Chicago Northwest: a Family-friendly Meetings Destination
In the suburban area just northwest of Chicago, a number of communities make up the Chicago Northwest region, which is known for its entertainment, shopping and lodging options that readily accommodate families as well as business travelers. The towns that make up Chicago Northwest—Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, Itasca, Rolling Meadows, Roselle, Schaumburg, Streamwood, and Wood Dale—all offer something a little different for visitors.
Schaumburg has a full-service convention hotel and retail stores you can’t find anywhere else in Chicago while Arlington Heights has a fun downtown entertainment district. All put together, the Chicago Northwest region is a convenient meetings destination located within a 10-minute drive of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, but it’s also a great spot for families to get away. Check out some of the reasons why Chicago Northwest has earned a reputation as one of the best family-friendly meetings destinations in Chicagoland where event attendees can bring the family along for a few days of Chicago fun after meetings are over.
First, We Meet…
Schaumburg’s Hotel Prowess
Ranked one of the top hotels in Illinois, the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel is one of the Chicago area’s top meetings hotels with 500 sleeping rooms and nearly 150,000 square feet of meeting space including a 27,000 square feet ballroom and a 97,000-sq.-ft. trade show floor. When families are along for the trip, they will love the Olympic-size saltwater pool. The hotel also has a nice-sized fitness center and two restaurants on-site. Shuttle service is provided to the popular Woodfield Mall, and the hotel is situated near additional upscale shops and restaurants, too.
A good option for both meetings and families in the Schaumburg area is Embassy Suites Chicago – Schaumburg/Woodfield. All of the hotel’s 209 guest rooms are true two-room suites, which is great for parents traveling with children. The hotel also offers complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and a complimentary evening reception including drinks. The hotel has 8,000 square feet of meeting space.
Another popular meetings property is in the area is Hyatt Regency Chicago Schaumburg, which has about 40,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. There’s a Starbuck’s Coffee on-site (necessary for early-morning sessions during events) as well as a UPS Store. After afternoon education sessions, attendees often head to the hotel bar for cocktails or a bite to eat at FRESH 1800. Then once the family arrives, the outdoor pool with sun deck and quick access to Woodfield Mall become the hotel’s top amenities.
Business accommodations are available at the Chicago Marriott Schaumburg hotel, located minutes from O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago. Families enjoy the indoor/outdoor pool area, while has a resort feel, while Medieval Times, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago, Busse Woods Nature Preserve and Woodfield Mall provide additional nearby entertainment options. In addition, travelers appreciate outside deck space for receptions.
For active pursuits, check out the 72-acre Olympic Park. Part of the Schaumburg Park District, it accommodates indoor and outdoor sports. It is home to softball fields and a children’s playground, plus a skate park. You’ll also find multiple soccer fields, as well as basketball courts and concession stands.
Meet and Play in Itasca
With 37,000 square feet of meeting and event space, Eaglewood Resort & Spa caters to business travelers, spa lovers and families alike. Its spacious luxury accommodations include rooftop suites with dining space for up to six people. In addition, an amphitheater with tiered seating for 75, outdoor terraces and a patio with fire pit can accommodate business meetings or family reunions, as can an on-site bowling alley that can be rented our for private events. It is the closest resort to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
The pet-friendly Westin Chicago Northwest hotel in Itasca features more than 400 rooms and 33 meeting spaces, free self-parking (like all Chicago Northwest area hotels), an indoor heated pool and whirlpool, and a fitness studio. Those who prefer outdoor exercise will appreciate a jogging/walking path and a driving range on the property. The 24-hour business center, ATM, salon, floral and dry cleaning services accommodate business and leisure travelers. In addition to a steakhouse, coffee bar and several lounges, parents will appreciate The Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids.
Then, We Have Some Family Fun…
Shopping and Entertainment in Chicago Northwest
Chicago Northwest is known for its wealth of stores and restaurants. The Downtown Arlington Heights Entertainment District is one area of note, featuring numerous entertainment, dining, and shopping options. Also in Arlington is the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, offering more than 50 musical, theatrical, Second City Comedy, and family and children’s shows, each year, while the Arlington Heights Historical Museum includes four outbuildings—a coach house, log cabin, and fully furnished 1882 and 1908 homes. The neighborhood’s diverse restaurants feature international, American contemporary and fast-casual fare, and tasty snacks. Shoppers appreciate the mix of national retailers and big box stores, specialty retailers and boutiques, and multiple furniture stores, set amid upscale architecture and attractive landscaping.
Woodfield Mall’s impressive collection of iconic shopping includes Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as H&M, Zara, Timberland and Kids’ Foot Locker. They’re only a sample of nearly 300 stores and restaurants in this very popular mall. Families can find snacks from Garrett Popcorn Shops, Cinnabon or Baskin Robbins, and enjoy a great meal at The Cheesecake Factory or visit the 820-seat Dining Pavilion to curb everyone's taste buds.
Located just east of Woodfield Mall and within Ned Brown Forest, the Busse Woods Trail system traverses 3,700 acres in Chicago Northwest. An eight-mile main loop circles lakes and meadows, and shorter side loops lead to the preserve’s north and south ends. The trail links to two ‘bikeways’ and abundant wildlife includes a small herd of captive elk.
You’ll never view the Windy City the same way again after visiting MINIland Chicago, a display crafted from nearly two million LEGO bricks, at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago. It includes Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain and the Wrigley Building. This popular center features enough rides, 4D cinema and attractions to keep kids well-occupied for several hours. For a different movie experience, sink into plush leather recliners at AMC Loews Theater-Streets of Woodfield 20, where adults can order beer, wine and cocktails to enjoy while watching a show; chicken tenders, pizza, and mozzarella sticks are just some of the food choices available. Topgolf is your interactive driving range with 100s of TVs to catch pretty much every game. Bonus heaters make this venue available all year and that’s fun for families as well as small off-site meetings or receptions.
There’s also Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Chicago Northwest, where royal falcons fly and knights fiercely joust from the backs of equine beauties. Admission includes a four-course meal with homemade garlic bread and tomato soup, roasted chicken with herb-basted potatoes, fresh pastries and select beverages. But is it even really about the food, or the show?
More Places to Stay
For budget-minded families, Chicago Northwest features 55 select service properties, such as Courtyard by Marriott or Hyatt Place. These properties often serve as overflow hotels or quick stay options for meetings or business travelers, and they are particularly great choices for families. Though generally more affordable than most full-service hotels, most have pools and amenities like free breakfast and free Wi-Fi, which kids and adults can both appreciate.
There’s even more that makes Chicago Northwest a great option for adults and kids of any age. Read more on options for hosting meetings in the area here, and download or request a copy of our official visitor guide here.