Chicago is not only one of the world’s greatest cities; it is also one of the best for hosting a corporate meeting. In 2013 Chicago was ranked #2 by Cvent for top convention destinations and it’s easy to see why. With venues large and small, hundreds of hotel and event spaces and a world class city to explore, Chicago has everything needed to make a corporate event a huge success for both organizers and attendees. Below are 5 of the highest rated event and corporate meeting venues in Chicago.
Merchandise Mart - Events + Spaces
Since its opening on May 5, 1930 Chicago’s Merchandise Mart has been the world’s largest commercial building. The building was developed by Marshall Field and Company, offering a space where retailers could sell their wares under one roof. In the 1940s and 1950s The Mart became the single largest producer of trade shows in the United States and it continues that tradition today. The Mart’s Events + Spaces is one of Chicago’s most versatile event spaces. With venue offerings from large to small, Events + Spaces can accommodate special events, trade shows, corporate meetings, fundraisers, product launches, fashion shows, and much more. The Mart itself offers floors of shopping and restaurant options for event goers and downtown Chicago is steps outside the front door. Offering aesthetic charm, flexibility for any size event, and a location in the heart of it all, Merchandise Mart may be the ideal corporate meeting venue in Chicago.
Largest group size (single space): 275 (580 standing)
Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park
Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is home to “the Bean”, The Chicago Art Institute, and the Gehry designed Pritzker Pavillion. The Pritzker Pavillion can accommodate corporate meetings and events, fundraisers, parties, and more. If you are hoping to wow your clients with the beauty of the Chicago skyline, The Pritzker Pavillion is the perfect place for your event. With spaces ranging from the Pritzker stage itself, the Rooftop Terrace, or the Beer Garden, there is a spectacular venue for any event. With capacity fit for 100 to 7,000 people, the sky's the limit. Visitors and attendees can explore Millennium Park, the nearby Art Institute, the downtown theatre district, shopping, and first rate restaurants. If you want to offer a truly special experience for your attendees, the Pritzker Pavillion at Millennium Park is the perfect venue, offering a true downtown Chicago experience.
Largest group size (non-lawn): 1,800
Looking to change up your office routine and inspire some creativity in the workplace? Catalyst Ranch is a smart place to hold your corporate meeting or event. Touting itself as Chicago’s “most creative meeting and event space,” the staff at Catalyst has created a space where you can achieve your ultimate “Well Balanced Meeting”. Offering spaces for training seminars, meetings, workshops, and retreats, the space is filled with vintage and ethnic furniture, rugs and art work. Catalyst offers a sense of fun and freedom, allowing attendees to get creative and think outside the box. Instead of feeling stuck in a board room all day, attendees will feel comfortable, relaxed and ready to work at Catalyst. Catalyst Ranch is located in Chicago’s exciting West Loop neighborhood. Attendees can explore the many cutting edge and award winning restaurants and vibrant nightlife when the work day is done.
Largest group size: 150
Congress Plaza Hotel
If the venue is utilized for local sports teams’ fan conventions, it has to be good, right? This hotel is easily accessible by the CTA and is just a walk from Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain and the lakefront. Its historic look has been updated with modern amenities to fit the needs of different events like corporate meetings. To impress important attendees, the hotel offers 4 ballrooms including the elegant Gold Room. In addition to the convention space, Congress Plaza comes with the same upscale amenities you’d expect at a hotel.
Largest group size: 2,000
Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport
Conveniently located at Chicago O’Hare airport with comfortable accommodations and having just completed a $3 million renovation, the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport has it all in one place. The hotel is connected directly to the airport via underground tunnels. Food and buffet areas are available, as well as a Grand Ballroom and banquet and meeting rooms suitable for catering. The hotel itself offers updated rooms, an indoor pool, fitness center, restaurant, cafe, and bar. The amenities offered and easy travel time to meetings mean that attendees can focus on their work, save time, and keep their trip simple and easy. For an event that offers convenience and all the necessities, the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport is a great choice.
Largest group size: 400
Bonus: Out-of-Box Venues for Fun Team Building
Chicago has plenty of unique options for meetings focused on fun or escapes from monotonous work life. Headquarters Beercade with classic arcade games in 2 locations, Lillstreet Loft with its creative artists’ space and Nitecap Coffee Bar are just 3 that come to mind.
For a spectacular corporate meeting or event, Chicago has much to offer. But don’t fear-- if the spots below are booked up for your event, there are hundreds of other great venues to choose from. Literally hundreds: there are almost 400 event venues in the city. No matter where you end up, organizers and attendees alike will be pleased with their Chicago event experience! Make sure your technology choices add to their experience.What are your favorite corporate meeting venues in Chicago? Share with us!