Whether you’re based in the Windy City or coming here for a meeting, you won’t be disappointed by the variety and quality of Chicago team building activities to choose from.
Some of the most intelligent, creative and entrepreneurial minds in the world flock to Chicago to start tech companies, work at medical centers, restaurants, theaters and more. This is just the place to get the creative juices flowing, build morale, and increase engagement.
Informal Outings For Your Team
Simply enjoying Chicago together can have real value. The benefits might not be as immediate or recognizable as a professionally facilitated team program, but you can build trust and camaraderie by simply spending quality time together out of your work space.
This article includes a list of my 5 favorite professionally facilitated team building programs in Chicago. But before we get to that list, I thought I’d share ideas for informal outings that will help you build relationships with your colleagues.
While not your traditional idea of Chicago team building activities, doing any of the below with your work team has validity.
- Feel the Blues – Did you know that Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Cream, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience all credit the Chicago urban blues scene for influencing their styles? Take in a show at Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club or the House of Blues. Sit back, get to know each other in a different setting and have a little fun together.
- Shoot for the Stars – One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is visit the Adler Planetarium. They have a top-notch museum and educational center for the casual curious mind and future space explorer alike. You can literally spend hours getting lost in space in there. Once you get your head out of the clouds, hop on over to nearby Navy Pier overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan.
- Get a Little Artsy – The sculpture, Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”) proudly sits just outside of Grant Park in the very popular Loop area of Chicago. Grab your group and take a selfie with the famous sculpture, then head over to Tavern at the Park for a little lunch al fresco. Since you’re just around the corner, you should stop at The Art Institute of Chicago. You can’t miss seeing Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, or Grant Wood’s American Gothic. The art and the history will likely inspire great conversation among your group.
- Batter Up – Taking in a Cubs game is one the most popular outings for both Chicago residents and visitors. And now there’s a whole new Wrigley Field that makes visiting even more fun. The second oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country recently got a face lift. While you may not consider going to a ball game with your work crew one of the traditional Chicago team building activities, there’s real value in the bonding that will most definitely occur. Sharing with your peers, creating memories and forging better bonds; what’s wrong with that?
Top 5 Chicago Team Building Activities
When you want or need professionally facilitated team programs, The Windy City won’t let you down. Here are ideas to consider.
- Tell Your Story, Sing Your Song – I’m passionate, and admittedly a bit biased, about my company’s program, Team Building Through Song®. But with Chicago’s rich musical history, it’s one of the ultimate Chicago team building activities. We’ve led songwriting programs at Buddy Guy’s blues club, at historic recording studios and even on the shores of Lake Michigan (during the summer)! If you’re at a hotel for a big conference, our large group programs fit for up to several thousand people. Whether you’re part of a corporate team, a small company or an association you have a message and culture that differentiates you from others. Song programs will help you tell your group story. You’ll create powerful takeaways as you write your own team chart toppers. Music brings a great mash up of intellect and emotion, great for motivation and engagement. But bottom line and most important, programs with music are fun!
- Laugh it Off – Perhaps the most distinguished improve company in America is in Chicago: The Second City. Alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, and the list goes on. You and your group will learn techniques to help you think on your feet, communicate, and collaborate. Think you got what it takes to make ‘em laugh?
- Swing Into Action – For a unique, dare-devilish experience, The Trapeze School in Chicago might fit the bill. You and your team will encourage each other to face your fears, let go and try new challenges together. Ready to take a risk and build trust? Leotards aren’t required…!
- Game On – Some people aren’t big on party games, but I love a good old fashion game night. Leave your inhibitions at the door and let Game Night Out turn up the competition factor within your group. Break into teams, play games that are familiar to the ones you know and love, but are different enough to provide a true challenge. You’ll work together to capture the coveted title of team champs!
- See What’s Cooking – Chicago Dine Around offers a variety of programs where you can tour different restaurants and taste test culinary cuisine from the best Chicago has to offer. The real team building value comes from their program where you cook together. Your group will use problem solving and team work to make your own unique recipes. Maybe you’ll even create your own deep dish pizza. Move over Lou Malnati’s!
Formal or informal, summer or winter, resident or visitor…Chicago is a fantastic place to live, to work and to partake in quality experience for your work team.