With a diverse population of more than 2.7 million, Chicago is the largest city in the Midwest and the third-largest city in the United States behind New York City and Los Angeles. The city has long been a pipeline for both people and products due to its location on the shores of Lake Michigan, shipping goods and travelers from the East Coast to the Mississippi River.
Chicago satisfies a wide variety of interests, from cultural visitors looking to view its many museums, to professional sports fans and shopping enthusiasts. The Lincoln Park Zoo, established in 1866, is the fourth oldest zoological park in the country. Foodies and craft brew lovers will not be disappointed, either – Insider Magazine has named Chicago the best food city in the United States, not alone for its signature deep-dish pizza.
Chicago is the perfect destination for a corporate meeting venue for many reasons. It’s located in the middle of the country, is a short drive from one of the country’s busiest international airports, and has a wealth of activities for visitors and locals alike. Finding a corporate meeting venue in Chicago is easy, as there are many options for conference centers, hotel meeting rooms, country club event spaces, private venues and more.
Corporate Meeting Options in Chicago
With the wide variety of corporate meeting venues in Chicago, you’re likely going to be able to find everything you need for a successful event. Many venues will offer in-house services in addition to the facility rental, such as catering or audiovisual equipment, but if that’s not the case, there are many local service providers who can assist you.
- Equipment Rental
Corporate meetings are prime opportunities for networking and collaboration among colleagues via team-building exercises, break-out sessions and other hands-on activities. To help you facilitate these activities, there are many vendors who can provide presentation equipment such as screens and projectors, audiovisual equipment, stage lighting and effects, or furniture as needed.
A long day of meetings often calls for strategic food breaks While you can reconvene after an off-site lunch break, offering a meal onsite is an option. Chicago has many restaurants and catering services offering up everything from boxed lunches to pizza to gourmet plated meals. Most special dietary needs can be accommodated, and if you’re planning to provide dinner after the workday is over, many companies also supply beverage services and staff.
- Printing Services
An all-employee meeting or corporate get-together often requires a lot of paperwork in the form of agendas, itineraries, registration packets or exit surveys. Chicago has numerous printing companies able to provide bulk printing jobs and mailing services, and some can also accommodate large-format needs such as banners and signage.
Corporate Meeting Companies in Chicago
Depending on the size of your organization, planning and executing a successful corporate meeting can be time-consuming and logistically challenging. Let one of Chicago’s professional meeting and event planners handle the small details so you can focus on presenting important information to your employees or colleagues.
- Meetings and Events International
MEI is an established meeting and event planning agency specializing in the healthcare industry. Going beyond simple annual meetings or networking gatherings, MEI can facilitate training meetings, advisory or consulting pane meetings, association meetings and more. The company also provides speaker management services on many topics and has a variety of online integrated tools for use before, during and after the meeting.
- Revel Global Events
Established in 2007, Revel Global Events brings more than a decade of experience to event planning in the Chicagoland area. The firm is dedicated to providing a successful, efficient, and, most importantly, fun experience for organizations through the conference and meeting planning team. Revel offers full-service event management, from site selection to vendor coordination, audiovisual services and webcasting, day-of-event management, or simple consulting services if you just need a little help filling in gaps.
- Total Event Resources
The planning team at Total Event Resources has planned more than 3,300 events over 25 years and excels in producing quality corporate meeting experiences for organizations of every size. Services range from a smooth and efficiently-executed meeting to an elaborately-scaled production complete with memorable audiovisual effects and stage lighting. Not only do they provide full-service planning and consulting, but can also supply data about your event afterward as well as assist you in analyzing it.
Pros and Cons of Corporate Meetings in Chicago
Chicago and its numerous suburbs are excellently positioned for corporate meetings of all types and sizes. There are some advantages and disadvantages, however, that you should be aware of before making a final decision.
- Great food
Chicago has signature deep-dish pizza, authentic ethnic foods in almost every variety and over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants.
- Professional sports
Chicago is home to the Bears (NFL), Bulls (NBA), Cubs and White Sox (MLB), which make exciting outings before or after meetings.
Chicago has all the upscale, high-fashion brands you’d expect from a city nearly as large as Los Angeles, as well as quirky boutiques.
- Winter weather
Chicago winters can be brutally cold and often snowy, thanks to the Lake Effect from Lake Michigan.
- Chicago is expensive
Although considerably less expensive than New York and Los Angeles, Chicago is still about 20% more costly on average than the rest of the country.
Some areas of the city are considered unsafe due to gang activity and gun violence, but it is fairly limited to specific neighborhoods.
Famous Locations in Chicago
- Art Institute of Chicago
Established in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago emerged as a point of hope for the city rebuilding after the devastating fire of 1871. The museum remains one of the top-ranked art museums in the world. It’s home to the largest collections of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris and contains works spanning thousands of years of human history in the form of sculptures, paintings, metalwork and photography, among others.
- Cloud Gate
A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a photo opportunity in front of what has become affectionately known as “The Bean.” The sculpture, which was unveiled in 2004, was inspired by liquid mercury – its shiny, stainless steel surface reflects everything from the Chicago skyline to the visitors walking around and underneath it. The gateway to Millennium Park, the sculpture is 33 feet long, 42 feet wide and 66 feet long and weighs about 110 tons.
- Magnificent Mile
Located on North Michigan Avenue in the heart of the city, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is the penultimate shopping experience in Chicago. The Mile offers shopping opportunities at more than 450 stores, including major department stores, flagship retailers and exclusive boutiques. You’ll also find world-class dining options, upscale lodging and a variety of theaters, museums and other attractions.