Whether you’re planning a wedding with a guestlist from around the country or throwing a Chicago fundraiser with primarily local guests, hosting a party at a Chicago tourist hotspot can be incredibly appealing. Not only is the venue itself interesting and conversation-worthy, but your guests get a chance to explore a destination that was already on their must-see list. It’s a win-win. Here are some of our favorite local spots where you can throw a memorable bash.
Want to party with Sue? (Who doesn’t, right?) The always-awesome Field Museum has party spaces for any size event: Stanley Field Hall (Sue’s home, with room for up to 7,000 people, cocktail style); the gorgeous outdoor Terraces (with space for up to 1,000 people) or even Rice Hall (surrounded by the world-famous Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo)—these are just a few of the incredible options for your event.
Celebrate cosmically in one of the city’s most revered institutions. To host anywhere between 325 to 1,200 guests, try Adler’s Skyline Solarium, featuring breathtaking panoramic views of the city. And for a smaller event, check out Adler’s Clark Family Welcome Gallery, where you can project a custom logo on the space’s interior. For a unique dinner experience, dine under the virtual stars within Grainger Sky Theater’s domed walls. Meanwhile, the prismatic Rainbow Lobby and the Samuel C. Johnson family star theater are perfect for lectures and presentations, while Adler’s terraces are ideal for getting swept up in planetary romance. Custom catering by Food for Thought is available, and don’t forget to include a telescope viewing.
With a coral reef as your backdrop, and dolphins and whales gliding by, your next event could be an aquatic affair to remember. With the potential to host your next party in the Caribbean Reef Rotunda, or to have a “beach wedding” on a re-creation of the Pacific Northwestern Coastline, the Shedd’s diverse array of internal venues will wow your guests. An in-house catering team can feed your guests a seasonal, local, sustainably raised meal, and a Shedd bar package includes all wine, liquor and beer. Throw in a stingray touch experience to bring your party home in style.
ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
Artistically inclined? Host your next event in the presence of Picasso and Van Gogh. No matter your style, the Art Institute has a space for you: old-world glamour in the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading room, clean lines in the Modern Wing—the Art Institute can even host a private viewing of its collections to make your experience more memorable. Bon Appetit catering is onsite to suit to your vision.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
Calling all history geeks! As the only remaining structure from 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Museum of Science and Industry could be perfect for your next event. With engaging exhibits and thousands of diverse artifacts available, MSI event guests can stand inside a 40-foot tornado or chill beneath a historic aircraft. With multiple spaces available, an in-house culinary team and esteemed décor, lighting, stage design and floral partners, its—shall we say—industrious crew has you covered.
One of the largest and most diverse venues in Chicago, Navy Pier is equipped to host conferences, festivals, weddings and concerts in its 170,000-square-foot exhibition space or in its 44,000 square feet of meeting spaces. If you’re looking to throw a slightly more intimate gathering, the Grand Ballroom has domed ceilings and panoramic view—or Navy Pier can set the scene on its tented rooftop with access to the skyline and Navy Pier’s own firework show. Event coordination and catering available.
Offering one of the best views in the city, if not the world, the 95th-floor Signature Room boasts contemporary art-deco styled private dining rooms with breathtaking views of the city spanning as far as Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Windows extend from floor to ceiling and the colors of the rooms are decorated in rich jewel tones. The private dining rooms are the perfect venues for social or corporate functions, providing tasteful cocktail reception, dinner and meeting atmospheres. You can also rent the entire floor for a reception with up to 500 guests.
The Chicago Room of the Chicago History Museum boasts Georgian-style architecture and breathtaking views, and provides a classic setting for any event. Entering through the Sanger P. Robinson Gallery, the space features east-facing windows overlooking Uihlein Plaza and Lincoln Park. The interior walls contain back-lit cases displaying exquisite stained glass panels. The perfect place for a historic wedding, the Chicago History Museum also features beautiful cocktail spaces and an outdoor plaza with a spectacular view of Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.
Whether you are planning a business meeting, a corporate dinner or a wedding, your event will be magnificent at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Located conveniently just north of downtown Chicago, the Museum is nestled between Lake Michigan and tranquil North Pond. Enjoy the best of both worlds with a lush, natural prairie surrounding the Museum and stunning city skyline views. The unique venue—complete with window-wrapped event spaces, multiple terraces, a green roof and the internationally renowned Judy Istock Butterfly Haven—offers spaces that are incomparable in Chicago.