Most popular venues in Chicago
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Most popular event spaces in Chicago
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Our guide to event space rental in Chicago
Chicago is the third largest city in the US, and it is characterized by its friendly people, unpredictable weather, and tons of cultural offerings. This is where gospel music and improv comedy were born and the first skyscraper was built. It is a city of sports, with five sports teams and their die-hard fans. And Chicago’s dining scene is the stuff of dreams, with a wild choice of restaurants offering every type of international cuisine you can think of. Whatever event you’re planning, the city has everything you need to make it happen.
Things you need to know about Chicago
Let’s start by outlining a few facts about the city that make it the ideal location for any event imaginable.
It’s known for its friendly vibe.
One of the most often mentioned advantages of the city is its friendliness. People who live in Chicago are generally open and ready to help. So, if you ever get lost on your way to the venue, you can always count on a friendly soul to provide you with directions.
It’s diverse and energetic.
If you’re into cosmopolitan vibes then you’ll like Chicago. In fact, it’s far more diverse than you may think. It’s where different cultures blend together, share their customs and contribute to the city’s cultural offerings. Speaking of which, there’s always something to do and discover in Chicago! Here you’ll find no shortage of museums, art galleries or theaters such as the well-known Chicago Theater, Steppenwolf Theater or Goodman Theater. The music scene is also to die for, with famous festivals such as Lollapalooza or the Chicago Blues Festival attracting thousands of music fans every year. If you’re a creative person looking for a space to work on your project, Chicago will make you feel right at home and provide countless sources of inspiration to get your ideas flowing.
It’s a heaven for foodies.
If you’ve ever heard anything about Chicago, you’ve probably heard about the three food staples: Chicago-style hot dogs, deep-dish pizza and Italian beef. While these are extremely popular classics, there’s far more to the city’s dining scene! Owing to its diverse population, Chicago is filled with multicultural restaurants serving cuisines from all around the globe, ranging from Michelin-starred places to casual eateries.
When it comes to beverages, Chicago is best known for its locally-brewed beers, consumed in dive bars, cozy restaurants or picture-perfect beer gardens. But there are plenty of other options too – from craft cocktails to world-class wine and anything in between! So, if you’re hosting a private dining event or looking for catering options, there’s definitely something to satisfy all palates and styles.
It’s full of green spaces and pretty architecture.
Lake Michigan is an integral part of the city life, with sandy beaches (such as North Avenue or Oak Street Beach) and fun activities to enjoy during summertime. But it’s not just about the lake! Wherever you are in Chicago, you don’t have to go far to find the next park. There are beautiful green spots all over the city, so if you’re longing for some nature breaks during your event or looking for a wedding venue near a park for a wedding photo shoot, this shouldn’t be hard to arrange. It’s also a plus if you want to organize an outdoor event (of course, bearing in mind the city’s unpredictable weather).
However, parks are not the only places to look if you’re after pretty views! The city’s pristine streets are home to some true architectural gems. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the city was redesigned by some of the most famous architects and visionaries, such as Frank Lloyd Wright or Louis Sullivan. The iconic skyline boasts the first skyscraper, as well as the tallest skyscraper in the US.
It has awesome public transport.
Another thing that makes Chicago really awesome is the fact that it’s one of the few cities in America that is very easy to navigate without a car. The city has a clear plan and is extremely walkable and bikeable – there’s even a well-functioning bike share system (Divvy Bikes) if you don’t have your own bike. And if wherever you’re going is too far to walk or bike to, Chicago is known for its cheap and reliable public transportation system that makes it easy to hop from one neighborhood to another.
Besides the “L,” the city is served by two airports: Midway International and O’Hare International (third busiest airport in the country!), and there are intercity and commuter trains arriving to and leaving from Union Station in the Near West Side neighborhood. All of this makes it easy not only to move around the city but also to get to Chicago from other destinations, which is very convenient if anyone’s coming to your event from a different city or country.
Which Chicago neighborhoods have the best event venues?
Each Chicago neighborhood has its own personality and vibe. If you’re looking for the perfect location for your event but you’re not sure where to start, have a look at our rundown of some of the most notable areas the city has to offer.
Located just outside of downtown Chicago, the neighborhoods on the North Side are buzzing and youthful. Although the area is dominated by residential architecture, there are plenty of attractions and things to do in this part of town! From lively sport bars and music venues to Michelin-starred restaurants, the North Side has everything you need.
- Lincoln Park – A picturesque neighborhood named after a large park located within its bounds, full of lush green areas, lakeside trails and amazing city views. There’s an abundance of acclaimed restaurants, some of which bear traces of the German and Irish heritage. If weather allows, it’s also easy to find outdoor patios for all sorts of gatherings and celebrations.
- Lakeview – This area is known for its relaxed atmosphere, postcard-worthy views and lively entertainment venues in places such as Wrigleyville and the Belmont Theater District. If you want to dance or have fun to some live music, Lakeview is your go-to neighborhood. The green fields by Lake Michigan are perfect for throwing a picnic.
- Gold Coast – This affluent neighborhood is a great choice if you’re looking for a little taste of luxury. The area’s tree-lined streets boast upscale restaurants, fancy hotels and historic mansions. Located close to Lake Michigan’s shoreline, Gold Coast offers amazing views and easy beach access.
- Lincoln Square – Proud of its German roots, this area is filled with places where you can taste an authentic schnitzel or Berliner and hang out in a cozy Biergarten. Lincoln Avenue is lined with traditional restaurants, cafes and brunch spots. It’s also home to the famous Old Town School of Folk Music.
- Old Town – Chicago is known as the birthplace of improv comedy, and Old Town is where you’ll find the fabled Second City, one of the most iconic comedy clubs in the world. Apart from that, Old Town is rich in history and filled with amazing dining spots.
- Uptown – This area comes alive with its multicultural cuisine, vivid music scene and historic architecture. It’s where you’ll find the Green Mill, a famous jazz club that took off during the Prohibition era and still lives up to its legacy. There’s also beautiful Montrose Beach, considered one of the best beaches in Chicago. And there’s no shortage of great bars and dining spots! If you’re in the mood for sushi or dim sum, check out the Asian restaurants that fill up Argyle Street.
- Rogers Park – This Chicago neighborhood falls a little bit under the radar, but it should be on yours if you’re into global cuisine and theater! You’ll hear multiple languages being spoken on the vibrant streets of Rogers Park, one of Chicago’s most diverse areas. This diversity is reflected in the neighborhood’s eclectic dining scene. Art lovers and creative souls will be at home in the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, with its plethora of art studios and galleries, live music venues and theaters.
- River North – If you’re looking for a hip and artsy vibe, River North is your go-to. This formerly industrial area is filled with converted warehouses that are now home to art galleries and studios. An art lover’s paradise by day, the neighborhood turns into party central when the sun goes down, with buzzing restaurants, nightclubs and cocktail bars.
The South Side is mostly known for its rich culture and amazing food. It’s home to colorful street art, vibrant jazz clubs, and the beautiful 31st Street Beach. For many decades, the area was the newcomers’ gateway to Chicago. Today, the multicultural influences can be traced to the South Side’s numerous fantastic restaurants with original cuisines.
- Hyde Park – This area is home to the University of Chicago campus and many cultural institutions, such as the Museum of Science and Industry. Midway Plaisance Park draws music fans from all over the city with the annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival. There are also many great independent restaurants.
- Bronzeville – Rich in history and culture, Bronzeville is known as the heart of Chicago’s African-American life. It was the home of such famous names as Gwendolyn Brooks, Louis Armstrong or Ida B. Wells. Blues, jazz and gospel music thrive in this area. Among the historic monuments and Victorian buildings, there’s a variety of art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants waiting to be discovered.
- Near South Side – Located close to the Loop and Lake Michigan, Near South Side is dominated by high rises and houses cultural institutions such as Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum. The Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears and the Huntington Bank Pavilion hosts big outdoor performances.
- South Shore – Choose this neighborhood for its beautiful lakefront area, magnificent city views and countless cultural offerings. Rainbow Beach Park is a gorgeous outdoor space, and the beach itself is one of the largest and most popular ones in Chicago. The South Shore Cultural Center is a noteworthy venue – located on the site of a former country club, it boasts a manicured garden, a theater and a world-class restaurant.
- Bridgeport – Home to the Chicago White Sox, Bridgeport is a mecca for baseball fans. But the area is also known for its flourishing art scene and fantastic dining spots, including traditional taverns and multicultural restaurants. The Bridgeport Art Center and Zhou B Art Center are the neighborhood’s hotspots for arts and culture.
- Beverly – Irish roots run deep in this Chicago neighborhood. If you want to enjoy a pint in an authentic Irish bar, you won’t find a better place! Western Avenue is home to the South Side Irish Parade, an annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The area also boasts a sprawling historic district with many architectural gems to marvel at. If you’re looking for an exhibition space, a theater or a music/dance studio, check out the Beverly Arts Center.
- South Loop – South Loop is a lively neighborhood, featuring famous jazz clubs, vibrant bars and eclectic restaurants. Prairie Avenue Historic District is full of old-world charm, while the industrial Motor Row District is a great destination for theater and international cuisine.
Chicago’s West Side is diverse and eclectic, and it’s full of culinary delights and artsy vibes. The area is home to important cultural institutions such as The University of Illinois at Chicago or the United Center. Those seeking some green spaces can enjoy two of the city’s largest parks: Douglas Park and Garfield Park.
- West Loop – Welcome to foodie heaven! As a former meat-packing district, West Loop is filled with converted warehouses that now boast some of Chicago’s trendiest restaurants. If you’re planning a dining event, check out Randolph Street a.k.a. Restaurant Row, which has everything: from high-end restaurants with sophisticated menus to casual eateries. Other noteworthy places include the Fulton Market and Greektown.
- Wicker Park – If you’re looking for artsy vibes, this is where the cool crowd hangs. This buzzing neighborhood is home to vintage stores, art galleries and hip coffee shops. If you want to discover the area’s top eateries, head to Milwaukee Avenue, the center of all activity.
- Bucktown – Right next to Wicker Park, Bucktown boasts a similar vibe. Yet, it’s a little bit more peaceful compared to its neighbor. The neighborhood is easily accessible via the Kennedy Expressway and offers great public transport connections. And, of course, there’s an abundance of trendy bars, cafes and restaurants to explore!
- Logan Square – Another bustling neighborhood with a unique energy. It’s where artists, musicians and other creatives flock to work on their next project or get inspired. One of the locals’ favorites, Logan Theater, is a vintage movie house with an intimate bar and lounge. The area’s thriving dining scene features fusion restaurants, Michelin-starred eateries, pizza places, and so much more.
- West Town – This part of town is buzzing with art. The area is packed with cool street art, galleries, and museums. Much of its creative energy and cultural heritage is owed to the international community that found its home in West Town. The neighborhood is also known for its great live music venues, such as The Empty Bottle, and fabulous restaurants centered around Chicago Avenue.
- Pilsen – If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife, culinary experiences and art, Pilsen is your place. Alive with colorful street art, this neighborhood is home to a lively arts community. It boasts legendary music venues, such as Thalia Hall, and a huge array of Latino-inspired restaurants.
- Avondale – Easy-going Avondale boasts an industrial vibe and is especially popular with a young crowd. Historic buildings line its streets, the long-standing Prop Thtr is a locals’ favorite for literature-based shows, and there’s a variety of cool restaurants to discover around the area.
- Albany Park – Arguably one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country, with influences from all over the world. And with such a diversity comes a plethora of cultural and culinary experiences, which makes Albany Park one of the top locations for multicultural eats and great art.
Last but definitely not least, let’s say a few words about Chicago’s buzzing downtown area. The Loop constitutes the city’s beating heart and is home to the majority of top attractions, such as Millennium Park’s iconic Cloud Gate sculpture (or “The Bean”), the Chicago Riverwalk filled with waterfront restaurants, and plenty of cultural institutions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center or the renowned theaters of the Theater District. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is where important music events take place, including the Chicago Blues Festival, and the spacious Grant Park hosts the legendary Lollapalooza every year.
This eclectic area boasts a plethora of multicultural restaurants, vibrant bars and nightlife spots. So, whether you want to host a formal dinner party, enjoy some live music or dance the night away, you’re bound to find a space that suits your needs.
The high-rise buildings in the central business area are home to numerous major companies and corporations. It’s one of the best places to look if you need to book a meeting room or a venue for a corporate event, be it a conference, training session or product launch.
Want to dig even deeper? Have a look at these frequently asked questions:
How much does it cost to rent an event space in Chicago?
On average, prices for renting an event venue in Chicago typically range between $1200 and $4000 per day. Of course, the costs will differ depending on the size of the event, its precise location and extra facilities required. Small event spaces tend to charge around $400 to $1000 per day. Large-scale events usually require a minimum budget of $6500, but can go over $12000 per day for an entire venue buyout.
What are the most important things to consider before booking an event space in Chicago?
- Budget – The first step is to figure out your budget. Once you do that, use Tagvenue’s filters to browse Chicago venues that fall within your price range.
- Number of guests – This information will help you choose the venue with the perfect capacity and avoid overspending on a space that’s too big.
- Location – Which Chicago neighborhood are you interested in? Are you looking for a specific type of vibe? Remember to pick a location that will be convenient for your guests – consider its accessibility, the availability of parking spaces and the proximity to public transport hubs.
- Facilities – Make a list of all necessary facilities and equipment to ensure your event runs smoothly, e.g. a kitchen, AV equipment, WiFi, etc.
- Food and drinks – Last but not least, take care of the catering. Do you prefer on-site catering or would you rather bring your own food and beverages? Remember to always check in with your venue manager to learn about their policy and avoid surprises!
Can I host an event by the water in Chicago?
Lake Michigan is one of the city’s vital features. Chicago neighborhoods located along its shore boast a plethora of event venues, some of which even offer lake views. Popular areas with lake access include Lincoln Park, Near North Side and Hyde Park, among others. If you’re planning an outdoor event, the lakeside also boasts stunning parks, beaches and open fields with sweeping city views. But, let’s not forget about the river! If you’re looking for a restaurant with water views, definitely check out the ones located along the famous Chicago Riverwalk.
What types of event venues can I find in Chicago?
Chicago is known as an exciting destination for foodies, which is particularly apparent in the city’s multicultural areas such as West Loop or Albany Park. Expect to find a plethora of dining spots all over the city, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants, perfect for formal dining events, to cozy and laid-back eateries, where you can grab a bite and have a laugh with your friends. There’s a wide array of trendy coffee shops, dive bars and neighborhood watering holes in places such as The Loop or Logan Square. Music fans will enjoy the city’s jazz clubs and live music venues, while party-goers will be amazed at the broad offer of nightclubs and late-night bars. If you’re a creative soul, you’ll be pleased to discover Chicago’s cultural offerings, including old warehouses transformed into art studios and exhibition spaces (check out River North and West Loop!). And if you’re in the city to do business, the central business area’s high rises offer no shortage of meeting spaces and corporate event venues.
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