Chicago was founded in 1833 when a small group of settlers moved from Fort Dearborn to settle at the mouth of the Chicago River. The city quickly grew, and by 1870, it was one of the most populous cities in America. Chicago has been nicknamed “The Windy City” not because of excessive breezes, but because of long-winded politicians that used to frequent the city's many historic public speaking platforms. This nickname has become an integral part of Chicago's identity since then!
For those looking for something a bit more unusual than the typical festivals, Chicago has plenty to offer. You can visit the International Museum of Surgical Science, where you can learn about Eastern and Western medicine, or you can test your courage at the Medieval Torture Museum, an interactive museum containing a private collection of different torture devices.
It goes without saying that Chicago is home to unique venues. If you’re looking to host an event in an unconventional space, the Windy City doesn't disappoint. From a riverfront speakeasy to an abandoned silo turned into a loft space, there are plenty of places to explore off the beaten path. No matter what type of unusual event venue you may be looking for during your time in Windy City, you'll certainly discover it here!
Unusual Event Options in Chicago
Professional musicians have a diverse range of genres that are capable of playing, from jazz to classical, to rock and pop. Guests can choose from a selection of their own favorite songs or request something special for their occasion. They usually come equipped with their own instrument, sound systems, and lighting equipment, so no matter what size or location the event is taking place in, the music will always be spot on.
Whether it’s in natural light or using flashes and gels during an indoor setting, no detail goes unnoticed by a professional photographer. The photographer takes time beforehand to understand your brief so they know exactly what you’re searching for when they arrive at your event. Plus each professional is trained with absolute precision without any unnecessary hassle or technical jargon thrown into the mix—making it easy for everyone involved so that everything runs smoothly on the day itself!
- Caricature Artists
A caricature artist can be a fun and unique addition to any event. Such an artist is unparalleled in their genre, captivating viewers with their remarkable detail-oriented style. All caricatures are drawn by hand, giving guests added character which simply isn’t achievable through digital artwork alone! These experts ensure that no two drawings look alike so each guest receives an original piece designed with utmost precision and finesse.
Unusual Event Vendors in Chicago
- Carlo Basile Spanish Guitar
Founded in 1998, the Chicago-based musical ensemble led by Carlo Basile—a masterful guitarist with over two decades of experience—has been thrilling audiences with its virtuosic performances for more than two decades. Specializing in Spanish guitar music, the group has showcased their passion and expertise to captivate listeners of all ages at countless events like festivals, theaters, concert series, schools, and private parties. The band's skill and performance have won them accolades from multiple newspapers which have described them as "brilliant" and “passionate.”
- Caricatures Chicago By Ellen
Ellen Lustig takes great joy in creating lifelike caricatures for her clients. She has experience with both traditional and digital media, offering a range of options to select from based on the event. For conventional occasions such as parties or gatherings, guests can take home a photograph with their caricature. And for virtual events, clients will receive a printed version as well as a copy of the digital file which can be shared online with friends and family. These caricatures are thoughtful and unique ideas for group gifts, retirement festivities, or birthday celebrations.
- Foto Quetzal
For more than 40 years, Foto Quetzal has provided Chicago with top-notch professional photography and video production services. Led by an experienced team of editors, this acclaimed service specializes in capturing and preserving any moment for its clients. They are the go-to experts for premier editing services in the town, as well as documenting corporate events, wedding photography, and even sweet 16s. From the highest level of image quality to the most meticulous attention to detail, the business makes sure that every memory is portrayed just how it was intended—flawlessly!
Pros and Cons of Unusual Event Venues in Chicago
There are many things to consider when choosing a venue for an event, and each person's needs will vary. However, there are some pros and cons that you should be aware of if you’re opting for unusual venues in Chicago:
- Unusual venues allow for a unique and memorable experience for attendees. They often provide a delightful atmosphere that cannot be experienced in traditional banquet halls or event spaces.
- Some venues may offer exclusive discounts or packages that could be beneficial to an individual or business.
- Unusual venues can be fun to explore and add more excitement to the gathering. They may have unique features that add value to the event itself.
- If one searches for “unusual” too broadly, they may end up getting a venue that does not meet their expectations or interests.
- Some unusual venues may not have all the amenities needed to make guests comfortable.
- It can be expensive to rent an unusual venue, especially if it contains unique features that cannot be found elsewhere.
Tips on How to Organize Unusual Events in Chicago
When you're planning an event, the venue is one of the most important considerations. It can be a challenge to find a venue that's both unique and practical, but with a little creativity, it's definitely possible. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Secure venue: As there are numerous unique spots available, be sure to visit them in person and get a sense of the space before making any decisions. Once you’ve finally decided on one, book it as soon as possible, or it may end up being booked by someone else!
- Promote the event: Utilize various marketing strategies such as creating a cool website, using social media platforms, local networking events, and traditional forms of advertisement like flyers and posters to attract guests.
- Invite guests: Send out invitations with clear details about what they can expect from your event and use personal connections to spread the word about your special occasion. Additionally, consider using an RSVP system so you can keep track of how many guests will be attending your event.
- Hire unique entertainment: Incorporate unconventional entertainment forms into your event. Aside from a DJ or a live band, you can try hiring circus performers, dancers, caricaturists, murder mystery actors, or magicians.
- Prepare for unforeseen events: Despite all of your planning efforts, it is always possible that something unexpected may happen at an event. It is wise to have a fallback for food, entertainment, and other activities should anything go wrong during the night.
Famous Locations in Chicago
- Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is a must-see for any baseball fan. Built in 1914, this historic ballpark has been the site of some of the sport's most unforgettable moments. Now, baseball fans can go behind the scenes of the spot with exclusive tours. Led by knowledgeable guides, they offer a unique opportunity to learn about the stadium's rich history and see firsthand what goes into operating one of America's most beloved ballparks.
- Oz Park
Step into the Merry Old Land of Oz in one of Chicago's unique parks, a tribute to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum. His most famous work was written while he lived in Chicago. The most notable features of the park are the huge amusing statues of the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, Dorothy, and Toto that stand near its edge. Other allusions to The Wizard of Oz can be found throughout the park, including "Dorothy's Playground" and serene Emerald City gardens. On summer evenings, Oz Park is one of several Chicago parks that offer free outdoor movies. You may enjoy a picnic supper and watch a classic film under the stars. For a list of upcoming films, go to the park district's website.
- Morton Arboretum
Spanning 1,700 acres, the Morton Arboretum is a beautiful place to visit all year round. In the spring, the flowers are in bloom and the trees are starting to leaf out. Fall is the best time of year to explore all of its nature trails. Plus it is a beautiful time to see the leaves changing color. There are also a wide variety of events, tours, and classes for all ages and interests.