With the Chicago Cubs making it to the World Series for the first time since 1945, we thought it was only appropriate to give the Windy City some love. From historic brick lofts to bars chock-full of shuffleboard tables, there’s just something about Chicago that feels so authentically American, making it a perfect spot for Venuelusting. So grab your best cold-weather gear and get ready for a tour of everyone’s favorite midwestern city. Today we’re breaking down our top 20 Chicago event venues.
1. Morgan Manufacturing
We start our roundup of showstopping Chicago event venues today with a stop at Morgan Manufacturing, a venue both stunning and storied. With over 32,000 square feet of wide-open space to work with, we love Morgan Manufacturing for everything from wedding receptions to large-scale corporate events. Plus, because it’s truly a full-service venue, Morgan Manufacturing can help hosts with everything from creative direction to technological needs, making hosting an event in this spectacular space an absolute breeze.
With exposed brick walls and a massive skylight that runs nearly the entire length of the ceiling, Morgan Manufacturing offers a setting that feels both industrial and warm—and one that photographers love to shoot amongst. Among its three main event spaces are: The 4,500-square-foot Plant (300 standing guests; 100 seated); the 3,600-square-foot Mezzanine Level (200 standing guests; 100 seated); and the 10,500-square-foot Production Area (700 standing guests; 550 seated with a dance floor).
2. Gallery 1028
Next up, we head to Gallery 1028, a stunning space located on Chicago’s iconic Goose Island. While Goose Island was once home to birds and vagabonds alone, it’s now a bustling island—and this potent mixture of old and new is exactly what Gallery 1029 encompasses. Its aesthetic manages to feel both storied and contemporary, and we can’t get enough of this striking balance.
With 6,500 square feet of customizable space to work with, renting Gallery 1028 includes the use of its two custom reclaimed wood bars, its four highboy tables in matching wood, and its gorgeous eight-foot-long wooden farm table. It also offers hosts a slew of 10-person tables, matching fruitwood chairs, and an antique white credenza all available for use. We love that, while these items are included in the rental, hosts can choose to have them moved off-property if they’d rather bring in their own items. Our favorite part of parties at Gallery 1028, though? The celebration can go on until 2 a.m.—so your guests can drink, dance, and celebrate into the wee hours of the morning.
3. The Ivy Room at Tree Studios
With a private courtyard dripping in lush, green ivy, and an interior ballroom boasting stunning hardwood floors and a classically romantic aesthetic, few Chicago event venues are as elegant as the Ivy Room. Originally built as a living-working space for some of Chicago’s most prominent artists, Tree Studios are now used for a number of purposes. The famous spot’s most well-known venue, though? The iconic Ivy Room—a space used for everything from unforgettable wedding ceremonies to celebratory birthday dinners.
We’re especially in love with the timeless aesthetic the interior ballroom boasts—glistening hardwood floors make for a space guests can’t take their eyes off, while multiple sets of french doors blanket the venue in warm natural light. Located within walking distance from the Magnificent Mile and other famous Chicago landmarks, the Ivy Room can accommodate up to 200 seated guests or up to 300 standing. We love the idea of hosting an intimate wedding ceremony in the lush courtyard and then moving guests inside for a night chock-full of celebration.
4. The Drawing Room
Part of the restored Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, the Drawing Room is one of those venues you won’t be able to take your eyes off of. Deep saturated hues, carved wooden design details, and oversized furnishings in rich leather come together to create an aesthetic that falls somewhere between worldly-library and dark-den—and we absolutely can’t get enough of it.
Acting as both a reception and lobby area for the hotel, the Drawing Room features a number of areas that can be booked for a semi-private soirée, including the space’s library (above) and its grand fireplace. With space for up to 100, we love the idea of hosting a celebratory winter birthday dinner or magical holiday get-together in this warm Chicago space.
5. Bridgeport Art Center’s Skyline Loft
Number 5 on our list of show-stopping Chicago event venues brings us to Bridgeport Art Center’s Skyline Loft. Aptly named for the striking view of Chicago’s skyline that it offers guests, we love this venue for true city-goers and Windy-City lovers alike. With exposed brick walls, 15-foot wood-beam ceilings, and solid hardwood flooring with stunning inlays, there’s just something about the Skyline Loft that feels oh-so Chicago.
With 18,000 square feet of customizable space to work with, the Skyline loft can accommodate anywhere from 100-900 guests for cocktail-style soirées, and anywhere from 100-600 guests for seated affairs. We love the idea of hosting a city-chic wedding reception here or renting the space for an ethereal corporate holiday party.
6. Greenhouse Loft
Located in the heart of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, Greenhouse Loft is a sustainable space full of bright, natural light. With a focus on all things green, Greenhouse loft is committed to reducing the waste and overall carbon emissions from every single event it hosts—making it the perfect wedding venue for eco-conscious couples everywhere.
With 3,600 square feet of space to work with, floor-to-ceiling windows, a kitchen, a bridal suite, and a photo booth portrait studio, we love the idea of renting out Greenhouse Loft for sustainable weddings, birthday parties, and even corporate celebrations. For a seated soirée, the space can accommodate up to 200 guests and, for a standing affair or cocktail-style celebration, it can accommodate up to 250 guests. Our favorite part of this show-stopping venue, though? Designed by two photographers, the space was crafted with a photographer's eye in mind—its stunning natural lighting and thoughtful design details ensure your wedding photos are gallery wall and Instagram worthy.
7. Salvage One
A 60,000-square-foot vintage warehouse, few Chicago event venues feel as storied as the stunning Salvage One. With massive windows, exposed brick, and hardwood floors, we love the industrial aesthetic this striking space offers. Our favorite part, though? Salvage One also offers its hosts tons of quirky, unique, and playful furnishings to help dress up affairs of all kinds.
Salvage one offers five main event spaces to choose from: The Courtyard and Outdoor Ceremony Space is an ivy-clad area that can accommodate 200-250 guests; its Indoor Cocktail and Ceremony Space (above) boasts wooden church pews and stunning crystal chandeliers, and can accommodate up to 175 seated guests or 250 standing; the classic Reception Space boasts exposed brick and hardwood floors, and can accommodate up to 250 seated guests with a dance floor; its Three-Room Suite featuring vintage-glam design details works well as a VIP space and can accommodate up to 60 guests; and its Third-Floor Meeting Space offers a perfect space for corporate meetings or intimate get-togethers, and can accommodate up to 30 seated guests or 50 standing.
8. Chicago Symphony Center
With a stunning space that can accommodate everything from grand wedding celebrations to intimate cocktail parties, Number 8 on our roundup brings us to the Chicago Symphony Center. One of the Windy City’s most iconic settings, the Symphony Center offers hosts an aesthetic as elegant as it is timeless. With seven main event spaces to choose from, we love the fact that event options at the Symphony Center are both seemingly endless and completely customizable.
Among venue options are the 8th-Floor Club, the center’s smallest event space, with room for up to 70 guests for a seated soirée, or 120 for a standing affair; and the Grainger Ballroom (above), one of the center’s most popular wedding reception sites, which can accommodate anywhere from 210 seated guests to 100 guests for a cocktail-style reception. Or, for Venuelusters looking to host up to 2,000 lucky guests, the entire center can be rented out for everything from private concerts to large-scale fundraisers.
9. Little Goat Diner
Next up, we head to a charming Chicago diner that’s stealing hearts all over the Windy City. Little Goat Diner boasts an aesthetic that’s as down-home and farmhouse as they come—making it the perfect spot for everything from bridal brunches to birthday celebrations. Little Goat’s private dining options range from beer-pairings to farm-to-table dinners, and each tastes as amazing as the next.
With a space designed to feel (and taste) like the simplicity of home, we love the warm, welcoming vibes this diner and bakery offers its guests. We’re especially swooning over Little Goat’s rooftop space (above) which can be rented out for private affairs of all kinds.
10. Room 1520
Located in the heart of Chicago’s artistic West Loop neighborhood, Room 1520 is a chic space that offers its hosts tons of room for personalization. A restored gear factory, the venue boasts storied details—like polished cement floors, high loft ceilings, exposed brick, and portrait windows.
Self-described as a “raw urban space,” we love the big-city vibe this chic, yet historic, space boasts. With 4,000 square feet of stark-white wide-open space, hosts can work with the existing aesthetic to create a streamlined, minimalistic event or can dress up this blank slate space to execute any number of extravagant event visions—making Room 1520 one of the most customizable venues on today’s roundup.
11. Loft on Lake
Number 11 on our list today brings us to Chicago’s Loft on Lake. A space boasting open wood-beam ceilings, stunning chandeliers, and mood-setting perimeter lighting, we love Loft on Lake for wedding ceremonies and receptions alike. Its warm, yet historic, aesthetic makes for a space that feels both timeless and utterly romantic. Plus, with exposed-brick walls and a stunning arched ceiling (complete with a massive skylight you won’t be able to take your eyes off), Loft on Lake requires little, if any, dressing up. A full-service venue that offers everything from catering to photography, Loft on Lake can accommodate anywhere from 150-175 guests for a seated soirée or up to 200 for a cocktail-style reception.
12. The Rec Room
If there’s a venue more quirky-cool than Chicago’s Rec Room, we have yet to find it. Part retro dance club, part psychedelic 70’s house party, the Rec Room offers guests a jukebox that plays songs for free, a fridge full of canned beer and free fried chicken and ice-cream, and a vibe that you’d otherwise have to hop in a time machine to find.
This crazy-cool space offers semi-private lounges available Friday and Saturday for parties of 9-15. Or, to dance and drink the night away with up to 100 of your closest (and grooviest) friends and family, the entire space is available for rent any day of the week. We love the idea of renting a lounge for a small bachelor party, or owning the entire space for an offbeat wedding reception or unforgettably nostalgic birthday party.
13. The Game Room
From the Rec Room, we head to the Game Room, a space that, with everything from billiards tables to shuffleboard to a full-sized bocce-ball court, definitely lives up to its name. Located on the second floor of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel (and owned by Land & Sea Dept., the same group that owns the Drawing Room, Number 4 on today’s list), the Game Room features a menu chock-full of tasty bar snacks (think fried pickle pops and chicken wings), classic cocktails, and a wide range of beer.
Available for parties up to 250, hosts can choose to rent semi-private areas for smaller soirées, or, for groups of 150 or more, can rent the entire space for a night chock-full of drinking, cheering (for the Cubs, of course), and good ol’ fashioned competition.
14. Stan Mansion
Number 14 on our list of Chicago event venues brings us to the Stan Mansion, a space with a story that will leave any history buff weak in the knees. Originally built in 1921 to house the Illinois chapter of the Knights Templar (yes, the Knights Templar), this grand mansion remained a Masonic temple until undergoing a complete renovation in 2014. Now a fully functional events venue, the Stan Mansion sits pretty in Chicago’s Logan Square—one of the city’s oldest and truest neighborhoods.
The Stan Mansion offers hosts three main event spaces to choose from: its Bar/Lounge is perfect for intimate affairs, and boasts a fireplace and a library-like aesthetic; The Grand Ballroom is one of the mansion’s most popular wedding spaces, and can accommodate up to 300 guests for a seated meal, or 450 for a cocktail-style soirée; and The Lower-Level Ballroom (above) can accommodate 250 seated guests, or 325 standing for cocktails.
No roundup of Chicago event venues would be complete without at least one classic Italian restaurant (or, should we say ristorante?) on the list. Number 15, then, brings us to Salvatore’s—one of the city’s most iconic (and most beloved) wedding venues. Nestled in the streets of Lincoln Park, this stunning space boasts dark mahogany walls, stunning chandeliers, and charming French windows—creating an aesthetic that feels rich, warm, and absolutely welcoming. With a wedding menu that will leave your guests weak in the knees, Salvatore’s is the perfect spot for the couple looking to say I Do amongst classic refinement and delectable plates.
16. Crystal Gardens
Next up, we head to Chicago’s Crystal Gardens, an unbelievable indoor botanical garden sprawling across one oh-so-lush acre. Boasting a 50-foot arched ceiling, over 80 palm trees, and charming market lights, this six-story glass atrium makes for a setting nothing short of ethereal for everything from stunning wedding receptions to striking holiday celebrations. With space for anywhere from 100-1,500 guests (and a plethora of menu options to choose from), The Crystal Gardens sits pretty on Chicago’s Navy Pier—a spot that holds the title of being the Windy City’s Number 1 Tourist Destination.
17. City Winery
Located in Chicago’s West Loop, City Winery is a perfect venue for the cultured Venueluster looking to host anything from a casual birthday celebration to a relaxed engagement party. We also love this venue for the contemporary art loving couple who wants to say I Do amongst a welcoming vibe, a warm aesthetic, and, of course, Chicago’s best wine. We especially love the winery’s focus on combining a culinary-arts experience with intimate concerts—making this a space rich in arts of all forms. From fine-dining options to food-and-wine courses, City Winery is known to host an eclectic crowd chock-full of both artsy foodies and laid-back city-goers alike. With six main event spaces to choose from (including a barrel room and an outdoor patio) and space for up to 100 guests, event options at City Winery are endless.
18. Thompson Chicago
Next up, we head to Thompson Chicago, a boutique downtown Chi-Town hotel with an aesthetic that falls somewhere between urban-industrial and mid-century-modern. Home to the Chicago 7 Ballroom—a space complete with floor-to-ceiling windows that boast stunning views of the surrounding storied Gold Coast neighborhood—weddings at the Thompson feel both big-city-chic and fairytale-like at once. In addition to the Thompson's iconic Chicago 7 Ballroom, the hotel's fourth floor boasts the Froines Room, a striking space that can accommodate up to 60 guests for an intimate affair.
19. Cherry Circle Room
Number 19 on our list brings us to yet another space owned by the renowned Land and Sea Dept. (the same group responsible for Chicago’s Drawing Room, Number 4 on our list, and the Game Room, Number 13 on our list). The Cherry Circle Room is tucked away on the second floor of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and features a coveted menu that boasts updated and creative takes on classic old-school Chicago plates. With rich woods, tufted booths, den-like lighting, and a bar that calls for just one more martini, the Cherry Circle Room offers Venuelusters an aesthetic that’s nothing short of swanky. We love the idea of renting a semi-private dining space for a small celebratory soirée or, for occasions that call for a much larger crew in tow, we recommend renting out the entire space for everything from surprise birthday parties to classic holiday parties.
20. The Field Museum
A space for history buffs and lovers of the sciences alike, Chicago's Field Museum caps off our roundup today at Number 20. With event packages that can accommodate anywhere from 50-15,000 guests, private event options at the Field Museum are utterly endless. We love the idea of saying I Do under the eye of age-old elephants and dinosaurs, or hosting a corporate holiday party amongst century-old artifacts and eye-catching exhibitions. Our favorite part of this one-of-a-kind venue, though? With a commitment to all things green, you can rest easy knowing your event is executed with an eco-conscious mind.
Have any Chicago event venues we missed? Share them with us in the comments section below. We'd love to hear your Windy City must-sees.