Top 10 Convention Centers in Chicago

Top 10 Convention Centers in Chicago [Updated for 2024]

Beyond McCormick Place, Chicago’s convention centers reign as some of the world’s best and most impactful convention centers.

Chicago is nestled along the southwestern shores of the vast Lake Michigan; this Midwest city has long been celebrated for its architectural grandeur and cultural uniqueness. 

Chicago has coined itself the hub of the Midwest, where innovation, culture, art, sports, and world-class food collide into one city on the lake. 

Its renowned convention centers are at the heart of its bustling urban landscape, standing as modern-day coliseums of commerce, creativity, and empire building. One of the most impressive coliseums of commerce is that of McCormick Place. 

McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America, stretching over 2.6 million square feet. This beast of the convention center is a testament to the city’s formidable position as a world leader in global trade and events.  

Beyond McCormick Place, Chicago’s convention centers reign as some of the world’s best and most impactful convention centers.  

Today, we will explore the ins and outs of these architectural marvels. We hope to guide your journey to finding the perfect venue for the perfect trade show city, Chicago.  

10. Orland Park Civic Center 

Location: 14750 Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park, IL 60462 

Website: https://www.orlandpark.org/departments/recreation-parks/civic-center  

The Orland Park Civic Center is located in the charming suburb of Orland Park, Illinois. Orland Park is an all-American suburb of Chicago. This event space is a unique and multifaceted facility, serving as a hub for community events, corporate meetings, and even private celebrations. 

The Civic Center is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds, providing a picturesque setting for photo opportunities while you continue to forward your brand. Its location in Orland Park, known for its lush parks and vibrant community life, adds to its appeal, offering visitors a taste of the area’s suburban charm.  

This is an excellent escape from the immediate Chicago city center and could be a well-adjusted setting for your next trade show event. 

9. Schaumburg Convention Center 

Location: 1551 N Thoreau Dr Schaumburg, IL 60173 

Website: https://www.schaumburgconventioncenter.com/ 

Schaumburg is a well-known suburb of Chicago known for one of the more beautiful convention centers.  

What we love about this convention center is that it is situated just outside Chicago, which naturally offers easy access to one of America’s largest cities while avoiding the congestion of the urban core.  

This accessibility is further enhanced by its proximity to O’Hare International Airport.  

Architecturally, the Center boasts a modern and flexible layout. The facility includes expansive exhibition halls, elegant ballrooms, and numerous breakout rooms, all equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The integration of luxury hotel accommodations directly adjacent to the convention center further adds to its allure, providing convenience for out-of-town guests. 

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city but want a stone’s throw away from escaping your business endeavors, this convention center is perfect for you. 

8. American Airlines Conference Center 

Location: 1101 W Waveland Ave f2, Chicago, IL 60613 

Website: https://www.americanairlinesconferencecenter.com/ 

Situated right across the street from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, this Center provides a panoramic view of one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the United States, infusing any event with a sense of history and excitement.  

The Center itself spans 35,000 square feet, offering a versatile space for any corporate meetings. The interior design reflects a sleek, modern aesthetic, with a hint of the heritage of American Airlines through aviation-themed décor and memorabilia. This creates an immersive experience that goes beyond the standard conference setting. 

This new, unique conference center could perfectly fit your next trade show event.  

7. Tinley Park Convention Center 

Location: 18451 Convention Center Dr, Tinley Park, IL 60477 

Website: https://www.tinleyparkconventioncenter.net/ 

Located only 30 miles south of downtown Chicago, this 120,000-square-foot convention center is one of the Midwest’s premier convention centers.  

The convention center’s architectural design also contributes to its special status. The facility’s modern, sleek aesthetic, with expansive glass façades and an open, airy interior, creates an inviting atmosphere. This design enhances the aesthetic appeal and maximizes natural lighting, contributing to a more sustainable operation. It’s a beautiful space and a space meant to build your brand. 

One of our favorite aspects of this venue is the surrounding area; attendees and visitors can enjoy a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, including the famous Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.  

Why not check the Casino out while you visit the small suburb of Chicago? 

6. The Merchandise Mart 

Location: 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654 

Website: https://www.themart.com/ 

Merchandise Mart is a landmark of historical and architectural significance, not just for Chicago but for the world.  

This venue stands out as one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Situated on the bank of the Chicago River, this massive structure, completed in 1930, was once the largest building in the world by floor area.   

A little brief history of this venue: originally built by Marshall Field & Co. for wholesale trade, it has evolved into a hub for design, technology, and innovation. It houses showrooms for numerous industries, including home furnishings, interior design, and technology companies, offering a one-stop shop for professionals in these fields.  

Merchandise Mart also plays a vital role in Chicago’s cultural scene, hosting various trade shows, exhibitions, and events throughout the year.  

This building is more than just an expansive venue for trade shows; it sits as a cultural icon for the city and the country. 

5. Navy Pier Festival Hall 

Location: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 

Website: https://navypier.org/location/festival-hall/ 

This expansive multipurpose venue, part of the larger Navy Pier complex, extends into Lake Michigan, offering a picturesque setting with sweeping views of the Chicago skyline and the vast waters of Lake Michigan.  

What sets this venue apart is its impressive adaptability; it hosts many events, from large-scale trade shows and conventions to private functions.  

The interior space, characterized by its vast, open-plan design, can be transformed to suit the specific needs of each event, making it a popular choice for organizers seeking a venue with both flexibility and flair.  

As you can imagine, its location within Navy Pier adds to its appeal, as visitors can enjoy a variety of other attractions, including the famous Centennial. 

4. Summit Executive Centre and Summit West 

Location: 205 North Michigan Avenue, 10th Floor Chicago IL 60601 

Website: https://www.summitchicago.com/ 

Located on the Magnificent Mile, this premier event space allows patrons to be in the action while working to build their brand.  

Its commitment to providing a seamless and productive meeting experience sets Summit Executive Center apart. The facility has state-of-the-art technology, versatile meeting spaces, and a professional environment conducive to corporate and educational events.  

Additionally, Summit Executive Centre is known for its exceptional culinary food options, with custom menus catering to various dietary preferences. This attention to detail, with its prime location and top-tier amenities, makes the Summit Executive Centre a distinguished choice for professional gatherings in Chicago. 

3. Midwest Conference Center 

Location: 401 W Lake St, Northlake, IL 60164 

Website: https://www.midwestconf.com/about.html 

For one of the best executive meeting locations in the Midwest, let’s introduce the Midwest Conference Center. 

What sets this convention center apart is its strategic location, nestled in Northlake, Chicago, which makes it easily accessible from both O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago, thus offering convenience for both local and international guests.  

The Midwest Conference Center boasts a sprawling 35,000 square feet of space featuring a modern and elegant design blend.  

Its main hall can be transformed to suit any event, equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, making it ideal for high-tech corporate events or lavish social gatherings.  

Additionally, the Midwest Conference Center is renowned for its picturesque outdoor garden, providing a serene and beautiful backdrop for events. 

2. Donald E. Stephens Convention Center 

Location: 5555 N River Rd, Rosemont IL 60018 

Website: https://rosemont.com/desconvention/ 

This Convention Center is located technically in Rosemont, Illinois. However, it’s just five minutes from O’Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. It is well-connected to Chicago’s vibrant city center through its reliable and state-of-the-art metro system.  

This goes without saying, but this accessibility makes it an ideal choice for international and domestic attendees. 

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center spans over 840,000 square feet; this convention center stands out due to its vast, flexible space, comprising six expansive exhibit halls, 50 meeting rooms, and the 30,000 square foot Rosemont Ballroom. 

The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center is incredibly accessible to any trade showgoers. 

1. McCormick Place 

Location: 2301 South King Drive, Chicago, IL 60616 

Website: https://www.mccormickplace.com/ 

No surprise here. McCormick Place takes our top spot as the best and biggest convention center in the Windy City.  

McCormick Place is known as the largest convention center in North America and one of the most significant in the world, spanning a vast area of 2.6 million square feet of space.  

This colossal facility is unique because of its sheer size, state-of-the-art architecture, and versatile facilities that accommodate many events, from large-scale conventions and trade shows to smaller meetings and receptions.  

Its four interconnected buildings — the North, South, and West Buildings, along with the Lakeside Center — each have distinct features and can be configured in numerous ways to suit different needs.  

One of the more unique aspects of this beautiful convention center is that it is situated near the shores of Lake Michigan, offering visitors stunning views and a scenic backdrop. 

McCormick Place is a masterpiece of a convention center, and we highly suggest you make the time to attend an event within your industry’s wheelhouse in the biggest convention center in the country.

Beyond business hours, Chicago bursts with life – from the soaring heights of the Willis Tower to the serene paths of Millennium Park, the city’s landmarks invite exploration and enjoyment. Their Convention Centers do the same.  

From the diversity of the suburban convention centers to the vastness of the world-famous McCormick Place, these convention centers mirror the city’s charm and forward-thinking. These Centers become your hubs of creativity, innovation, and brand building.  

It becomes your duty to experience the thrills of these unique coliseums of innovations. We hope you take advantage of these immense opportunities.  

The Windy City awaits.  

For more insights and award-winning event strategies, contact our team of event specialists to design the perfect exhibit to amplify your brand. Connect with a team member here or give us a call at 972-734-8585. 

Photo Credit: Pixabay 

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