With a distinctive array of options, ranging from the acclaimed Art Institute of Chicago to the National Museum of Mexican Art in the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood, there’s no shortage of interesting Chicago museum spaces. Whether you need to buy out an entire museum for a spectacular special event or want to rent an extraordinary gallery that will wow attendees, you’re sure to find it in Chicago.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a striking modern Chicago venue with works by some of the world’s most important contemporary artists as a stunning backdrop. Flexible event spaces include the majestic Kovler Atrium, which features panoramic views of the skyline and is just steps from the MCA galleries (book a private tour for your attendees). In the Terrace Garden, guests can stroll the outdoor sculpture garden during a cocktail reception (for 900) or be seated for dinner under a tent (300-500). The 300-seat Edlis Neeson Theater is ideal for annual meetings and awards ceremonies. 220 E. Chicago Ave.
Art Institute of Chicago
The world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago is known for its breathtaking Old Master and modern artworks, as well as a priceless collection of French Impressionist pieces. Galleries, gardens, and auditoriums are available for use by groups as large as 4,000+ or as intimate as 75 people. Plan a cocktail reception in the historic Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room followed by a private gallery viewing, or an elegant dinner in the amazing Modern Wing. Bon Appétit is the exclusive on-site caterer for the Art Institute. 111 S. Michigan Ave.
This planetarium dedicated to the study of space science offers out-of-this world options for Chicago meetings and events. The spectacular Solarium features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Michigan. Book the Solarium (370 seated dinner/475 cocktail reception) and attendees will have access to the adjacent outdoor terraces with Chicago skyline views. The Grainger Sky Theater is perfect for presentations (195 theater seating), and features a dramatic 36-foot-tall domed ceiling. Provide hands-on learning experiences for attendees with science activities led by a museum educator or arrange for a thrilling private sky show. 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Imagine candlelit tables surrounding a colorful glass-enclosed Caribbean coral reef, or cocktails served among blue pools holding white-sided dolphins and ivory beluga whales. The Shedd Aquarium provides a magical setting for extraordinary corporate events and galas for up to 1,200 people. The grand Main Foyer is a soaring space featuring Greek architecture that is perfect for dinners and dancing. The Abbott Oceanarium and Rice Foundation Amphitheater has seating for 1,000, and is a great place to hold a welcome presentation with the help of the Shedd’s resident marine mammals. Seasonal outdoor terraces with views of the glittering Chicago skyline are perfect for cocktail receptions. 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Founded in 1893 as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago’s venerable Field Museum is dedicated to the study of natural history. Hold a reception for 9,500 among the stately marble columns of Stanley Field Hall with Sue, the world’s largest T. rex, as the centerpiece. Rental of the hall includes access for attendees to the Field’s renowned exhibits, including the fabulous Grainger Hall of Gems. Meeting spaces can accommodate groups from 10 – 700, including the elegant James Simpson Theatre and the unique Rice Hall, featuring a beautiful mural of the Serengeti plains. 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago History Museum
Hold a history-making meeting or event at this Chicago museum venue that tells the fascinating story of the city. Plan a daytime meeting in the Chicago Room (up to 400 seated), where backlit cases display stained glass panels designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Comfort Tiffany. The 299-seat McCormick Theater is ideal for training sessions or film screenings, and includes access to exhibitions in the Wrigley Gallery. The two-level North & Clark Café has floor-to-ceiling windows with lovely views of the Children’s Fountain and Lincoln Park, and can accommodate 60 – 80 guests for a plated meal or up to 120 for a cocktail-style reception. 1601 N. Clark St.
Museum of Science and Industry
As the largest science museum in the Western hemisphere, the Museum of Science and Industry offers an amazing array of interesting spaces. For large-scale events the entire museum can be bought out, with a capacity for 12,000 guests. Or simply reserve the awe-inspiring Rotunda in the heart of the museum (1,200 seated/5,500 reception), featuring a 120-foot copper-domed ceiling and a real 727 plane suspended in the air. Treat your attendees to a private film screening in the five-story, wraparound Omnimax Theater (300 seated), which comes with rental of the Henry Crown Space Center (150 seated/300 reception). 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
National Museum of Mexican Art
Located in Chicago’s lively Pilsen neighborhood, the National Museum of Mexican Art welcomes corporate meetings and events. The light-filled Courtyard is ideal for a reception or registration area. It leads into the flexible West Wing, which features a hardwood stage for performances, lectures or presentations (220 theater-style). Just steps away are the colorful exhibition galleries, which can be opened for evening events. 1852 W. 19th St.
American Writers Museum
This museum on Michigan Avenue is the first in the nation to celebrate American writers past and present.
Plan an opulent event at this palatial mansion built during America’s Gilded Age that features fine and decorative arts of the period.
Smart Museum of Art
Located on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park, the Smart Museum features an outdoor sculpture garden and private viewings of its galleries.
Museum of Broadcast Communications
Rent the penthouse ballroom (with a terrace boasting sweeping city views) at this Chicago museum dedicated to the historic preservation of radio and television.
Pritzker Military Museum & Library
Set directly on Michigan Avenue near Millennium Park, this important war museum and library offers three floors of elegant settings and breathtaking views of the park.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Book the entire museum to allow your attendees to stroll throughout this Lincoln Park nature museum that’s nestled between Lake Michigan and a tranquil pond.
Chicago Sports Museum
Attendees will feel like champions while surrounded by Chicago’s best collection of sports memorabilia and interactive experience.