Team Building Chicago is a list of corporate team building activities, corporate event ideas, and company outings ideas in Chicago, Illinois. Our team of experts has worked hard to compile this current and comprehensive list of the best team activities in and around Chicago, Aurora, Rockford and Joliet.
Team building is key when it comes to not just starting but maintaining great teams. Not only will you see your team’s communication, collaboration and problem solving skills improve as a result of corporate team building activities, you’ll also see an increase in employee engagement and overall job satisfaction. The best part about team building is you can accomplish all of these positive results for your organization while also having tons of fun.
Our list covers 34+ fun corporate event ideas, team building activities, and team building companies in Chicago, Illinois, ranging from escape rooms to food tours and everything in between. Keep reading to find the perfect team building events to match your unique team’s needs and personality!
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Team Building Chicago: Table of Contents
- The Best Team Building Activities in Chicago
- Unusual Team Activities in Chicago
- Chicago Team Building Activities with Food
- Other Team Events in Chicago
- Frequently Asked Questions About Team Building in Chicago
The Best Team Building Activities in Chicago
There are a variety of factors to consider the quality of team building companies, including the “fun factor”, looking at reviews, accessibility, track record and the actual impact they make. One of the most pertinent ways to evaluate potential team building activities is by looking for genuine five-star reviews. Below, we’ve included three strong options.
1. Museum Hack – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ [Highest Rated]
Museum Hack’s corporate team building activities in Chicago are unlike any other. The company guarantees the most fun you’ve ever had in a museum (and probably doing corporate events too!). Every tour is full of sassy behind-the-scenes storytelling, epic photo challenges, and interactive games and icebreakers that get your team laughing together. If you want to crank up the difficulty a few notches on your next team outing, then check out Museum Hack’s Escape the Museum and custom scavenger hunt offerings. The best bit about Museum Hack’s team building events is that they can customize the tour route to match your company values and industry. For example, Google did “Technology Through Time” and Dannon had a “History of Yogurt” tour. Museum Hack guides can talk about ancient health care, tech innovation, extraordinary levels of service in the Roman Empire, and other relevant themes. Your team will experience the Art Institute of Chicago like you’ve never experienced any museum before, bond with each other, and have a ton of fun!
2. The Great Guac Off™ – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ [Best New Activity]
The Great Guac Off is one of the best team activities in Chicago! This part guacamole making competition and part team building event may sound a little unusual, but it is challenging, fun, and collaborative. You and your team will be split into small groups to encourage friendly competition and team bonding. The small teams will then compete to make the best guacamole as well as battle it out in mini challenges like avocado-themed trivia. The Great Guac Off™ can be hosted anywhere in Chicago, including at your office or conference space, or at a rental location around the city. There is no limit to the number of people that can attend a Guac Off, which makes it great for both small and large groups.
3. Gingerbread Wars – 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄 [Holiday Themed]
It’s time for an epic holiday showdown at the office. Gingerbread Wars hosts an epic gingerbread house making competition that is designed to fuel the holiday spirit at your team outings in October, November, and December. Your coworkers will enjoy fun challenges, holiday-themed trivia, and compete to see who in the office will win the title of gingerbread house making grand champion. Snacks, cookies, pro photographers and BYOB are all available as options for your event. You can choose to host your Gingerbread Wars on site at your office or another location of your choice, or at a rental venue. Space is limited and prices are reasonable; we expect Gingerbread Wars to sell out early.
Unusual Team Activities in Chicago
We’re thinking outside the box with some of these unusual team building activities in Chicago, but all of them have the potential to provide massive benefits to your organization. From a hacked tour of the Lincoln Park Zoo to firefighter-style team building to indoor skydiving, these corporate event ideas are fun, effective, and a little unexpected.
4. Zoo Hack
Zoo Hack is a renegade tour and games experience at Lincoln Park Zoo. The company’s unique take on exploring zoos is smart, quirky, fun, and perfect for teams! Zoo Hack guides use carefully created stories, icebreakers, games and activities to maximize your team’s engagement, interaction and bonding. Zoo Hack’s events are also very educational; your team will learn wild facts about the animals and their habitats that you won’t find anywhere else. Zoo Hack’s expert advisors will work closely with you to create a company outing that is perfectly matched to you and your team.
5. Launchy Birds™
This team building activity is insane. Launchy Birds uses construct and deconstruct game mechanics to bring your people together. The event starts off with mini-games where each team can win power-ups like better building blocks or launchers. Then, you build castles and compete to knock them down. As a corporate event, Launchy Birds is fast-paced, wild, chaotic, unruly, and mischievous. Your people will love it.
6. Team Building Hero
Team Building Hero offers 5+ different team building activities and team building workshops in Chicago, which makes it an easy choice for planning your next event. Instead of contacting dozens of companies, you can work with a Team Building Hero client advisor to plan the perfect event or series of events for your team. The company offers corporate event ideas that are both familiar and unusual like very challenging scavenger hunts, storytelling workshops, guacamole making competitions, museum tours and more.
7. Starved Rock State Park
If your team is feeling adventurous then head out for DIY unconventional team building activities – starting with a hike at Starved Rock State Park. Starved Rock has over ten miles of trails that wind through 18 cool canyons, beautiful waterfalls, and interesting rock formations. Starved Rock is located just 90 minutes outside of Chicago by car, which is accessible for many teams. Hiking at Starved Rock is a good option for team bonding and will promote a healthy lifestyle for your employees. If you want to hire a guide to learn a bit about the area, then the State Park has guides available all year round. The park is open daily from 6:30am to 9pm.
8. Host A Meetup
If you are looking to connect with more than just your awesome team, then you should think about hosting a meetup. By hosting your own meetup, you’re able to invite pretty much everyone you want to connect with. Your guest list can include customers, vendors, suppliers, and your local community. These events don’t have to be big and flashy, they just need to be inline with your brand and mission. Whether you choose to host your team building meetup at your office, the park, or a local cafe, make sure to create a few games and icebreakers to get people chatting and engaged. This effort is a great way to not only connect people but also show your community that you appreciate and care about them.
Chicago Team Building Activities with Food
Food is the way to many peoples’ hearts and we suspect your coworkers are no different. Try choosing a company event with food for your next team outing. There are many different ways to work eating in to an event, from a food-based competition like The Great Guac Off’s guacamole-making challenge to Chicago food tours to murder mystery dinners. Below are our favorite Chicago team building activities with food.
9. The Great Guac Off™
The Great Guac Off is one of the awesome team building events in Chicago! This guacamole making competition as a corporate event may sound a little unusual, but it is challenging, fun, and collaborative. You and your team will arranged in small groups to encourage a bit of friendly competition. The small teams will then compete to make the room’s best guacamole, and battle it out in mini challenges like trivia and Happy Cup. The Great Guac Off can be hosted nearly anywhere in Chicago, as long as the space has tables and a sink to wash-up.
10. Wrigley Rooftops
Is there anything more “Chicago team building” than catching a baseball game at Wrigley Field? Now you can watch the game and hang out with your team at the same time. Wrigley has not just one or two but 11 VIP rooftops you can rent out for corporate events. Each rooftop has a unique view of the field, some even of the Chicago skyline, and reservations come with all-inclusive food and drinks. You’ll want to choose the right space for your team outing depending on your group size. Some of the spaces are more intimate, hosting up to 30 people. Other rooftops can fit as many as 200 people, making these options good for team building for large groups. It’s also possible to reserve the rooftops for meetings and fun team events as they are fully equipped with high speed WiFi and top quality A/V equipment.
11. Ice Cream Party
For a fun summer outing doing team activities, consider running an ice cream party. Get some gallon buckets of vanilla and a table full of toppings like chocolate sauce, coconut shavings, cashews and sprinkles. Let each of your team members build their own ice cream sundae and then award prizes for the best presentation, highest pile, most likely to melt and similar. There are varieties of non-dairy ice cream, which may be a good addition for your lactose free people.
12. Sidewalk Food Tours Chicago
Do you have any self-proclaimed foodies on your team? If so, then you should look for company outing ideas that include food. You can take your team on a food adventure with Sidewalk Food Tours of Chicago. Even if your team doesn’t consider themselves foodies, this tour can be a good option because everyone loves to eat good food. During your tour, you will check out the best restaurants in the area on a three-hour team outing. Your team can sample deep-dish pizza, authentic tapas, iconic American doughnuts, and more. You will learn all about the food and how it ties into the neighborhood’s culture. Tour details include a flexible start time between 11am-6pm, groups of 10-100 guests, and vegetarian options available at all food stops.
13. Chicago Dine-Around
Chicago Dine-Around specializes in interactive dining experiences for all types of corporate events, including team building. Chicago Dine-Around is an option for any size team and can accommodate groups of up to 560 guests. Chicago Dine-Around also offers many different kinds of events depending on your team’s needs. Team events include a progressive dining tour, an interactive culinary experience, a restaurant scavenger hunt and murder mystery challenge, and escape room dining.
14. The Dinner Detective
Who doesn’t love a good team building murder mystery? The Dinner Detective is the largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show in Chicago. The Dinner Detective’s corporate events are held at the Hilton Garden Inn downtown. Staff can also come to you for a custom private event. The dinner shows are unique in that the murder mysteries take place in present day, which means no old time-y outfits and accents. In fact, fabulous actors will be hidden among the audience to guide the story along. Overall, you get a murder mystery and four-course dinner. The Dinner Detective has worked with teams from Universal Studios, Coca Cola, the US Army, Air Force, Walt Disney Imagineering and more.
15. Chipotle Burrito Fundraiser Party
Visiting Chipotle alone is fun and filling, visiting with friends is better and visiting with your colleagues may be the best of all. Chipotle partners with organizations to do fundraisers where a percentage of sales go toward helping charity. You can bring in your employees and their family and friends to enjoy a meal together, and top the event off with impromptu speeches, icebreaker questions and other fun team activities.
16. Hot Pot Party
Hot pot is a type of cuisine that many people love and others haven’t tried yet. Basically, you get a pot of boiling broth in the middle of the table that can be spicy or flavored in other ways. Then, you order plates of raw meat and vegetables to cook for yourself. Hot pot is a fun team building activity because it takes collaboration to make the meal, and feels like cooking together without being a lot of work. Plus you get a great and healthy meal that should fit most preferences! The link is for some hot pot places listed by Yelp.
Other Team Events in Chicago
Chicago is home to many team building companies, and we’ve included more of these options below. You may find some activities that seem unusual or unconventional and if so then we recommend you give them a try. Team building activities don’t have to be the “same old” or boring and you can score some major points with your team by choosing a fun, new team outing they haven’t tried before.
An appropriate slogan for ScavBoss would be “not your average scavenger hunt.” Instead of just giving difficult clues to follow, ScavBoss uses stories, micro-challenges and a series of elaborate puzzles that you must complete to race to the finish. You could also describe ScavBoss as “smart entertainment”, which means it is both intellectual and fun. These scavenger hunts are super portable so can work as group activities in Chicago’s suburbs, downtown or anywhere else. The company can run team building for large groups or small groups, which means anything from 10 people to 300+ will work.
18. Super Smash Competition
If you have any millennial team members then they probably grew up playing fun N64 games like GoldenEye 007 and Super Smash Brothers. You can bring back the nostalgia in full force by running a video game night at your office. Consoles are available online or at thrift stores, and some of the new consoles can play old games which may give you more flexibility. A cool thing about hosting corporate events like this at your office is that you can play on the big screens you use for presentations. You can complete the team event by making the games a round-robin competition and providing food like cheese and veggie platters.
19. Super Holiday Party
It’s time to get your jingle on with the awesome folks over at Super Holiday Party! Does your company host an annual office holiday party? If yes, then it’s time to shake things up and go big this year with Super Holiday Party. If not, well, then it’s time to shake things up and go big this year with Super Holiday Party! Your group will have an amazing time participating in games and mini-challenges. These events are fun, merry, and you’ll leave feeling jollier than ever. If you’re interested in Super Holiday Party, then the time to act is now; the company only takes reservations from October through December and space is very limited.
20. Game Night Out
Who doesn’t love a game night out as a team building activity? There’s nothing like a little friendly competition between colleagues to improve communication, teamwork, critical thinking skills, and creativity. Game Night Out’s fun corporate events can be a good fit for teams that like games. All the games are original and modelled after classic group party games. You don’t have to worry about choosing which games to play because the whole event will be planned for you down to the order in which to play them. The games are both challenging and familiar. Game Night Out includes a mixture of guessing, logic, skill, strategy, knowledge, and pop-culture, which is a cool opportunity for your next team event. Your team’s enthusiastic host will keep the energy up and the good times rolling. Your room will have a beverage fridge, bottle opener/corkscrew, complimentary bottled waters, cups, ice, and cocktail napkins for groups that wish to bring their own drinks and food. Game Night Out’s fun group activities for adults are capped at 24 people.
21. The Mystery League
In their own words, The Mystery League’s fun corporate events “combine the triumph of breaking a code, the thrill of a good mystery novel, and the adrenaline rush of a playground game of tag.” If that sentence doesn’t sound like a great way to spend some quality team bonding time, then we don’t know what does. The Mystery League offers destination games at the Art Institute of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Harold Washington Library. If those spaces don’t work for your team, then The Mystery League also has games you can do anywhere. The company’s staff will bring the games to your office or any venue you choose for your team bonding. The Mystery League’s corporate team building activities require teamwork to solve the puzzles under tight time constraints. Each event also promotes communication, leadership, and pattern recognition, which are all skills every great team needs.
22. The Game Show Game Show
Have you ever wanted a shot at being on a game show in real life? Does your team love trivia nights? Are your coworkers good at recalling important information quickly and under a bit of pressure? If you answered, “Yes!” then The Game Show Game Show may be a fun corporate event for you. This event is a pretty unusual team building activity in Chicago. You can leave the real world for a few hours and enter a high-energy, fast-paced, technicolor dream landscape of disco balls, sparkly vests, “Spin-It to Win-It” challenges and more. You also have the option to customize the game show trivia to match your company’s brand, products and values. You can also end your team building event with dinner and/or drinks to chat and share your experience.
23. Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts are a little bit different than normal corporate scavenger hunts; instead of actually collecting objects, your team will be solving witty riddles and following clues. On top of an awesome day of team bonding, you’ll also learn about Chicago’s rich culture. Watson Adventures offers a variety of two-hour scavenger hunts full of team building, creative games, and trivia. Types of scavenger hunts include murder mysteries, puzzles, snack-filled, ghost hunts, and trivia hunts. Watson Adventures also offers custom content that will get your team communicating, collaborating, and having fun.
24. Fury Room Chicago
You could categorize Fury Room Chicago among the unusual Chicago team building activities. The event may seem a little odd at first, but who among us hasn’t wanted to smash a TV or anything else satisfyingly breakable? If your team is finishing up a significantly stressful quarter, then Fury Room may be a fun activity for your employees to relax and let out the stress. Fury Room has broken the experience down into four steps. First, come as you are. Second, suit up in protective gear and crank your favorite tunes. Third, choose your weapon and SMASH, and finally you should leave feeling good. You can book a group event or company offsite to blow off some steam. What are you going to smash? Loads of things like; plates, glasses, TVs, furniture, and more. You can even customize your corporate events by uploading an image of something onto the objects that you will be be smashing. Maybe your team is trying to overcome an obstacle or reach a goal? Print out a symbol of that obstacle and your team can smash it together.
Pinstripes is located on the Chicago River in the historic River East Arts Center, which means it has some of the best views in the city! The venue is also a cool place to host your next company offsite. On top of gorgeous views, delicious food, tasty drinks and a high-end atmosphere, Pinstripes offers fun games that promote team bonding. You can grab a drink and bowl a few games or try your hand at bocce ball. The venue is a good option for casual happy hours and team building for large groups. If you have a big team and need to plan your next fun team event, then Pinstripes is a good option because it can accommodate up to 220 people.
26. Fox in a Box
Fox in a Box offers escape rooms in Chciago. Escape rooms can notoriously get pretty intense and they rely heavily on trust and communication, which is a good foundation for team building. Escape rooms are a strong option for building relationships within new teams, repairing relationships between coworkers and cultivating deeper bonds between team members. For your team event you can choose from the following four adventures: The Bunker, The Bank, The Prison, or Zodiac. Each of these rooms offer heart-pounding adventures that will get the adrenaline pumping and the communication flowing. Each room can accommodate two through six people, which is perfect for small team building groups. Fox in a Box can also host up to 24 people at the same time by splitting your team up into smaller groups and spreading out across the different rooms.
27. Escape Artistry
Escape Artistry’s rooms are unique in that each one is handcrafted by local Chicago artisans. A fully theatrical and immersive experience is sure to test your team’s ability to communicate, work together and remain calm under pressure. Escape Artistry has six fun, group activities for adults across two locations: The Railcar, Operation G.R.A.N.I.E., The Dollhouse, Duck & Cover Classroom, Detective vs. Dillinger, and Roaring Dan’s Pirate Dungeon. You and your team have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle, find the key and escape. Are you up for this team bonding challenge?
28. The Escape Game Chicago
Another escape room option for your next team event is The Escape Game in Chicago. The Escape Game offers five unique experiences. You can choose from The Heist, Prison Break, Gold Rush, Mission: Mars, or Special Ops: Mysterious Market. Or, get crazy and challenge yours team to solve more than one room. Escape rooms are ideal for smaller team outings, as each one can accommodate only a few players.
29. Art Room Events
Art Room Events has something to offer every company offsite and team outing. With at least four different experiences designed for team building events, we’re sure you’ll find something Art Room offers that works for your group. The event options include a speakeasy murder mystery cocktail game, coffee painting and tasting, a tiki boat party, and various seasonal events. For example: pumpkin carving, holiday movie screening, or a tea party.
30. Chicago Beer Experience
Chicago Beer Experience will guide your team on a walking tour through one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods. You won’t only learn about and taste delicious beer, you’ll also hear tales of the city’s history. Do you know about the 1855 lager beer riots, the German fueled beer expansion in the 1800s, the Prohibition, the mob, and Capone’s days? You will know about these topics after this team event! And, depending on which of the three corporate tours you choose for your team activities, you’ll also get to sample some mouth watering food. Food options include bacon, a Chicago-style hot dog, and Chicago-style pizza. All tours can accommodate up to 18 people and if you have a large team, then you can still be accommodated on two or more tours.
31. Chicago Detours
If you want to get to know your team and the city on a whole new level, then check out Chicago Detours. Chicago Detours specializes in group experiences that deep dive into Chicago’s architecture, history and unique culture. The Chicago Detours experience includes historic bars, Chicago’s food history, interior architecture, real jazz and blues. Chicago Detours offers private tours for both small and large groups. The small-group team building tour is for up to eight guests and can be done on foot or by vehicle. If you have nine or more people, then check out the large private walking, bus and boat tours. Chicago Detours has over 15 different company outing ideas to choose from.
Spin, a ping-pong social club located in River North, is one option for your company’s next team event. With plenty to do, including ping-pong, a photo booth, delicious food, drinks and other team activities, your team is sure to have a pretty good time. Spin features include 20 ping-pong tables, full service catering and a bar, two VIP lounges, and a heated indoor/outdoor patio. You can take your team building events to the next level with custom prizes and swag. If you send Spin your logo then the staff will create awesome items for your team to take home. You can choose from items like ping-pong paddles and balls, decals for the tables, custom t-shirts, hats, and sweatbands, custom messages in the photo booth, and gift cards. (Note from Team Building Chicago: swag like this is a cool way to show gratitude to employees.)
33. Art Institute of Chicago
Museums are an important cultural resource and world class attractions. Many tourists and locals visit the Art Institute of Chicago every day, and your team can visit too. To make the most of your museum team building adventure, plan a scavenger hunt of the art or go on an organized tour. Giving your employees a chance to see the museum in a new way will be something they remember for years to come.
34. Board Game Night
Not all team building activities have to be a team outing. Instead of taking your employees to an experience outside the office, host your own event instead. You can get board games online, as well as used at thrift stores and sometimes at libraries. You can host a game night and get snacks to enjoy during the event. Your team will love showing their skill at Monopoly, Risk, Life and other classics.
35. Adventure Games Inc.
Take your team on a busy adventure through the Windy City. Want your team to focus on a specific goal during your team building activity? Adventure Games Inc. can help with a variety of team bonding games, each focused on a different theme. If you are looking for something more custom for your next team outing, and want to put the work into that customization, then the company offers a “build your own” team building activity.
36. Lincoln Park Picnic
Nearly everyone likes spending time outside, and a great way to do that with your team is with a company picnic. You’ve probably seen this type of picnic in movies about work in the 1950s, which we interpret as almost 70 years of great team building. To make the most of your picnic, invite your employees friends and family and serve up a BBQ of awesome food. Also, organize games like icebreaker questions and scavenger hunts to get the team bonding element too.
37. Whirly Ball
Whirly Ball offers unique all-day and half-day fun team building activities. This event is five to eight hours of food, fun and team bonding. The space is available Monday through Friday and you must have 20 or more people in your team to plan a private event. Depending on which package you book, your day will include breakfast, lunch, appetizers, beverages and fun. What makes this venue unique for corporate team building activities in Chicago is bumper cars. But that’s not all; WhirlyBall also has bowling and laser tag. We’re all probably more familiar with bowling as a team outing, but when is the last time you zoomed around on bumper cars and played a competitive game of laser tag with your coworkers? This place is sure to show your team a fun time and create some memories in the process! After all, teams who play together stay together.
Have you ever wanted to fly as part of your team outing? Indoor skydiving at iFLY is just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. This thrilling and adrenaline packed corporate event is sure to bond your team on a new and deeper level. For example, sharing and overcoming your fear and supporting and cheering on your fellow teammates will cultivate trust and build stronger relationships. You can cheer on team members as they take their turn inside the world’s most technically advanced flying tunnels. iFLY offers three packages for teams depending on size, as well as an option to buy out the space.
39. Firehouse Team Building
Firehouse Teamventures is America’s first ever firefighting based corporate events program! Firehouse Teamventures offers experiences for your team building events that are designed by real firefighters focused on strategy, communication, and fun. Each event is tailored to your team’s goals, abilities and activity level. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of firefighting drills. Yes, the corporate event ideas are bold and adventurous, but the team building events are also low impact and safe for participants from ages 12 to 72. Firehouse Team Building offers corporate programs for any group size up to 500, and even a mobile option if you can’t make it to the company’s space. This option is a good one for team building for large groups.
With so many amazing Chicago team building activities and workshops to choose from, there is no reason you shouldn’t get at least one of these events on your calendar ASAP.
Remember, team building (when done right!) will result in stronger teams, improved communication and collaboration skills, and an overall increase in employee satisfaction and retention.
If you have any questions about company team building activities and corporate event ideas in Chicago, Illinois, or Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, or other cities in the surrounding area, then don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We at Team Building Chicago would love to connect about your company values and specific needs in order to find the perfect team building events for you!
Frequently Asked Questions About Team Building in Chicago
Not every team building activity is created equal, and it’s normal and expected to have questions about them. Below you will find some of the common questions and our answers on this subject.
What are the best Chicago team building activities?
There are no definitive “best team building activities in Chicago”, instead there are several very good options and others that you can also consider. For example, Museum Hack listed above has thousands of five star reviews for their tours in various cities. The Great Guac Off is another strong option, especially because it includes food and is location-flexible which means you can do it either as a company outing or hold it at your office.
Is there a difference between team building and team bonding?
The short answer is, yes, there is a meaningful difference. Team building is typically a business investment in future productivity and collaboration, while team bonding is more about having fun and improving friendships at work. The goals are similar, but the methods can vary. If what you want is a team building activity then choose a company that specializes in that.
What time of year is best for team building activities in Chicago?
In many ways, team building is an all-year effort. However in Chicago you need to be aware of the seasons. During the summer you can do fun outdoor activities, and during the autumn and winter you should take the activities indoors.