Groups looking to be in the thick of things will want to choose meeting and event venues in Chicago River North. Formerly an industrial district of Chicago, River North is now a chic, cultural enclave that offers a wealth of art galleries, fantastic shopping, vibrant nightlife and proximity to downtown Chicago.
River North is located north of the Loop, west of Michigan Avenue and bounded by the Chicago River on its south and west sides. Among River North meeting venues is the world’s largest commercial building, the Chicago Merchandise Mart, which spans two city blocks and is 25 stories tall. The Merchandise Mart houses retail shops, showrooms and office space, as well as event spaces ranging from the 900-square-foot Club Room to the sprawling 12,850-square-foot North Lobby. On-site audio-visual and catering services are available, as well as stunning river views, modern furnishings and plenty of natural light (thanks to peaked glass ceilings).
Other River North event venues include the Museum of Contemporary Art, home to a 2,500-object collection (focusing on surrealism, minimalism and conceptual photography), which has indoor and outdoor meeting space for up to 1,200 guests. Meeting groups can tour and gather at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, once the opulent Gilded Age home of Chicago entrepreneur Samuel Mayo Nickerson. The museum celebrates 19th century architecture and design from its marble-clad entrance hall to its mosaics and stained glass windows.
Planners will discover Chicago’s greatest concentration of dining venues in River North, many featuring private dining rooms. The sleek, modern Vermilion serves contemporary Indian and Latin American fusion cuisine, while the warm, rustic Zocalo serves traditional Mexican paired with an extensive tequila menu. Guests dine upon Mediterranean and Californian fusion fare at Nana, while Prosecco specializes in upscale comfort food from all 20 regions of Italy. A trip to River North would not be complete without a meal at the Frontera Grill. Run by famed chef Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill serves delicious Mexican fare made with often organic and custom-grown ingredients.
Groups can also partake in River North’s Slice of Chicago pizza tour, which takes guests on a walking tour to sample three deep-dish pizzas – without the long lines – while learning about each restaurant’s history. Art lovers can take a free Saturday Gallery Tour, led by a gallery representative, to meet with River North art dealers and artists and learn about gallery exhibitions.
Find more by looking at the entire Chicago event venue directory.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
The Merchandise Mart - Chicago
222 Merchandise Mart PlazaChicago, IL
O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
Approximate taxi fare: $40 USD
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