Famous for its iconic buildings and skyscrapers, Chicago is one of the largest and most populous cities in the United States. It’s known for its diverse change in climate - with hot summers and cold and snowy winters - and its many iconic attractions, including the famous sculpture, "The Bean," and other famous buildings like the Tribune Tower and the Willis Tower. Chicago is also well-known for its local food offerings. The “Chicago-style” pizza is one of the must-try dishes in the city, as are it's "Chicago-style" hotdogs. And, if that's not enough, you’ll find hundreds of bars, clubs, and other attractions to choose from, many of which offer fantastic live music.
While you may not expect a city to be the best choice for an outdoor event, you’ll be blown away by the selection of venues and space Chicago has to offer. In fact, visitors head to Chicago to enjoy the mild weather, open spaces, and active community of things to see and do, year round.
- Fun Fact:
A Chicago-style hot dog, or "Chicago Red Hot," as it's traditionally called, is an all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun, often topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt.
Outdoor Event Options in Chicago
Chicago offers everything you could need to host a spectacular outdoor event, with plenty of local vendors and services to help to ensure your event goes off without a hitch.
Your guests will have no issues arriving at your event location, even if it’s located outside the city center. Taxi companies and Lyft are easy to find throughout the city, so you won’t have to worry about your guests arriving late to your outdoor event venue.
Chicago has some of the best catering options for outdoor events in the country. Whether you opt for a buffet spread or an a la carte dinner, you’ll find some unique offerings to add to any menu. For a more casual affair, consider adding Chicago-style hot-dogs or Chicago Italian beef sandwiches to the menu.
If you’ve made an effort to create a unique outdoor venue space in Chicago, you’ll want to capture the event with a local photographer. Consider adding an arrival photo stop as your guests enter the venue, or just opt for candid shots as the evening progresses.
- Equipment Hire
When hosting an outdoor event, you’ll often need to provide chairs and tables. Equipment hire companies are abundant in Chicago, so you won’t struggle to find somewhere to accommodate your party size. If you are having live music or entertainment at your outdoor event venue, you’ll also find plenty of options for audio and video equipment rental.
Just because you are hosting an outdoor event, it doesn’t mean you should scrimp on decorations. Chicago has some fantastic party and event stores, who can decorate your event space with balloons, banners, and table settings.
Event Planning Companies in Chicago
- On The Scene
Based in Chicago since 1969, On The Scene offers award-winning events throughout the city. As a full-service event management company that prides itself of excellence, their team of professionals will work with you to understand and address to your company’s needs. Hire them to transform you Chicago venue into a space that will wow your guests.
- Urban Allure Events
This fabulous Chicago-based event planning team will take care of everything before you arrive at your outdoor event in Chicago. Whether you are planning an intimate party or a large gathering, they’ll tailor their services to fit your requirements, and offer packages with your budget in mind.
- Star Events Chicago
With over twenty-five years’ experience hosting events in the city, you’ll be in good hands with Star Events Chicago. If you are planning a large event with music, food, and a huge guest list, they are among your best option when it comes to planning a large Chicago event.
Pros and Cons of Having an Outdoor Event in Chicago
The catering in Chicago will elevate your outdoor event and offer something new and exciting that your guests will remember for years to come.
- Live Music Offerings
If you are hosting an outdoor event, consider hiring one of Chicago’s talented musicians to entertain your guests.
The city’s transportation links are excellent, and it’s easy to fly into Chicago from most major cities in the country.
- Venue Choice
For a big city, you’ll be impressed with the outdoor event venue options in Chicago. In comparison to other cities you may be considering, you’ll find the city offers venues for any size of event.
- Hotels for All Budgets
Your guests will easily find a hotel or apartment in the city to fit their needs and budget.
- Cold Winter Months
The weather in Chicago during the winter months will make it near impossible to host an outdoor event during this time.
If you are hosting an event during a game day or when another big event is happening in the city, you may find Chicago to be noisy and crowded during this time.
The traffic can be horrendous in the city during events and rush hours, so ensure your guests leave plenty of time to arrive at the venue.
- Expensive Vendors
Chicago is known for its high cost of living, and this is reflected in the cost of vendors in the city.
- Costly Venue Rental
Outdoor event venue locations can be extremely costly in Chicago. When you add on all the additional vendors you will require, the cost of your event soon mounts up.
Famous Locations in Chicago
Check out these famous Chicago locations to take some great pre-event photos, or to mingle with your guests after the event.
- Millennium Park
Millennium Park is the ideal spot for your guests to base themselves near, with plenty of accommodation options in the area. During the summer months, visitors love the outdoor concerts here. Of course, no visit to the city is complete without seeing the Bean, which is better known as Cloud Gate. This huge sculpture is the ideal backdrop for family or corporate photos.
- The Museum of Science and Industry
This is one of the most inspiring museums in the city and is great for kids and teens. It was the first museum to use hands-on features in the US, and it offers an ever changing rotation of exciting exhibits.
- Willis Tower Skydeck
View this incredible city from up above by heading to the Skydeck in the Willis Tower. If you are lucky enough to visit on a clear day, you’ll enjoy seeing views that stretch over four states. The SkyDeck is located on the 103rd floor, and its best-known feature is the Ledge, with its glass floor overlooking the city down below.