No matter the celebration, it’s always especially memorable when the event takes place at a unique venue. These Chicago and North Shore locations are hidden gems, perfect for your next wedding, anniversary party, shower, bar mitzvah or birthday bash.
Located in the Platinum LEED-certified Green Exchange building, Greenhouse Loft is Chicago’s most sustainable wedding venue. It was founded by two professional photographers, so you can imagine that this space has lots of natural light and many fantastic photo ops. Floor-to-ceiling windows, an 8,000-square-foot, fully-landscaped adjacent garden with reclaimed wood benches, and restored mid-century modern furniture are just a few of the highlights. Host a cocktail hour or ceremony outside and then continue the party indoors while dining on locally sourced, organic fare. 2545 W. Diversey Ave., Chicago
The Hilton’s Conrad Suite has hosted the world’s most famous rock stars and Hollywood’s elite and has been the backdrop for numerous films and TV shows. When Wilmette natives Amalia and Brian Schwartz wanted a special place for their intimate wedding ceremony and reception, they were instantly wowed by the grand salon with fireplace, library with pool table and bar, and jaw-dropping views of Lake Michigan. Rather than host a sit-down affair, the Schwartzes let guests sit among plush sofas and leather chairs during the ceremony. Once the party got started, guests enjoyed various stations and passed appetizers while a band played. Renovated in 2013, the space is modern and bright. The suite is a total of 5,000 square feet and occupies two floors. With three spectacular bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, the Chicago couple had ample space for their wedding party to get primped throughout the day and crash later that night. 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
If you dream of getting married among lofty trees in beautiful outdoor surroundings, then the Redfield Estate could be your dream come true. Because of the vast grounds, there are numerous areas where you can hold a ceremony or party. A recent wedding was held in the gazebo, while a reception followed on the lawn in front of the pavilion and fireplace. Indoors, the historic home features a great room with fireplace and loft, cathedral ceilings, chandeliers, a private bride’s room and a breathtaking two-story leaded glass window. 1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
Located on Goose Island in the industrial district, this 4,000-square-foot raw urban loft space can accommodate up to 250 guests for a seated dinner with a dance floor. A recent couple that were married here says, “It was like a hidden gem in an industrial part of the city. We walked up to what appeared to be a loading dock, but once we were inside the doors, we saw an incredible space with hundred-year-old floors and beams and high ceilings perfect for oversized chandeliers.” Additionally, Calihan Catering (who happens to own the space) handles the food and has been praised for their delicious cuisine. 1028 N. Hooker St., Chicago
Lovely is known in Chicago for their delicious sweets, but the bakery has also become recognized as a romantic and intimate event space in the city. Lovely can accommodate 65 guests comfortably and up to 100 for a standing-room cocktail reception. The outdoor patio is a popular setting to get married or have cocktails, then guests can return indoors for dinner. 1130 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
What better way to see Chicago’s breathtaking skyline than on a boat? Now, consider having your party on the water, and you’ve really upped the ante. Chicago’s First Lady is the official cruise line for Chicago’s Architectural Tours, but becomes transformed into an amazing venue for your special event. The professional staff goes above and beyond to make your celebration seamless. Chicago’s First Lady can hold up to 200 of your nearest and dearest, but there are other boat options for smaller parties.
This restored, historic barn transforms into a rustic and romantic venue in the middle of the great outdoors. Up to 160 guests can dine on the main floor or loft and there’s ample room for dancing. The ceremony can take place in the courtyard, while cocktails often take place in the barn’s silo. Because the space is such a blank canvas, you have the liberty of making the decor reflect your personal style. 1561 Jones Point Road, Grayslake,
For an ultra-glam affair, River North’s Kensington Gardens, an outdoor rooftop deck, offers panoramic views of the city. Lounge on multiple sofas among oversized lamps, illuminating tables and a chevron print floor. After cocktail hour, your guests will really feel like VIPs when they enter Parliament, a clubby venue reminiscent of a Miami hot-spot. Situated indoors and just beneath Kensington Gardens, the club can accommodate up to 400 guests. 812 N. Orleans, Chicago; 324 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
Romantic RM Champagne Salon is located in the West Loop, just steps off Randolph Street. This space has been called part speakeasy, part French bistro. Antique mirrors, tassels, frames and vintage Moroccan lamps adorn the walls of the candlelit venue. While the restaurant hosts weekend evening weddings, for a twist, consider a brunch wedding, which is also popular and less pricey than an evening affair. The restaurant can handle 70 guests seated and 125 for a standing reception. 116 N Green St., Chicago
Artango is a 2,000-square-foot South American restaurant and event space designed by local Argentine visual artist Sebastian Casanova. Exposed brick, a handmade bar, art-lined walls and delicious food are just a few of the draws at this modern and cozy Ravenswood venue. The outdoor patio can also be utilized for cocktails and appetizers during the warmer months. 4217 N. Ravenswood, Chicago
Boutique Bites Fine Catering brings fine dining to catered events and now they have established their own event space called Brique. Located in the Fulton Market District of the West Loop, the atmosphere at this restored, historic warehouse has been called “Napa Valley meets Nantucket.” Exposed brick walls, wood beams, and large windows make up the intimate surroundings that can hold up to 100 people for a seated affair. One of the best parts about renting this space is that you will be partnered with Boutique Bites, which has become known in Chicago for its exquisite presentation and outstanding food. 224 N. Ada St., Chicago