Host an Undersea Party: Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

As unusual and striking venues for formal events go, you can’t beat being surrounded by deep blue water, dolphins, beluga whales, and sea otters — all while dining in elegant style. Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is just the place, offering your choice of not just one but many different inspiring spaces, where you can host an event that will not soon be forgotten.

When the Shedd Aquarium was built in the 1920s, in monumental Beaux Arts style, it was one of the largest in the world, and the only inland one to house a permanent marine collection.(They shipped in the saltwater by train!) It remains a Chicago landmark and the event spaces are exotic and charming. There’s the Caribbean Reef exhibit, for instance, where your guests can dine against a backdrop of glass walls, through which they can view tropical undersea life quietly swimming by:

Caribbean Reef

There’s the outdoor North Terrace, with its sweeping view of Lake Michigan:

North Terrace

And then there’s the Abbott Oceanarium, with a mezzanine level for cocktail receptions and an exhibit recreating a Pacific Northwest coastline. Guests can walk right up to the water’s edge to watch dolphins and otters swim by:

Abbott Oceanarium


The Aquarium offers catering, a full bar, and valet parking, to make sure your guests have a dining experience to remember, and it can accommodate large events of up to 1,200 people. This is a place fit for the most elegant of occasions: gala banquets, wedding receptions, or cocktail hours. The classical Greek architecture, as well as the dazzling array of aquatic life on display, are sure to make an impression.

Interested in finding out more about these beautiful spaces?  Inquire now!