About this Vendor
Your Secret Garden on the Lake
The Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier, operated by Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, is a beautiful indoor, one-acre, botanical garden. This six-story glass atrium with a 50 foot arched ceiling holds over 80 live palm trees, lush foliage, hanging "twinkle lights" and dancing "leapfrog" fountains. A partial garden rental is ideal for up to 225 guests and will secure 2/3 of the gardens, private. Other Navy Pier guests can walk through one side of the gardens, but they cannot access your event space. A Full Garden rental can accommodate up to 525 guests and will secure the entire Crystal Gardens, private. It is ideal for 225 guests or more. There is no rental fee, but there is a food & beverage minimum based on your event date. Please see our Wedding Packages at CrystalGardensCatering.com
Amenities + Details
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Ballroom, Waterfront, Garden, Park
Bar + Drinks, Cakes + Desserts, Food + Catering, Rentals + Equipment, Service Staff
This was the perfect place for our daughter's wedding! We could not have asked for anything more. Michelle Mori did a wonderful job going over everything with us and was very quick to respond to all our many needs and questions. The food was very good and we had many compliments from our families and loved ones. We would highly recommend this venue for you're wedding or next event!
Choosing to have our wedding at the Crystal Gardens was one of the best decisions we ever made! Our guests are still talking about how it was the most beautiful venue they've ever been to and how the food was delicious! Kaylan and the team at the Crystal Gardens made planning very easy. I really loved working with Kaylan and am so thankful for all that she did to make our day run so smoothly. I HIGHLY recommend having your ceremony and reception here!
Beautiful AND great service!Reviewed on 10/24/2013 Mallory J
I will say, this venue is very expensive...but worth every penny. The venue is absolutely breathtaking (especially at night when the ferris wheel is lit) and you can't beat the location. The service was great and the catering (Phil Stefani signature events) was delicious. Sharon, the planner at the gardens is amazing to work with and so helpful!
We had an amazing time at our reception! We ended up doing the partial garden and honestly didn't even notice the difference - with the signs and security we were basically the only ones there. The Crystal Gardens is just such a unique place - our guests couldn't stop talking about how awesome everything looked. We loved that we didn't really need to spend money on up-lighting or other decor because the space itself is so cool on it's own. Michelle was great to work with and always answered all of our many questions - she took care of the details on the day of so we felt like we didn't need to worry about it. You can tell that she likes what she's doing. We also appreciated that she was very straightforward. The cost of the reception was exactly what we expected based on our first meeting, and honestly cheaper than some of the other places we looked in Chicago - which is shocking because it's such an incredible space. The appetizers and bar service were fantastic (seriously, the apps were the highlight for us, and our guests never had to wait in a long line at the bar for drinks). The dinner was ok - definitely far from the worst wedding food we've had, but not the absolute best. The service itself was great. They were really accommodating to our guests (finding space to let them charge cameras and phones that would be tucked away, bringing out coffee ahead of dinner when people asked). Overall, it really ended up being the perfect day, and if we could do it all over again, we'd absolutely choose to do it at the Crystal Garden's.
All of our guests raved about the food, service, ambiance, and location. Michelle was very attentive to our needs throughout our wedding planning process and made sure our evening at the Chrystal Gardens far exceeded our expectations. The Navy Pier attractions, view of the Chicago skyline and the new ferris wheel made for a truly memorable evening (not to mention the fireworks display)!
We are SO happy we decided on this wonderful location for our wedding. Kaylan was a joy to work with: so responsive, responsible, and helpful, efficient, honest, and straight to the point. She managed so much up until the very last second - thank you, Kaylan! As for the location, when we first walked in, we knew this was the venue to beat: the trickling fountains, the green flora, the singing birdies, the gorgeous light fixtures, the outdoor feel with indoor comfort, the quirky fairgrounds, the lake... What made our choice a no-brainer was the surprisingly reasonable price for the partial space, which includes Kaylan's hard work, amazingly tasty catering of drinks and foods by Phil Stefani, and a nice selection of linens. The entire experience was absolutely magical. Two tips: Tip No 1: The partial space is perfect! Don't worry about feeling exposed or too public - the wooden shutters block out people and the security guards do a spectacular job keeping crashers out. And sound travels so poorly that outside noise never makes it into your space... which brings me to Tip No 2: Sound travels really poorly in the gardens, so MAKE SURE you have a good sound system, usually provided by your DJ or band. Crystal Gardens FTW!!!
The venue is truly beautiful - I cannot express this enough. It surpassed my expectations. Food was amazing as was the service throughout.
Everything about our wedding was perfect!! We've heard nothing but positive things from all of our guests. Kaylan, the coordinator, was so attentive and would always get right back to us with our questions and requests. The food was amazing. The staff the day of was great. Everyone was so willing to do what they can to make sure everything was perfect. The fireworks during the reception was a huge hit. I highly recommend this venue, definitely worth the money!
Our April 9 wedding was absolutely perfect! Michelle and Clinton were fantastic to work with and made the planning enjoyable and not stressful whatsoever. Vendors were all organized, thanks to her help, so the wedding and reception were seamless.
Wedding wonderlandReviewed on 12/01/2015 Tolu O
Our wedding at the crystal gardens exceeded our expectations.We chose the venue because it is downtown and would be a great way for our out of town guests to experience the city. It is a beautiful location and nothing beats the lit up ferris wheel as a backdrop. However, what made our experience wholesome was the service provided by the staff including our coordinator Michelle. She was patient and accommodating even as our guest count kept growing and all the complications that came with that. Our guests loved every bit of it, the food, the presentation, the service and so did we. We would confidently recommend The Crystal Gardens to any one!
Absolutely stunning!Reviewed on 11/14/2015 RaeAnn D
Could not have asked for a better venue. It was the wedding of my dreams!! Michelle was so helpful and accomatating. She genuinely cares about your needs and will always make time for you. She will try and make every request work. Everything went smoothly and as planned. (What more could a bride ask for?!) the food was amazing and everything turned out beautiful. We are still getting complements on both almost 4 months later! The venues beauty speaks for itself. We had both the wedding ceremony and reception here and it was like two completely different venues. Gorgeous in the daylight and once it got dark it was like a whole new place. It accommodated our 250 guests easily and there was more than enough room for everyone. We were able to take pictures on the carousel which was so fun and turned out great! I cannot recommend this venue enough. I couldn't have asked for a better place to have my wedding and would have it there all over again! It made you feel like you were outdoors during the day without the worries of Chicago weather (a definite unneeded stressor on the wedding day). All the guests were comfortable so the heat was not a problem either (as the wedding was in July). Thank you Michelle and crystal gardens for helping to make the wedding of our dreams a reality! This day will never be forgotten! Cannot cleat thank you enough!!
Couldn't have been better!Reviewed on 8/10/2015 Stacy S
Kaylan and the team at the Crystal Gardens rocked! I feel like they worked with us on everything and had no interest in "nickel and diming" us along the way. They actually let us design the entire menu, from apps to entrée and didn't charge a penny extra. A month or so before the wedding we wanted to make a change that reduced the cost a bit (we got rid of a dessert) and they had no problem letting us do so. But most importantly they were GREAT to work with. The Chef was kind and accommodating, the staff that evening were spot on, and the venue was gorgeous. And oh, by the way, they don't charge for use of the room! As long as you use Phil Stefani as the caterer - the room is free! Try finding that somewhere else downtown. Everything was pretty much perfect - we can't think of even one hiccup when it come to the Crystal Gardens. They even did a smaller second tasting for us when we wanted to change some of out own ideas around! All in all, they were gracious, flexible, kind, generous, and delightful to work with. We couldn't recommend them more.
HANDS DOWN BEST PLACE TO HAVE A WEDDING!!!Reviewed on 7/21/2015
We had our wedding at the Crystal Gardens @ Navy Pier. IT IS THE BEST PLACE TO HAVE A WEDDING!! Summertime in Chicago on the Pier with the fireworks and great atmosphere.... What more could anyone want! The food was out of this world.. EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED RAVED ABOUT THE FOOD!!! **Not to mention the fireworks ;) Kaylan (the sales manager) is at the top of her game! Accommodated us with whatever we needed. COULDN'T BE HAPPIER WE CHOSE THE CRYSTAL GARDENS!!! RECOMMENDED TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE TO HAVE THEIR EVENT THERE!!!
Flawless From Start to FinishReviewed on 10/25/2014
Our daughter got married October 18, 2014, and her reception was at the Crystal Gardens Navy Pier in Chicago! Anyone with a daughter who has a "vision" of the perfect wedding should definitely consider Crystal Gardens for the venue! From your first inquiry with a coordinator to picking up your decorations after the wedding, they will give you what they promise WITHOUT EXCEPTION! The venue is unlike any other "cookie cutter" banquet hall, our guests used adjectives such as enchanting, magical, flawless, perfect and seamless! The atrium itself, with its' palm trees, white lighting, jumping waters and natural stone flooring is phenomenal! But an amazing venue does not a success story make! The staff works together like a finely tuned machine! Everyone from your coordinator, to the servers, kitchen staff, waiters, bartenders, coat check, security right down to the washroom attendants work seamlessly as a unit to ensure that your event runs smoothly from start to finish! Kaylan Ramella was our coordinator! New to the Gardens and replacing Sharon, our original contact, we were a little concerned how she would fill the large shoes of her predecessor! Well, she impressed the heck out of us!!! Her communication with our daughter, even about the smallest of details, was quick, efficient and pleasant! The night of the wedding, she and her staff had all in place to even the tiniest detail, so that we were able to just walk in and enjoy! She was in constant contact with either myself or the bride further ensuring that things were going smoothly all through the night! The set-up of the ceremony and breakdown of same went unnoticed even to our guests. I cannot say enough about how invaluable her input, suggestions, expertise and overall genuine kindness added to the amazing outcome of the reception! The food.....Fernando, the catering manager, who introduced himself to us at the tasting, takes so much pride in what he does, it was no surprise that the food, from the first appetizer to the very last pastry cornet, was delicious and served with impeccable style just as we had seen at the tasting! If you are looking for a venue for a wedding or any other event, the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier will give you EXACTLY what they promise, without exception!
One of Kind, True Chicago VenueReviewed on 9/28/2014
There is no other venue that offers that electric, true Chicago atmosphere, and changes continuously through out the evening. The beauty of the botanical gardens with dancing water spouts in the daylight hours changes over to an electrified evening with white twinkling lights suspended from the ceiling, illuminated palm trees, the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel and carousel (which a few of our guests actually went for a ride) all with the Chicago skyline in the background. The bar area is great, large service area so our guest lines were virtually non-existent with a large partially covered balcony and beautiful view. The food, Phil Stefani Catering was very good, and their selections are wide ranging to accommodate anyone’s preference. They are also very flexible and willing to accommodate special requests, like dry ice in drinks, bar upgrades, signature drinks, etc. The wait and bar tending staff was excellent, very friendly and receptive our every need. Of course, Sharon Powers, CG coordinator, was our first contact and the one responsible for getting the ball rolling. She was truly wonderful to work with and the heart & soul of everything we did. Her infectious personality is what sold us on CG. It started with her, and just blossomed with all her recommendations. Not everything is perfect at any venue, so a few things to consider. If your budget allows, book the whole room. I do not recommend the half room, takes away from the magic and is open to the public. The entrance way to the bar area (restaurant) is not very appealing and needs to be considered in your budget to cover up depending on your taste. We went elegant, so wanted it covered. CG did work with us to offset the cost The floor is a stamped concrete with a rough surface, difficult for women to walk on so offer flip flops Overall, a unique magical venue that is true Chicago that you and your guests will never forget. One of a kind!
PERFECT Wedding VenueReviewed on 8/25/2014 Trish H
The Crystal Gardens was the perfect place to have a wedding in Chicago! It accommodated 350 people easily and the bar line never got too long. The space was absolutely breathtaking and went from lush and bright when we arrived to a twinkling wonderland with the ferris wheel and skyline in the background. Sharon Powers was wonderful to work with a very accommodating. She was always there to answer e-mails and questions SUPER quickly and went above and beyond for us. She made sure that everything was taken care of and made us feel special. She even came over at the beginning of dinner with a special plate of the appetizers for us to try, which was super nice because we didn't get to try any of them because we were so busy talking to people during the cocktail hour :) The food was also great (we received many compliments from our guests about how wonderful the food was). The pasta was the biggest hit, and the filet was a close 2nd.
Beautiful NightReviewed on 7/29/2014 Sara F
I had my wedding here on July 12, 2014. You cannot find a venue with a more beautiful Chicago backdrop than this one. There are twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling, beautiful greenery everywhere, and when it gets dark, the ferris wheel lights up the entire glass wall on the side of the venue. On top of that, Sharon Powers, our coordinator, went above and beyond making sure that our night was spectacular. The food was incredible and so was the service. Thank you, Sharon, and all of the other staff at The Crystal Gardens, for one of the best nights of my husband's and my life!
Dream Come True Wedding :)Reviewed on 7/24/2014 Kathi F
I had my wedding at The Crystal Gardens on June 28, 2014. Everything was absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't make any changes. It was the wedding of my dreams and I couldn't have imagined anything better. My guests could not stop raving about this venue. From the gorgeous scenery in the daytime to the magnificence of the lights inside and on the ferris wheel and swings outside, to the fireworks...just unbelievable. Amazing food. Complete perfection. I would also like to say that Sharon Powers was our coordinator there and couldn't have been any better. She went above and beyond in every way possible, was always extremely helpful and kind and cheerful, and was extremely responsive to our needs by responding 100% of the time shortly after we would contact her. My mom and I had many conversations about how amazing she is. Sharon made my wedding a pleasure to plan. I can't rave about her enough. I can't imagine having had my wedding anywhere else!
Chicago Paradise!Reviewed on 6/16/2014 Suzanne
We just had our wedding here this past weekend, and I could not be happier. This is such a unique and fun venue. From start to finish, this experience was great. Sharon, the event coordinator, is a wonderful asset to this space. She always responded extremely quickly, and always answered any and all questions. Even a year plus out, she made me feel like a priority, and like I mattered and wasn't just another bride. The food here is exquisite. And it's not "wedding food", meaning that it's delicious at the tasting and then comes out completely different at the wedding. I was beyond pleased with the food and drink. The space transforms itself in the span of the evening. When it's light out, it's lush and bright, and then becomes a twinkling wonderland with a ferris wheel and skyscape background. I'm SO excited to see the pictures. There are so many places to choose from when you're having a wedding, and I'm so glad we went with this particular one!!!
A Magical Night!!!Reviewed on 3/19/2014 Shawn K
The Crystal Gardens, Stefani catering, and Sharon Plucinski-Powers were absolutely FABULOUS to work with!!!! The night was perfect under the lights of the ferris wheel and with the Chicago skyline amidst the snowflakes. The food was excellent and Fernando (head chef) was very flexible and creative, honoring our "Irish" and "Chicago" themes... We have been complimented by so many of our guests on the delicious food and drinks... and the impeccable service/everyone was offered even more food! There was never a line at the bar which is impressive at a wedding with 270 guests and Irish roots. :) Sharon was so lovely... and made my life so much easier as an out-of-town bride! She went above and beyond helping with all of our vendors and even storing and re-packing all of our decorations after the big event. We are so happy to have worked with her! All in all... A magical venue that is made even better by the fabulous staff whom work there!
Breathtaking venue with an amazing staff!Reviewed on 3/08/2014 Annie G
I had my wedding at the Crystal Gardens on Navy Pier in December, and it was truly everything I ever dreamed of. This venue is beautiful any time of the year, but in winter in Chicago, my guests said they felt like they were on vacation. Not only is the venue beautifully decorated and kept up, but the service there is just as wonderful. Sharon Powers is an amazing resource for any bride to have when planning a wedding as she was always willing to provide guidance and her opinion on how to make the day extra special. She was always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that my wedding day was exactly what I dreamed about. The food is amazing, and if you want to get a feel for the food, visit a Phil Stefani restaurant, and you will be impressed by the quality of the food. The wait staff did a phenomenal job on my actual wedding day, never skipping a beat, or missing a cue to meet our guests' needs. This is a venue that is one-of-a-kind, and unlike any other banquet hall or ballroom. We received so many compliments on the overall experience of our wedding, and a lot of that was because of the venue and the atmosphere of the gardens. We absolutely loved working with the Crystal Gardens and Navy Pier, and look forward to taking trips back there to reminisce.
Spectacular venue to showcase Chicago!Reviewed on 11/19/2013 Claire D
I got married this past month at the Crystal Gardens, and it was really a fantastic way to showcase the city. We had both the ceremony and the reception at the venue and the transition was absolutely seamless. I had a lot of guests that were in town from Europe and the east and west coasts. This venue gave me a great opportunity to show off the city of Chicago with outstanding skyline views and a really unique, beautiful space. I worked with Sharon through the entire process and she is truly outstanding at what she does. She's super easy to work with and very quick to respond. I appreciated her helping me through the entire process, but do think it's important that you have a day-of coordinator there for load-ins and the event. The food was awesome and our guests really appreciated the signature drink that was thrown in for the ceremony. The only issue I had was that it is a public location, and although we had the partial gardens reserved, particularly prior to our ceremony, there were a LOT of people milling around, trying to get in to our blocked off area and causing a bit of noise during the ceremony. This was quite frustrating, but I suppose comes along with the nature of the venue. Overall, I couldn't have asked for anything better.
The most gorgeous place for a receptionReviewed on 11/01/2013 Heather L
We decided that nothing else could compare and are so happy that we chose Crystal Gardens! Everything was top quality and the staff was wonderful. There was nothing typical about this place and the food was amazing. Everyone is still talking about how awesome our reception was and some of our guests even rode the ferris wheel! We couldn't be happier, it was more expensive than we'd planned originally but we decided that there is no better reason than to throw the best party we could to celebrate our marriage with our family and friends. It was a perfect night and we will have great memories because this place is so unique and beautiful.
Wedding ReceptionReviewed on 11/03/2012 Jonathan S
Our experience in the planning and execution of our wedding and reception was phenomenal. This location is one of the most beautiful locations for a Chicago Wedding in the fall. We held our wedding and reception here and the venue, service and food was fabulous. We did 3 stations of food and no planned seating and the guests raved about it all night and after the wedding.
Loved it and so did everyone else!Reviewed on 10/22/2012 Carson K
The place is a dream. It's gorgeous during the day, and even more elegant at night. Photos with the Lake, the Museum Campus, the Ferris Wheel...all in the background. We even did photos on the carousel. The food was terrific. Kate Samuelson, our contact there, really knows her stuff. She is great and so helpful. She wants you to have the best night of your life. All of our guests are still raving about our venue...and it's a month later!