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5 Stunning Waterfront Venues

Take advantage of one of Chicago's best assets—its beautiful Lake Michigan waterfront—to make your next meeting or event a guaranteed splash.

Take your attendees away from the usual boardroom or ballroom and out onto Chicago’s fabulous waterfront. Whether you’re planning a corporate meeting or a fun, beachy cocktail party, you’ll find breathtaking lakeside venues that put Chicago’s beautiful blue Lake Michigan and the scenic Chicago River front and center.

NAVY PIER

Navy Pier Rooftop Terrace

This iconic Chicago landmark dramatically juts out into Lake Michigan, providing dazzling water and skyline views. Navy Pier offers two exhibit halls and 36 meeting rooms. But the real stunners are the nostalgic 18,000-sq.-ft. Aon Grand Ballroom, which is original to Navy Pier’s 1916 construction and features an 80-foot-tall domed ceiling (accommodating up to 1,100 for dinner, with additional seating for 300 in the balcony); and the seasonal Rooftop Terrace, a 27,000-sq.-ft. space equipped with a 50-by-100-ft. tent that can accommodate 350 for a sit-down dinner or 1,000 guests on the entire terrace. The seasonal space provides a front-row seat for Navy Pier’s spectacular summertime fireworks.

SHORE CLUB 

©Shore Club

The seasonal Shore Club (open May-October) is located right on popular North Avenue Beach. The luxe resort-inspired lakefront dining destination features the casual open-air Patio, the upscale Restaurant (with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting sweeping Lake Michigan views) and The Oasis, outfitted with beachfront cabanas for lounging. The Shore Club welcomes private events (for 20-1,200) and offers in-house catering, along with a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system.

THE LAKEFRONT RESTAURANT/THEATER ON THE LAKE

The Lakefront Restaurant at Theater on the Lake

Acclaimed Chicago chef Cleetus Friedman helms The Lakefront Restaurant, part of the newly revamped Theater on the Lake. The 125-seat farm-centric restaurant can host private dinners, and features the seasonal 80-seat Skyline Patio with breathtaking Lake Michigan and skyline views. The year-round Theater on the Lake includes a 330-seat main theater (productions will begin in summer 2018), along with a flexible event space that can accommodate up to 1,500 guests. The building dates back to 1920, and was designed by Prairie School architect Dwight H. Perkins, who also designed Lincoln Park Zoo’s Café Brauer and the nearby North Pond restaurant.

CASTAWAYS

Castaways Cabana

Take advantage of Chicago’s beautiful lakefront and plan a beach party! Located on North Avenue Beach in an ocean liner-inspired boathouse, Castaways is the perfect summertime venue, combining Lake Michigan surf and sand with great people watching from a rooftop perch. Private parties are available for groups of 50 to 500, and can only be held on weekdays. There is no rental fee, just a food and beverage minimum. Menu themes include Back Yard BBQ and Taste of Chicago, offering Windy City-style pizza and hot dogs.

CITY WINERY CHICAGO RIVERWALK

City Winery

Plan a reception for up to 200 guests in the breezy wine garden of City Winery Chicago Riverwalk. You’ll have semi-private use of the outdoor City Winery Riverwalk space, located along the Chicago River waterfront. Enjoy unlimited offerings of four City Winery wines, such as the house Riverwalk White or Rosé, and two craft beers throughout the event (spirits can be added for an additional charge), with dedicated staff. The basic Mediterranean menu choice of seasonal crostini can be upgraded to include mini sandwiches that are perfect for a summer party. 

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