From Lake Michigan's border on the east to Chain O' Lakes on the west, Lake County offers unique spaces and inspiring places for meetings, conferences, expos, reunions and other special occasions.
Events become memorable experiences when enhanced by elegant settings or spectacular lake views, and options are boundless for free time outdoor activities from garden walks to boating or charter fishing for small groups.
Lake County is renowned for its hundreds of lakes and majestic waters. You can take your group on a boat tour of Chain O' Lakes, rich in gangster history and folklore. Leave from Port of Blarney in Antioch and dock at the famous Blarney Island, only accessible by boat, for a casual lunch or dinner.
Impress your attendees with a meeting on the legendary stage of the Genesee Theatre, stroll the radiant gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden during a meeting break or plan a fun team-building event at the Libertyville Sports Complex. Ravinia, the oldest music festival in North America, serves as a beautiful site for group events. Other unique settings include Independence Grove Forest Preserve, Greenbelt Cultural Center, Viper Alley and the Lake County Fairgrounds, or consider one of the county's unparalleled golf courses as the backdrop for a meeting or event.
Built in 1927, the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan is a magnificent, historic theater which was exquisitely restored to its original regal splendor and reopened in 2004. Patrons are stunned by the beauty of this grand venue. The theater is available for private functions and features auditorium style seating for 2,400. The facility offers seven lounges for meetings and receptions of up to 200 attendees. The theater's stage provides a unique setting for banquets of up to 150.
Viper Alley in Lincolnshire is a private event venue with an industrial-chic atmosphere, a large stage, six bowling lanes and a flexible floor plan with catering for up to 650 people. Also opening in Lincolnshire this spring is Loft 21 a new private event facility with 31,000 square feet of divisible space transformed from the former Cubby Bear North to an ultra-modern venue.
The Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake offers many options and is conveniently located within walking distance of two commuter rail lines to downtown Chicago. The Event Center features a 62,000-square-foot expo hall and several function rooms. In addition, the grounds and show barns provide endless outdoor possibilities from corporate picnics to car shows.
For an exceptionally unique occasion, The Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth is open for tours and private functions of up to 100. The six-story, 17,000-square-foot architectural oddity is considered one of the most curious homes ever constructed.
Lake County offers over 60 hotels including the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort currently ongoing a $22 million renovation which will boost a new front entrance and lobby, renovated banquet pavilions, a full-service spa, two new restaurants and a complete overhaul of all 389 rooms. The project will be completed by fall 2017. The resort also features 40,000 square feet of meeting space, an 18-hole PGA Championship Golf Course, and the award-winning Marriott Theatre.
Illinois Beach Resort, on the shores of Lake Michigan, has just completed renovation of its 92 guest rooms and is a perfect setting for retreats and reunions. Great Wolf Lodge recently took ownership of KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort. The property will be closed for a year to complete a major renovation. The new resort will combine business with pleasure providing banquet space for up to 330, with 414 guest suites, new restaurants, shops, expansion of the indoor water park and construction of an outdoor water park area.
Other full-service hotels in Lake County are the Hyatt Regency Deerfield, Marriott Suites Deerfield, Embassy Suites Deerfield, Doubletree by Hilton in Mundelein, and the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in Gurnee.
For those flying in, Lake County is just 15 miles from O'Hare Airport and 40 miles from Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport.
Visit Lake County is the official destination marketing organization for Lake County, Illinois offering complimentary assistance for those planning meetings, expos, reunions or special events. Take advantage of our knowledge, vast resources and free services. Check out VisitLakeCounty.org for more information on the many naturally inviting meeting spaces across the county.
• Maureen Riedy is president of Visit Lake County.