With its bold architectural icons, lakefront setting, and gangster history, Chicago is one of the United States’ most storied cities. It’s not only a financial and technology hub, but it’s home to engaging museums, live music institutions, and gorgeous parklands.
If you’re looking to host a meeting in Chicago, there’s no shortage of inspiring spaces you can select from. Whether it’s a classic greystone home, a minimalist loft, or an independent library, Chicago’s meeting spaces are far from ordinary. The city also offers all the rental services and event planners you could wish for to help execute your meeting with ease. At the end of the workday, your colleagues can explore the city’s eclectic neighborhoods and cultural attractions or experience the electric atmosphere of a Chicago Cubs game.
Meeting Options in Chicago
Gone are the days of holding meetings in blank office spaces with tea and biscuits when you can rent an inspiring event space with all the bells and whistles. When looking for a meeting space in Chicago, it’s important to consider its facilities and the options it provides for bringing in the equipment, decor, and catering you need.
Need a caterer for your meeting or conference? You can find caterers and cuisine to suit all tastes in Chicago. Whether you’re after platters, a buffet, or an a la carte menu, the Windy City’s abundance of restaurants and eateries will get the job done.
Photographing your meeting or company team can help build your brand through your social media platforms or website. From candid, collaborative shots to head profiles, consider taking the opportunity to showcase your business during your meeting in Chicago.
- Equipment rental
Whether you need tables and chairs, sound and audio equipment, or state-of-the-art projection gear, you can find everything you need for your meeting in Chicago.
Want to spruce up your meeting space with artwork or plants? Event companies in Chicago can help secure everything you need to make your venue exactly as you envision it.
Chicago boasts the United States’ second-largest public transportation system, the CTA, which operates an extensive train and bus network. In addition, there is an abundance of taxis and ride-share services in the city that can get your team to their meeting on time.
Meeting Companies in Chicago
When it comes to organizing a meeting in Chicago, you can plan everything yourself or take advantage of one of the city’s experienced event management companies. They’ll do all the hard work of securing locations, vendors, and equipment, ensuring your meeting runs smoothly and is completely stress-free.
- Absolute Production Services
Serving both small businesses and large enterprises, Absolute Production Services has helped clients plan dream events for over two decades. They work tirelessly to find suitable solutions based on your budget and your preferred meeting space in Chicago, offering everything from initial concept to day-of execution services.
- Fierce Productions
Fierce plans meetings with a theatrical edge and creative events that your guests have never experienced before. Their coordination services start three months before the event, and they can also offer virtual planning services for team building and corporate events.
- Chicago Event Management
Established in 1996, Chicago Event Management comprises a team of professionals that are dedicated to connecting communities and creating unforgettable experiences. They’ve become a leading player in Chicago’s event production industry, with a particular focus on endurance sports.
Pros and Cons of Meeting Spaces in Chicago
While the advantages of hosting a meeting in Chicago outweigh the disadvantages for most, there are still a few aspects to consider.
- Diverse choice of meeting venues
Chicago’s diverse choice of meeting venues means you’ll have lots of options when finding a space to suit your needs. There are art-filled penthouses overlooking the city and historic speakeasies, all with the space requirements and facilities you need.
Chicago is relatively affordable when it comes to property prices, which means its meeting spaces generally cost less than some of the United States’ other major cities.
- Equipment rentals
If your meeting space in Chicago doesn’t come with the equipment you need, you can easily find rentals in the city. Whether it’s a projector, sound and audio gear, or just tables and chairs, Chicago’s equipment rental companies can assist.
- Transportation options
Getting to and from your meeting space in Chicago is easy thanks to the city’s efficient public transportation system of buses and trains. If you prefer a private option, there’s an abundance of taxis and ride-share services in the city, although you will have to compete with Chicago’s notorious traffic.
- Cultural and sporting attractions
One of the benefits of hosting a meeting or event in Chicago is its cultural and sporting attractions, offering your guests plenty of entertainment once the workday is finished. You can get lost in the city’s art galleries and interactive museums, see its famous baseball teams in action, or escape to its waterfront parks.
- Bad traffic
While Chicago’s public transportation network is efficient, its traffic is notorious, which doesn’t make it ideal for those who want to drive themselves to and from meetings.
- Challenging parking
Chicago’s parking is also notorious, particularly in the downtown area where it can be almost impossible to find a space.
Chicago’s reputation for crime is long-established, and, unfortunately, there is still a relatively high crime rate in the city today.
- Unfavorable weather
Nicknamed the “Windy City,” Chicago isn’t known for its favorable weather, which makes hosting meetings outdoors a challenge. You may have to compete with relentless winds in the spring, freezing cold temperatures in the winter, and hot and humid conditions in the summer.
- High taxes
If you’re coming from elsewhere in the United States, you might be surprised to learn that tax is charged on groceries and restaurant bills in Chicago.
Famous Locations in Chicago
- Millennium Park
Centered around the 110-ton Cloud Gate sculpture, this sprawling park is fringed by some of the city’s most famous landmarks. You can catch a show at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, escape to the beautiful Lurie Garden, or walk across the strikingly designed BP Pedestrian Bridge.
- The Navy Pier
Encompassing amusement-style attractions, waterfront restaurants, and 50 acres of gardens, the Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular entertainment destinations. You can watch classics being performed at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, get hands-on at the Chicago Children’s Museum, or watch an immersive film at the 3D Imax Theater.
- Willis Tower
Once the tallest office buildings in the world, the Willis Tower is a 110-story skyscraper that dominates Chicago’s city skyline. It features an observation area called the SkyDeck on its 103rd floor, complete with a spine-tingling glass-floored box known as “The Ledge.”