Find Free/Low Cost Event Venues in Chicago
Updated May 20, 2018
Booking Parties Without an Event Planner
Use these venues to plan an affordable event for birthday parties, showers, and Tuesday night Shenanigans.
Finding a space to hold a business meeting or plan an event can quickly become a project, but there are venues and resources out there to make the process affordable and easy.
Chicago Party Planning Resources
Peerspace is a directory of creative spaces that you can rent for meetings, photo shoots, and events.
Breather is a venue booking engine that allows you to book venues of all sizes (like the River North space above) on a flexible time schedule. Current spaces are for smaller groups of about 8 people and cost as low as $40 per hour - rent it like a ZipCar or on a recurring basis.
For group dining reservations, Suits and Tables can gather quotes from several restaurants with the click of a button - think of it like OpenTable for large groups. Suits and Tables can find a variety of venues for any party size, such as the den at Broken Shaker.
Piece Pizza and Brewery in Wicker Park serves award-winning beer and pizza, has a pinball machine and live band karaoke (Saturday nights), and accepts reservations for groups in the dining room of 10-20 during the week and 20-40 on the weekends. The pit area is also available depending on whether there are live music shows or other events going on.
Emporium Arcade Bar has two Chicago locations in Wicker Park and Logan Square. Use their easy to book online form to reserve space for your party of up to 30 for free (just pay for your drinks). The super cool part about Emporium, aside from the kick ass games to play, is that you can bring in your own food or get recommendations from Emporium on local restaurants and food trucks.
Chicago Joe's in North Center has a full bar and restaurant and doesn't charge a rental fee for party reservations.
If you're looking to host at a bar, Matilda has an easy reservation process and flexible options to work with your party. There are also multiple spaces (3, to be exact) depending on whether you're into dining, dancing, or screening home videos from your childhood on their audio visual system.
Marshfield's Urban Grill is another bar that doesn't charge a room fee. This West Lincoln Park neighborhood bar is a great option for karaoke parties, showers, and other events with unlimited drink packages starting at $20 per person. Activities include cornhole/bags and pool.
Free/Low Cost Event Venues in Chicago
When planning a family gathering in Chicago, weather is a major factor. The City of Chicago allows parties to book certain park locations for a reasonable cost, but at the mercy of Mother Nature (you can still bring tents, ponchos, and ice sculptures).
If you're looking to make custom gear for wedding and other family events, check out Get It Made in West Town. Get It Made can not only help you design cool stuff for parties, they also have a showroom where you can bring your friends and family for a creative party, where you design custom stuff like flip flops, trucker hats, coozies, socks, scarves, yoga mats...and pretty much anything your little heart desires! Public and private workshops like cake decorating classes, soap making, and flower arranging also happen at Get It Made. Check out the options here.
Beermiscuous is a craft beer geek's dream. This Lakeview beer bar is not only a great place to try a beer flight and play board games, but with free wifi and plenty of tables, it's a great place to get work done too. Beermiscuous has a generous event policy that doesn't require minimum purchases or a booking fee, and customers are allowed to bring their own food, pets, and children if desired. Two spaces are available that fit either up to 25 or up to 40 guests. The only catch is you'll need to buy a $25 gift card, but it's easy to spend those buckaroos on beer to stay or bottles to go!
404 Wine Bar offers a private room for large parties and events at no charge. Popular for all types of showers (maybe not champagne showers though...), 404 is a good choice for any celebration requiring ambiance. Neighboring Diag Bar will also hold a space for your group if you give them enough notice, which is especially appealing for University of Michigan alums wanting to cheer on their alma mater. Diag has a pet friendly seasonal outdoor patio with cornhole boards and TVs to catch a game.
Cody's Public House has a great outdoor patio that you can reserve for parties with barbecues for to grill your own food on, dart boards, and cornhole/bags boards. A deposit is required but there is no reservation fee, and pups are allowed.
Lagunitas Brewing Company supports non profit organizations by donating beer as well as their taproom space for events. Demand is high, however, and they are currently booked through 2016. Lincoln Park Stadium allows guest bartending for fundraisers, so event hosts can get trained to sling drinks for an evening and donate their tips toward their cause of choice.
Sunshine Enterprises, a business incubator affiliated with Sunshine Gospel Ministries. Supporting local entrepreneurs is part of the Woodlawn neighborhood cafe's mission, making it a great place for coworking. The Greenline Conference Room is a 12 person venue available for events at no charge (a $25 gift card purchase or tab is required, however).