Want to make your next meeting or event one for the history books? Plan on holding it at one of Chicago’s landmark venues. Whether you want to go for the grandeur of a downtown cultural center or keep things more intimate in a historic house museum, you’ll find plenty of unique venue options that come with a side of Chicago history.
Chicago Cultural Center
Originally opened in 1897 as the first home of the Chicago Public Library, today this grand Classical Revival-style building houses the Chicago Cultural Center, home to free art exhibits, concerts, and more — year round. Dazzling details found here include the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome, colorful mosaics, and dramatic marble arches. The block-long building, located across the street from Millennium Park, can accommodate everything from small corporate meetings to large galas in spaces that include galleries, halls, and a theatre. Preston Bradley Hall is the crown jewel of the Chicago Cultural Center, capped by the spectacular dome and 25 Tiffany glass chandeliers, accommodating 700 people for a cocktail reception, 500 theater-style and 360 for a seated dinner.
Built in 1908 and located in the middle of charming Lincoln Park Zoo, the historic Café Brauer was designed by famed architect Dwight H. Perkins in the distinctive Prairie School style of architecture, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The dramatic second-floor Great Hall features a soaring skylit roof, Tiffany-inspired glass chandeliers, gorgeous stained glass windows, and outdoor loggias (stone balconies) overlooking a lagoon and the surrounding park. The Great Hall can accommodate up to 300 for a seated dinner; 400 reception-style.
This elegant museum that explores the art, architecture, and design of the Gilded Age is housed in the meticulously restored Nickerson Mansion. Known as the Marble Palace, the exquisite late-19th century mansion features a marble-clad entrance hall, magnificent carved wood interiors, and soaring ceilings. Located just steps from Michigan Avenue, the Driehaus Museum is ideal for cocktail parties and corporate dinners. Evening events have exclusive access to the entire museum, and professional guides are available to answer questions or take guests on brief tours. The Driehaus Museum can accommodate up to 125 people for an evening reception, 55 for a seated dinner in the historic ballroom, and 60 for a theater-style presentation.
Glessner House Museum
Located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, this National Historic Landmark was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson for wealthy industrialist John Glessner and his family, and was completed in 1887. Arrange for a customized private tour of this architectural gem to give your attendees a glimpse into Chicago’s past. The Glessner House Museum touts numerous spaces for private events: The Courtyard (200 cocktail/150 seated), The Coach House (125 cocktail/100 seated), The Dining Room (50 cocktail/40 seated), and The Conservatory (40 lecture/20 board room).
The French Renaissance-style The Murphy was built in 1926 as a memorial to honor the late Dr. John B. Murphy. The auditorium was used for years by the American College of Surgeons as a center for education until a 2006 restoration brought The Murphy back to its original elegance and it was opened to the public as an event venue. The ornate main space, topped with a domed ceiling, is surrounded by grand columns adorned with gold leaf detailing. The Murphy has hosted everything from corporate events to fashion shows, and can accommodate 210 people for a banquet, 300 for a reception, 164 in a classroom setup, and 520 theater-style.