Chicago is the Midwest’s biggest city, not to mention that it’s only third on the list of the largest cities in the United States overall. There’s a huge amount of activity going on in Chi-Town at all times, and it’s home to the country’s best architecture, arts, and culture. That’s why it comes as no surprise that there are numerous fabulous, intriguing venues of all kinds to be found in Chicago. And, if you’re planning a wedding, many of these spaces would accommodate an absolutely beautiful and memorable ceremony and/or reception. Check out nine of the most impressive unconventional wedding venues in Chicago, embodying a wide array of budgets, sizes, and aesthetic preferences.
1. A luxurious art gallery in the Magnificent Mile
If you’re a lover of arts and culture, as well as luxurious surroundings, this is a fantastic option for your wedding venue. TripAdvisor called Chicago’s 13-block Magnificent Mile, where this gallery is located, “one of the top 10 hospitality, dining and retail destinations in the world” with over “460 stores, 275 restaurants, [and] 60 hotels.” Within the space’s 4,000 square feet, as many as 150 guests can enjoy the venue’s polished yet industrial-chic vibe.
2. A stunning and classic venue in Lakeview
Chicago Theater Works is a warm, intimate yet spacious location that’s earned more than 50 glowing five-star reviews on Peerspace. Reviewers say it’s “classy,” “soooo beautiful,” and “worth every penny.” It even won the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award for 2019. It can accommodate as many as 200+ people for a stand-up reception and 180 for a sit-down dinner. They have an in-house caterer available, as well as all the A/V equipment you’re likely to need. At this spot, you’ll be set!
3. A scientific museum housed within a historic Lakeside mansion
This breathtaking mansion/museum is by far one of the most unconventional wedding venues in Chicago. It’s one of the city’s few remaining lakefront mansions and is an official city landmark. It’s ideal for a small- to medium-sized wedding, with a capacity of 100 guests. Renters will have access to all four floors of the museum, packed with stunning art and design, as well as fascinating scientific marvels. The historic atmosphere will make your wedding incredibly memorable.
4. A mysterious 1930s mansion with an open-air event space
This mansion is located in Lockport, 30 miles southwest of Chicago itself — your Chicago-based guests will appreciate the opportunity to get out of the city for a while and take in the more laid-back atmosphere of the town. The 15,000-square-foot mansion itself was built in the 1930s, and it’s reportedly haunted! The spooky decor adds to the overall vibe of the location. Then there’s the expansive, 5,000-square-foot open-air studio and event space. Surrounding both these structures is many acres of natural beauty, including cliffside views and a faux cemetery. With this venue, you’ll be able to invite as many as 200 guests to your ceremony and reception.
5. A historic brick and timber industrial loft with breathtaking skyline views
The Hive on Hubbard was built in 1872, making it one of the city’s oldest commercial structures. Far from its history as a furniture factory, it’s now a massive 4,000-square-foot loft space with abundant sunlight and amazing views of the city skyline. Many weddings have taken place here, and renters are universally impressed with the quality of this distinctive and historic venue.
6. A funky, wide open loft space on Chicago’s North Side
This is another loft space, but with a different vibe. The owners of this loft call it “SoHo in Chicago,” which captures the offbeat, creative feel of this venue. The decor is fun and unexpected, and as many as 150 guests will comfortably enjoy this 5,000-square-foot of space and its 14-foot ceilings. As one happy reviewer put it, it’s “open and airy, while still being cozy and intimate” with “insanely imaginative decor that can be quickly rearranged to meet your needs and vision.” You won’t be disappointed!
7. An airy, romantic, and modern loft space
It’s our third loft on this list, but this also has its own unique feel. The space is more polished and overtly romantic, less industrial than the others. The massive white pillars stretching to the soaring ceilings are especially eye-catching, as are the majestic chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows. This is one of the most impressive, unconventional wedding venues in Chicago, and it’s suited to big weddings with as many as 300 guests.
8. A colorful, one-of-a-kind downtown venue
This place boasts a fun, eye-popping aesthetic, as well as an absolutely outstanding view of the skyline. Either one of these features on their own would make it a standout among unconventional wedding venues in Chicago. If you enjoy a quirky aesthetic, we think it’s the perfect location for quite a small, intimate wedding — it can accommodate a total of about 30 people standing and seated.
9. A rooftop event space with a prairie garden terrace
This 1,500-square-foot venue features a terrace with a lush prairie garden, backed by expansive views of the city skyline. As many as 60 seated guests can enjoy the indoor and outdoor space, with its walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and chic modern decor. This space makes a wonderful, tasteful canvas for whatever style wedding you decide to run with.
You’re lucky to be planning your wedding in the fabulously inspiring city of Chicago. As we’ve demonstrated with this list, Chicago offers far more than just the standard, generic spaces often marketed as “wedding venues” — if you think outside the box, you’ll be absolutely amazed what you’ll discover.