Jazzin at the Shedd

Outdoor meeting venues in Chicago

When in Chicago, meeting attendees don’t have to watch glorious summer months pass them by from a conference room window. They can experience them firsthand in Chicago’s fabulous outdoor event spaces. Plan your next event on an urban terrace, an awe-inspiring rooftop or a boat cruising the scenic Chicago River.

Adler Planetarium: North and Sundial Terraces

Two terraces provide unparalleled views of the Chicago skyline from Adler Planetarium — the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Telescopes on the terrace allow guests to zoom in on the city’s world-famous architecture while special solar telescopes give guests a safe glimpse at the sun. During the evenings, the serenely lit city sparkles across Lake Michigan. Submit an inquiry form. 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive

Chicago History Museum: Uihlein Plaza 

Give your guests an event that is distinctly Chicago at the Chicago History Museum, the city’s oldest cultural institution. Set among the gardens of Lincoln Park, Uihlein Plaza is both picturesque and elegant. The 15,000-square-foot plaza can be open or tented, and because it is accessible from the museum’s Chicago Room, your attendees can move seamlessly from outdoors to indoors. Submit an inquiry form. 1601 N. Clark St.

Hotel Lincoln: The J. Parker

Clayton Hauck for Choose Chicago / FCB

Hotel Lincoln features The J. Parker, dramatic rooftop bar/lounge/salumeria by Michelin-star chef Paul Virant and BOKA Restaurant Group, perched 12 stories high with sweeping, 360-degree views, ranging from the silver skyscrapers of downtown to the green treetops of Lincoln Park. Submit an inquiry form. 1816 N. Clark St. 

The Ivy Room: Courtyard Garden

Planning a cocktail reception? The Ivy Room‘s hidden Courtyard Garden offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of The Magnificent Mile, just two blocks away. The outdoor area allows your guests to sip cocktails amid lush, ivy-adorned walls, while the indoor space embodies a history of artistic elegance. Call or email for more information. 12 E. Ohio St. 

Shedd Aquarium: Lakefront Terrace

Jazzin at the shedd

If you’re planning an outdoor event that takes place May through October, consider hosting it at the Shedd Aquarium‘s Lakefront Terrace. It combines stunning views of the lakefront and skyline, with a gentle waterfall and wildflower garden. Plus, on Wednesdays (at 9:30 p.m.) and Saturdays (at 10:15 p.m.) through Labor Day, your guests will get to enjoy the sight of fireworks bursting over Navy Pier. See corporate events details or submit an inquiry form. 200 S. Lake Shore Drive

Nomi Kitchen: Nomi Garden (Park Hyatt Chicago)

Nomi Kitchen‘s secluded seventh-floor rooftop and indoor retreat is a summertime sanctuary for your casual event. A 30-foot natural teak wood bar with a black granite countertop sets the stage for a garden-chic vibe, while fresh local ingredients with herbs grown directly on the venue’s rooftop grace each plate. Business meetings booked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. include complimentary Wi-Fi, breakfast breaks, and A/V capabilities. Email nomi.chiph@hyatt.com for more information. 800 N. Michigan Ave. 

Anita Dee Yacht Charters

Anita Dee Yacht Charters has been providing cruises for more than 30 years. With that experience comes one-of-a-kind style and design — the Anita Dee I features dark wood trim and navy blue accents, plus an enclosed deck with formal seating for 20 and an observation deck to watch the sunset. The Anita Dee II features a second-floor deck with formal seating for 120, a salon deck with seating up to 60 and even an on-deck helicopter. Submit an inquiry form. 200 N. Breakwater Access

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Chicago First Lady Custom Content Hero Image

For events ranging from six to 300, Chicago’s First Lady features a fine fleet of yachts ready to set sail with your private party. The larger luxury vessels have open-air upper decks so your groups can gather under the sun or stars, while the smaller Lady Grebe preserves the vintage style with intimate exterior desk space on one level. Submit an inquiry form. 112 E. Wacker Dr.

Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises

Shoreline Sightseeing at Navy Pier

Founded in 1939, Shoreline Sightseeing is the city’s largest tour boat fleet. What began with one vessel offering tours and private charters has evolved into a fleet of 21 boats, including nine touring vessels and 12 water taxis. For private events, Shoreline has commissioned two beautiful boats: the Celebration (an open-air boat with a climate-controlled lower deck) and the Evening Star (a spacious vessel with a flexible floor plan). Submit an inquiry form. 600 E. Grand Ave. (Navy Pier)

Wendella Tours & Cruises

Wendella Cruises Chicago boat tour

In addition to their popular lake and river tours, Wendella also has accessible private charters for your special event, whether you’d like to plan anything from a corporate outing to a cocktail reception to a private architecture tour. Each vessel features a flexible floor plan to accommodate any event specifications. Submit an inquiry form. 400 N. Michigan Ave.

Free Spirit Yacht Cruises

With two luxuriously comfortable yachts — one for meetings and smaller parties, and one for larger groups — Free Spirit Yacht Cruises covers a wide range of needs from April through October. The larger vessel, the Free Spirit, cruises Lake Michigan and features everything from climate-controlled cabins to an on-board television. The smaller vessel, the Gypsy Spirit, cruises the Chicago River in addition to Lake Michigan, and features soft leather sofas, a salon, gallery and deck lounge area. Submit an inquiry form. Burnham Harbor, east of Soldier Field

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