. Turn the lights up a bit and enjoy this beautiful venue for your next event of up to 425 guests. The most transformative space in the North River area, the Underground has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
One of the top art centers in the city, the Zhou B Art Center is always up for accommodating. Runway fashion shows? Got it. Lavish cocktail parties? Not a problem. Fans of natural light and world-class artwork will find it a dream to work with this 28,000 sq. ft. venue.
The name does this space justice. There is an unmatched mystique about Untitled Supper Club that keeps locals and visitors alike crawling back for more. Maybe it’s the extensive whiskey library (500 varieties!) or “backstage” seating area that give this place the gusto behind it’s one-of-a-kind events. No matter what it is, the venue offers multiple event spaces that can immerse up to 175 guests in art-deco splendor.
Loyola has two campuses with many different buildings and outdoor areas: The Lake Shore campus adjacent to Lake Michigan offers some of the most beautiful views in the region, and the Water Tower Campus is located in center city, conveniently close to all of the best attractions. Its full-service facilities offer everything the city’s best spaces do and more: catering and on-site dining establishments, overnight accommodations for up to 1,500 people, meeting spaces that take up to 700, and state-of-the-art AV technology.
12. Navy Pier
With over eight million visitors a year, Navy Pier is an attraction in its own right. Where it really shines, though, is as an events location. With such diverse spaces as the Festival Hall, a 170,000-capacity convention space, the Aon Grand Ballroom (built in 1916), the Lakeview Terrace, the Rooftop Terrace, and 36 total meeting rooms, the venue can take on just about anything — including the catering.
13. Office Evolution
Office Evolution is especially great for business conferences and trainings as well as expositions and competitions. The location is incredibly close to the airport, making it easy for even latecomers to find the building and get where they need to be. With multiple conference rooms and a larger meeting room — all equipped with LCD projectors and screens whiteboards, flip-chart easels, and ergonomic chairs — you’ll have everything you need for a successful meeting.
The University of Chicago isn’t just a hub for the world’s best and brightest, it’s also an event space that celebrates Chicago’s history and architecture. Offering housing for up to 3,600 guests and over 50 meeting and event rooms, the school is the perfect meeting space for large companies, youth groups, and more. Most events take place in Ida Noyes Hall, which features eight spaces with capacities that vary up to 475 attendees.
The Museum of Science and Industry combines education, science, and history with incredible event space. The museum is located right by Lake Michigan and was opened to the public in 1933. It has become the largest center of its kind in the Western hemisphere. The venue can handle an impressive 12,000 person maximum, but can cater to smaller groups and features on-site catering and décor. Who wouldn’t want to mingle beneath a 747, dine in a garden, or attend a wedding beneath a giant rotunda next to a classic train?
Whether it’s a cocktail party, wedding ceremony, reception, or corporate gathering, Morgan’s on Fulton has you covered. Boasting a 6,000 square foot rooftop, gorgeous gallery, and the Suite C indoor space, some of the amenities you can expect are a 1,500 sq. ft. penthouse with floor-to-ceiling windows, full interior & exterior bars, perimeter gardens, and private cabana areas — just to name a few.
17. Greenhouse Loft
Photo credit Greenhouse Loft Photography
Located in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, the beautiful Greenhouse Loft offers over 3,000 square feet of fully customizable event space boasting some of the most incredible natural light any building in the city has to offer. It’s drop-dead gorgeous, designed with an eye for photography, and, just as importantly, Chicago’s most sustainable wedding venue — so it should be no surprise that it’s also one of the most popular.
If you’re looking for an on-trend, unique Chicago event venue that still speaks to history, Revel Fulton Market fits the bill for your next event. Nestled in Chicago’s former meatpacking district, the urban-chic warehouse house features an easily-transformable large room with adjoining spaces in the city’s hottest neighborhood. With 30,000 square feet of event space in total, it’s ideal for weddings, galas, performances, and corporate events.
19. Offsite Chicago
A premier Chicago corporate venue in the West Loop, Offsite Chicago is an all-inclusive space with ample possibilities for brainstorm sessions and board meetings alike. The venue seats up to 100 total in an inspiring and creative space, radically simplifies the rental process, and gives you the option to choose between the Main Room and the Mezzanine.
20. Space 1858
With its chic, loft-style interior, Space 1858 is a beautiful space to hold an intimate gathering such as a baby shower, bridal shower, wedding reception, birthday party, or even an art show or company holiday party. The space can be rented for 6-8 hours, and includes a set of 17 tables, white folding chairs, use of the kitchen area and sound system, and dependable WiFi.
Home to over 30 artists, musicians, and DJs in the Style Matters and String Theory co-ops, Ovation transforms from a creative and collaborative workspace during the week into a blank canvas for anyone searching for a space to host their soirée. Amenities include DJ services, a custom photo booth, wood dining tables, a sound system, coat check, and much more.
22. Catalyst Ranch
Used as a creative meeting, wedding, or private event space, Catalyst Ranch creates unique event experiences through globally-inspired decor that’s both retro and modern all at once. This favorite of Off-Beat Bride has also won “Best Chicago Conference Venue” and “Best Venue for Small Meetings” thanks to its versatility and tireless special events teams. The all-inclusive pricing leaves no surprises while the creative flair makes it a “catalyst” for amazing gatherings.
23. Venue 1420
Venue 1420 understands that, “Life is about connection. Connections begin with experience!” Located on world-renowned Michigan Avenue, this unique Chicago event space can accommodate experiences from meetings and weddings to full-fledged fashion shows. The 2,200 square feet of space can hold up to 200 and offers up-front pricing so planners know what an event will cost before even submitting a request.
A repurposed factory, Moonlight Studios is 15,000+ square feet of industrial-chic space that transforms into one of the most elegant, lively event centers in Chicago. This space can be used to host social gatherings, corporate events, and weddings alike. The modern, neutral tones along with the lighting and dining tables make it a beautiful, blank canvas that’s just begging for gatherings.
25. Savage Smyth
With a jaw-dropping rooftop that accompanies an eclectic indoor space, Savage Smyth is colorful, curated, and nothing short of immaculate. Labeled “a unique space for innovators, entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations,” the space caters to experiences that stick with attendees long after the event is over. Check it out at your own risk: It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the floor-to-ceiling steel entry doors, breathtaking city backdrop, and bounty of other amazing features.
Is industrial the aesthetic that you’re looking for? Best described as an “industrial urban loft,” Ravenswood Event Center offers multiple event spaces ranging from $3,500 to $8,000 for the day depending on the date and room. Choose the atrium and loft event space for the kind of natural lighting and centuries-old brick that elevates weddings, or go for the showroom for a larger space with a completely different, but equally impressive, vibe that caters to out-of-the-box corporate.
The unmatched view of Lake Michigan pairs with some of the most important contemporary art of our time to create a unique Chicago event venue that could only be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The terrace, atrium, and sculpture garden call out to summer wedding receptions, baby and bridal showers, and engagement parties. The venue can accommodate up to 500 guests for seated dinners or a large reception of up to 900.
28. The Wit Hotel
Nestled in the heart of Chicago’s arts and shopping district lies incredible views, one-of-a-kind design, and catering for even the most discerning of tastebuds. Of the multitude of available event spaces, the 27th-floor rooftop lounge of the Wit Hotel especially stands out and is open year-round. How do they do it with Chicago’s brutal winter cold snaps? It’s all thanks to a modern design featuring a retractable roof.
29. Union Station
Looking for something on the larger end of our list of unique Chicago event venues? Union Station can hold up to 1,500 seated or 2,500 standing guests as they enjoy a collection of newly-renovated event spaces that house a piece of Chicago history. Choose from the Burlington Room, Pennsylvania Room, Adams Terrace, or the Founders Room based on the size and feel you want for your wedding, reception, or corporate gathering.
Now don’t get mad at us for including Guaranteed Rate Field — if Wrigley could be rented, we would have included it too! Home to the Chicago White Sox, this ballpark offers a choice of six event spaces that allow for anywhere from 5 to 5,000+ attendees. Executive Chef Troy Tornabeni will whip up a mouthwatering, personalized menu for any event to help you really knock it out of the park. (Sorry, couldn’t help ourselves.)
Wondering about a destination other than the Windy City? Check out our lists for other event cities known for amazing venues.
Planning the buffet, placing the mics, laying it all out — it’s not easy making the little details come to life. So in 2011, we set out to change the way events are designed by introducing better collaboration between planners and properties. Today, we’ve evolved that vision into an innovative platform offering the industry’s leading solutions for event sales, services, and group distribution. All to help the world create the best face-to-face events.