2017 has brought some of Chicago's most exciting updates yet. Besides being must-see points of interest, they also offer great Chicago meetings and events venues you’ll want to check out.

The Chicago Riverwalk is complete after its newest phase, which includes the Riverbank, opened last fall. Now extending all the way from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street, this 1.25-mile pedestrian walkway along the Chicago River offers dining, outdoor activities, sightseeing cruises, a museum and amazing water views. Meeting and event planners will particularly be interested in offerings such as the fun Island Party Boat, which can be privately chartered; City Winery Chicago, with its craft wines and beautiful outdoor patio; and the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise Aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, one of the city’s most popular architecture cruises that is also available to private groups.

Chicago Riverwalk

The hotly anticipated American Writers Museum is set to open its doors on May 16 on the Chicago Cultural Mile. The first museum of its kind in the United States, the American Writers Museum will celebrate writers (past and present) who have influenced our history, culture and even daily lives, from Mark Twain to Dr. Seuss. The high-tech museum’s multiple galleries will feature interactive exhibits and rotating exhibitions that delve into the minds and works of some of the world’s greatest writers. Readers Hall is a unique event space that will host talks, author readings and signings, workshops and other special events. 

American Writers Museum

Scheduled to open this summer, the newly renovated Theater on the Lake offers a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan in Lincoln Park. Formerly a summer-only theater venue, historic Theater on the Lake will now be a year-round multiuse facility. The revamped building will include a 330-seat main theater, two event spaces with access to a lakefront terrace, and a new restaurant with a patio offering panoramic skyline views. 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.

Marisol restaurant will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in June as part of an extensive $16 million redesign. Run by Jason Hammel, chef/owner of Chicago’s popular Lula Cafe in Logan Square (one of the city’s first farm-to-table eateries), the street-level restaurant will feature a private dining room and large-scale artwork by renowned British painter Chris Ofili. The museum’s redesign will result in 12,000 square feet of new public gathering spaces and a state-of-the-art education wing with expansive Lake Michigan views.

MCA Chicago building redesign rendering

Scheduled to open this spring, The Park at Wrigley Field is an outdoor plaza planned to host fun events such as farmers markets, live music shows, movie nights and a winter ice skating rink. Restaurants, retail shops and an office building will anchor The Park. Historic Wrigley Field, home base for the Chicago Cubs World Series Champions, will also host 10 summertime concerts this year. Book a private VIP tour for a look behind the scenes of this venerable century-old ballpark or rent out Wrigley Field for a corporate event. The 175-room Hotel Zachary is planned to open across the street from Wrigley Field in early 2018.

Park at Wrigley

The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, an exciting new year-round theater venue, opens in fall at Navy Pier. The unique crescent-shaped theater design is made up of mobile towers (comparable in size to a city bus turned on its end) that can be configured into a variety of shapes and sizes, accommodating audiences ranging from 150-850 people. The Yard joins Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s other two venues: a 500-seat, courtyard-style theater and the 200-seat Theater Upstairs. Plan a private party or champagne reception prior to the show in one of Chicago Shakespeare’s lobbies or in the English-style Pub.


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