Choosing a suitable space in Skokie for your corporate events, meetings, team-building activities, seminars, conferences, and other business events is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll ever make.
From historic buildings, magnificent hotels, large conference centers, and Bohemian-style banquet halls, Skokie has a myriad of fabulous business venues. While there’s something for every kind of business, the choice can be overwhelming.
In addition, some business venues in Skokie come with AV equipment, video conferencing tech, setup/clean-up crews, catering, entertainment, and furnishings like linens, tables, and chairs. And for those looking outside of the box, there are lots of unique Skokie event spaces that deliver fantastic experiences you won’t find elsewhere.
The only issue with finding the perfect spot for your next business event is knowing where to get started. That’s why we’ve rounded up an in-depth list of the best business venues in Skokie, no matter the size, style, or theme you wish to cater for.
What is Skokie Known For?
Located just 15 miles north of downtown Chicago, Skokie is definitely outside the city but offers exceptional urban convenience. It provides businesses with tons of amenities and a relatively serene atmosphere away from the bustle of Chicago’s central business district.
Skokie was founded in the early 1800s by Henry Farms, a visionary Prussian immigrant. He found a land of forests, marshes, and swamps rich with fox, wildcat, deer, and buffalo. From those humble beginnings arose the Village of Skokie, which today is an economically dynamic and culturally diverse community. Many people have influenced its heritage, including Indigenous people, European settlers, and British and French explorers.
At the turn of the 20th century, Skokie was almost synonymous with saloons, vegetable farms, and greenhouses. The arrival of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in 1903 spelled an economic boon for the village, as it opened up the world to the residents. In 1907, the first bank in Skokie swung its doors open to residents, ushering in a period of more growth and economic stability.
Skokie continued on an upward trajectory as more paved roads, railways, and businesses were established. This came with an influx of people looking for a slice of the pie, so much so that Skokie was named “The World’s Largest Village.” Skokie sustained its development and flourishing economy over the decades despite many setbacks, such as the Great Depression, World War II, and more.
Today, the Village of Skokie is a forward-thinking community known for:
- Great schools that range from K-12 to colleges and universities
- 44 parks with amenities for everyone
- Excellent housing and safe neighborhoods
- Vibrant arts community
- Superior transportation network
- Superb dining scene that includes 130+ restaurants
- Shopping centers
- Conducive business environment
How Do I Choose a Business Venue?
Choosing the right venue is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning a corporate event, gala, meeting, or conference. Of course, the type of event you’re planning will do the most talking. However, here are some handy tips to help you pick the perfect business venue for your event.
– Check availability: when are you hosting your event?
It doesn’t matter if a particular space is a match made in heaven for your event. The venue won’t do much for you if it isn’t available on the date you need it. This is especially true if you have set a hard date for your corporate event or meeting.
So, one of the first things to do is cross off any business venue in Skokie that isn’t available on the day of the event. Of course, it would be best to keep events dates flexible until you have explored your options for venues. Having a couple of tentative dates to consider can make your decision easier and more hassle-free.
– Minimums and capacity: how much space do you need for your event?
What’s the venue capacity? Think about how many people will attend your seminar, meeting, or event. With that in mind, it’s essential to know the venue’s capacity – and for good reason. Fitting a 500-person guest list into a venue with a capacity of 200 people isn’t feasible. More importantly, the venue has safety and fire codes to adhere to.
What’s the venue’s food and beverage minimum? Most business venues in Chicago have a pre-set food and beverage minimum (referred to as F&B minimum). It’s always a wise idea to choose a venue that has a higher minimum.
– Consider your budget
There’s no point in exploring Skokie’s business venues that are out of your event budget unless they’re willing to negotiate the rate. That’s why it is always a good idea to set your budget ahead of booking the event venue.
Don’t forget that the event space won’t be the only cost you cater to when hosting a corporate event or meeting. Once you have established a budget, be prepared to stick to it, particularly when choosing your venue. You will be happy you did.
– What are your technology and equipment needs?
Today’s corporate events, trade expos, and business meetings are technology-heavy. From video-conferencing facilities and projectors to charging bays and power outlets, AV systems and computers, and much more, the on-venue technology and equipment can make a massive difference in the success of your event.
For that reason, you must check if the venue has on-site or can accommodate the technologies that you’ll need to successfully run your event. Additionally, it’s worth inquiring if you’ll be able to get on-site technical assistance once the event is in progress.
– Location of the venue
Is the venue strategically or conveniently located? An ideal venue should be easily accessible and proximate to hotels, amenities, and transportation hubs. These conveniences can help streamline your event and may do wonders for attendance.
When doing your venue reconnaissance and due diligence, make sure to consider the convenience of location. You’ll want to choose a venue that’s convenient to get to and easy to find, especially for out-of-town attendees. The good news is that Skokie’s business venues in this list are easy to find and conveniently located. And Skokie is very close to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports.
– Check the layout: does the venue match the style, theme, or type of your event?
The business space must make sense for the theme, type, or style of event or meeting you’re planning. That’s a rule of thumb. A small meeting room won’t make much sense for a large business conference. Likewise, an ample open space won’t work for a small client meeting.
As you’re going through your venue options, it’s a good idea to check out layouts and keep in mind what type of event you’re hosting. You will need to ensure the setup of the venue makes sense for the kind of event you’re planning.
– Does the venue offer parking?
Parking availability is another vital factor that you’ll want to consider when choosing a business venue in Skokie. Does it have valet parking or a parking lot? A business venue with a large parking lot is ideal for an event whose attendees will be driving.
If the venue doesn’t have a parking lot, ask if there are alternative parking spots that attendees can quickly get to within the vicinity. While your attendees need to have convenient parking, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker:
- You can score and distribute Lyft and Uber discount codes for your event
- You can book close-by parking lots for your guests. They can either pay when they park or you can include the cost of parking in the event ticket.
- Provide means for your guests to share a cab or a ride, giving them an opportunity to interact and socialize before they get to your event or meeting.
- Consider offering valet parking for your meeting or event, even if the business venue doesn’t, especially if it’s a high-end event like a gala dinner.
– Does the venue offer additional amenities and/or services?
- Does the venue offer catering services? Most business venues in Skokie have kitchens and can cater and wait for your event. In doing so, they charge a down payment as well as the price of food and drinks for each guest. Some venues without in-house kitchens may have a working partnership with reliable caterers in the area. In either case, you’ll want to know if they offer customized menu options for attendees with special diet considerations.
- Does it offer furnishings? If the business venue has linens, chairs, and tables you can use for your event, you can save quite a bit of money.
- Who’s responsible for setting up and cleaning? Generally, it’s best to choose a venue with its own clean-up and setup crew.
What are the most common types of corporate events?
Companies and businesses host corporate events to bring the media, clients, employees, and the public together. They use these events to educate, update, or inform their attendees, while others are meant for PR purposes.
– Trade expos and shows
The area in and around Chicago is well-known for hosting some of the most–attended trade shows and expos. These events are usually designed for companies and businesses to showcase their services, brands, and products to a large audience. The majority of trade shows are held at large hotels, local arenas, or trade centers, often incorporating a wide range of presentations, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and one-on-one meetings.
– Conferences and seminars
Conferences and seminars account for most corporate events held in Skokie. The core purpose of these events is to provide attendees with the latest information about the brand, company, or industry in question.
Conferences are usually more extensive and more prolonged, going on for several days to a week. They typically consist of multiple sessions hosted by different presenters. On the other hand, seminars are smaller events that often last a day, if not a few hours.
– Team-building events
Team-building activities make for another common type of corporate event. They are primarily meant to boost employee teamwork spirit, morale, and confidence. These events also provide employees with a unique opportunity to socialize and know more about each other away from the traditional workplace environment.
Some team-building events are held indoors, while others require outdoor group activities. Play a game, listen to an inspirational lecture, or organize a talent night – your choice of team events is huge!
– Company milestone events
If your company has reached a milestone worth celebrating, this is the perfect event to host. The execution of the event will vary greatly depending on the company’s public presence, size, and the magnitude of the milestone. The event is often limited to the employees, while other companies may invite industry luminaries, VIP clients, and other figures. In many cases, the public and media are also invited.
– Company appreciation events
As with milestone events, appreciation events are a cause for celebration. They’re usually more intimate, allowing company founders, executives, and leaders to appreciate and share quality time with employees, clients, and other stakeholders. It may also serve as an opportunity to share a company’s future aspirations.
By design, company appreciation events are supposed to be easy-going and fun. Some of the programs on the agenda may include a cocktail hour, theater, dinner, and other forms of entertainment.
– Executive retreats
Executive retreats are corporate incentive events hosted by high-value organizations to appreciate their top-level leaders. These events are often held in upscale and exclusive venues like golf resorts and historic mansions that match the grandeur of the occasion.
– Board and shareholder meetings
Most large corporations hold annual general meetings for their shareholders and board members. They are official affairs where the organization informs shareholders and board members about the company’s performance, trajectory, and significant decisions.
These events provide attendees with an opportunity to discuss future developments, goals, and strategies for the company. Some board and shareholder meetings are held quarterly or biannually. They may also incorporate some form of media coverage, entertainment, and other lavish events.
– Product launches
Launching a new service or product can be exciting for a company. Hosting a product launch event is an integral part of this process, and it’s designed to update the media, clients, employees, and the public about the development. The event’s primary aim is to generate buzz among clients, media, and customers about the product or service.
More than business venues in Skokie are well-equipped to host a product launch event. When exploring your venue options, it’s essential to pay particular attention to the space’s décor, style, and ambiance.
Other common types of corporate events include charity events, golf events, end-of-year functions, and workshops.
Are there hotels near business venues in Skokie?
Yes, there are plenty of fantastic hotels near business venues in Skokie. When choosing the right venue for your corporate event, conference, or meeting, it’s crucial to take the accommodation options for your attendees into consideration, especially when you’re hosting a large event in a high-demand area.
The good news is that some of these hotels often have business venues on-site. That helps remove the hassle of getting both the venue and accommodation. Even so, you must ensure the venue space best suits the needs of your event.
Is Skokie accessible by car and plane?
Yes, Skokie is accessible by car and plane. We highly recommend flying to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which is located less than 10 miles from Skokie. From here, you can take a shuttle bus, taxi, town car, or public transport to Skokie. Driving your own rental car is also an option. The bus and subway trip from the airport to Skokie should last around 44 minutes.
Alternatively, you can fly to Chicago Midway Airport and travel by car to Skokie. The journey should take you around 80 minutes.
If you plan to drive from downtown Chicago to Skokie, it will take you around 17 minutes to cover the 15-mile drive. Of course, the best way to get there is to taxi, and it will cost you between $45 and $60.
Do venues provide audiovisual equipment?
Corporate events, conferences, and business meetings have varying requirements for audiovisual (AV) equipment. The larger and more complex your corporate event, the more complex your audiovisual and control system requirements. You’ll require robust sound systems and superior visuals to make sure your event is a success.
High-quality AV equipment gives the right impression, allowing your speakers, exhibitors, and presenters to get their message across easily and without much fuss. Visual displays may include projectors, large LED screens, cameras, and other pieces of display equipment.
The audio and control equipment will also depend on the type and scale of your corporate event or business meeting. You may need teleconferencing, video-conferencing, microphones, speakers, and a variety of other techs.
So, do Skokie business venues provide AV equipment? It depends on the venue, but most do. It’s important to check with the venue when you’re exploring your options.
Do venues provide chairs and seating?
Some business event venues in Skokie do provide chairs, tables, and seating on-site. However, you must check if the décor and style are suitable for the type and theme of the event you’re planning. These paragraphs seem to repeat previously mentioned info.
Can I bring Food to My Event Venue in Skokie?
Some Skokie business venues may provide their own catering options or charge a flat fee for bringing in external food and drinks, for example, Kosher or Halal food. Again, it would be best to check with the venue before you make outside catering arrangements.