5 Surprise Party Ideas for an Unforgettable Celebration in Chicago


When searching for innovative surprise party ideas in Chicago, instead of picking something typical, step it up with something extraordinary. Some of the most unexpected spots across the city, from a cosmic-themed showpiece to an actual TV set, make better private dining rooms than you’d think.

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium, the country’s first-ever planetarium, showcases a celestial space certainly not duplicated anywhere else around town. The Adler’s Grainger Sky Theater, under the famed dome anchoring the Chicago Museum Campus, is an ideal venue for the general science-fiction fan and makes for one of the most remarkable private dining rooms. All you do is sit back in a comfy chair and look up as the “Cosmic Wonder” show takes you on a thrilling adventure into the night’s sky. The theater is said to contain some of the most technologically advanced equipment in the world designed to zoom in on space images in the highest resolutions possible. The space accommodates up to 200 people and has a catering team on-site so the possibilities are endless when it comes to food and drink.

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios

Film and television buffs get a kick out of attending a bash at a motion picture studio where actual action takes place. Cinespace, a studio space that was used to film some red-hot primetime TV shows, is situated on the west side of the city and occupies 1.45 million square feet. Clearly party-throwers can carve out whatever space they need—the raw space easily accommodates up to 2,000 guests, plus there are several stages. There’s also an on-site caterer and outdoor component.

Little Black Pearl

Right in the heart of the South Side’s historic Kenwood neighborhood is Little Black Pearl, a family-oriented, creative workshop by day and swanky cocktail party venue at night. A spectacular 36-foot glass atrium is in high demand and holds up to 400 guests (250 seated) for a unique birthday party or business reception. For those looking for offbeat surprise party ideas, Little Black Pearl’s staff works with clients to turn the space into something magical. The atrium is adjacent to one of the venue’s galleries as well and has a balcony to use for extra space and added drama. Catering is off-site.

Park West

The vintage live music venue Park West in Lincoln Park is best known for intimate concerts featuring the likes of Aretha Franklin, Prince, and Tina Turner. But Park West is easily transformed into the perfect party space for someone special. It boasts several private dining rooms on five different levels and holds up to 900 people. Because it’s one of the city’s top concert venues, it can handle just about any multimedia request. Catering is off-site.

Sophie’s at Saks Fifth Avenue

For surprise party ideas for your fashion-forward friend, Sophie’s, located on the seventh floor of luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue, overlooks Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile and can be reserved for accommodations up to 100 guests. Alternatively, for smaller gatherings, you can host your guests in the intimate dining room, which holds 14 to 20 people. The menu is contemporary American with offerings such as lobster salads, gourmet burgers, and roast chicken.

  • Cinespace Chicago Film Studios

    2621 W 15th Pl, Chicago, IL 60608

    (773) 521-8000

  • Little Black Pearl

    1060 E 47th St, Chicago, IL 60653

    (773) 285-1211

  • Park West

    322 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

    (773) 929-5959

  • Sophie's at Saks Fifth Avenue

    700 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

    (312) 525-3400

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