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18 Fun Activities For Outdoor Team Building in Chicago

As teams are getting used to being back together, some leaders are seeing a slight disconnect in the
workplace. For many remote teams that are returning to the office, the dynamics seem to have changed.
Fortunately, group activities can help your team to reconnect, develop stronger bonds, and unwind—even
if they have been apart for months. In this article, we will explore a few of the best team building options
available for Chicago teams.

Keeping Team Building Activities COVID-Safe for Your Staff

In-person team building allows your team to engage face-to-face and bond in new ways. After so much time spent apart, bringing everyone together is a key focus for leaders. Team bonding activities can really get your team talking, but it is only natural to want to approach these events as safely as possible. For teams that are trying to be more COVID-conscious, it can really help to focus on outdoor activities—especially when COVID cases can really fluctuate in an area.


The best team building activities in Chicago are ones that encourage your staff to have fun and spend time together, no matter the location. Outdoor-friendly options can help your team to feel more comfortable while still getting to spend that time together. Avoid the public and focus on your team by choosing a private outdoor event that your team will love. If your team is happier inside, that is just fine too!

Outdoor Activities

Corporate events can be fun, but no one ever said that they need to be indoors. You can enjoy a variety of team outings outside, giving your team a chance to get fresh air and enjoy each other’s company.

a close up of a person serving a piece of pizza

Who wants a slice of Chicago deep dish?

1. Sidewalk Food Tours
Sidewalk Food Tours is a wonderful way to explore Chicago on foot while also enjoying incredible local
foods. Offering both indoor and outdoor food tours, they have several different food tours to meet the
interests of every team. Your staff will love getting some exercise and enjoying tasty treats from local
eateries. For added COVID-friendliness, this group also offers a completely outdoor option upon request.


a guy with red helmet on ziplining in the forest

Did you know you could go ziplining in the nature of Chicago!

2. Go Ape! Zipline and Adventure Park

This fun and COVID-friendly opportunity can provide your staff with a one-of-a-kind experience that they won’t get anywhere else. Teams that are active and love to tackle new challenges can explore the Go Ape! adventure park to experience the world from the trees. Offering ziplines and fun courses, this is great for active teams.


a dog walking through Labagh Woods

Take in some fresh air for this dog-friendly Chicago adventure!

3. Go Explore LaBagh Woods
Located just a short drive away, the LaBagh Woods provides a beautiful backdrop that your team will love to explore. It is the perfect opportunity to get out and experience the area, breathe in the fresh air, and make lasting connections. This area’s picnic sites make it the perfect place to visit and enjoy a meal together.


a group of people kayaking down the Chicago River

Kayaking down Chicago River!

4. Take to the Water with Kayak Chicago

Do you have an adventurous team that loves to get outside and have a ton of fun? A kayak trip might just be the perfect way to spend time! Kayak Chicago can fit your team with everything they need to get out and enjoy Montrose Beach from the water. Offering fun, memories, and exceptional safety practices, this team building activity is a wonderful fit for active teams!


a bird's eye view of a picnic with flowers, juice, vegetables, pizza, sandwiches and more.

BYOF – AKA a potluck in the park!

5. Enjoy a Picnic at Millennium Park
Millennium Park is one of the most beautiful spaces that Chicago has to offer, making it the perfect place to bring people together. Offering plenty of room, this is a great way to move your team building activities outside for a change. Try a few ice breaker exercises before you enjoy a lovely picnic in the area. For a quieter retreat, try going after 6 pm on Thursday or Friday when the park requires all persons under the age of 18 to be with an adult.


Chicago's First Lady is a ship that is for tourists and locals to cruise on

Chicago’s First Lady calling “all aboard”!

6. See the City Aboard Chicago’s First Lady
Chicago’s First Lady is a wonderful boat tour option that can be a lot of fun for groups of all sizes. Giving you the opportunity to stand out on the deck and watch the world go by or to retreat inside for quiet relaxation, this is a really fun experience. Whether your team has just flown in from another state or been in Chicago their entire lives, this one is always a hit.


Purple flowers in spring in Chicago

Catch all of their beautiful blooms!

7. Take a Peaceful Stroll Through Lurie Garden
Sometimes the best way to bond and decompress with your team after a stressful project is with a little tranquility. There is so much to see and enjoy in Lurie Garden, allowing your team to explore different plants in every season. Offering peace and comfort, walking Lurie Garden is a great way to get outside and spend time together in a calmer way.


the side profile of an eastern black rhinoceros

Ever seen an Eastern Black Rhino?

8. Take a Walk on the Wild Side at Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo is a wonderful location that will bring out your inner child, and it is just plain fun. Take your team on a nice walk around this outdoor facility to marvel at amazing animals and learn more about the ways that the animal kingdom works together. For fun and a little silliness, the zoo never fails.


tall ship windy setting sail at sunset in Chicago

The Sunset Sails are hard to beat.

9. Take a Themed Cruise with Tall Ship Windy
The Tall Ship Windy is a gorgeous schooner that will instantly teleport your team to a different and exciting world. This group offers a variety of themed cruises, including pirates, haunted harbors, and a tour of local architecture. You will find that this is one trip that will always be well-received. Your team will have fun experiencing the event while also getting amazing photos of local features.

a man and woman riding down a path lined with trees, riding segways

There’s never been a segway tour without laughs!

10. See Chicago at a New Pace with Chicago Segway Tour
Segways have been popular since their invention, and they can be a lot of fun for teams. With this tour group, you can head out on designated segways and take on the city in style. Lead your pack on these thrilling devices and see exciting local spaces in an entirely new way. With your tour guide, you will always know exactly where to go!



Indoor Activities

Some teams prefer to get inside and do something fun, and Chicago has plenty of wonderful team
bonding activities that are available indoors. Offering access to climate-controlled spaces and exciting
ways to pass time, these indoor activities will keep your team engaged and looking forward to the next
event. There are some really fun team building activities in Chicago that come with air conditioning and
heating for those more extreme Chicago days!

musician playing the banjo against a wood wall

Go for the tunes!

11. Enjoy Live Music and Drinks at The Empty Bottle
First opened in 1992, this local bar was not all that impressive to start. However, after years of upkeep, love, and local customers, it has quickly become a designated hot spot for live music and drinks with friends and coworkers. If your team really needs to unwind, this is one location that is perfect for leaving work talk behind.


people shooting hoops on a light-up basketball arcade game

It just might be the best arcade around!

12. Play and Have a Drink at Emporium Wicker Park
Bringing together the fun of games and the joy of a great cocktail, this is one great stop for teams that need to let loose. At this iconic location, your team can compete, laugh, and bond over drinks while they make lasting memories. After a long sprint or a difficult project, this is one place that always feels like home!


the exterior of an escape room location from the street

Just wait until you go inside!

13. Work Together at The Escape Room Chicago
Escape rooms are a wonderful team building activity that really encourages your staff to work together. Fitted with puzzles and games, The Escape Room Chicago has something for every interest. In one hour, your team will learn to work together on a variety of projects and have fun doing so!


a romantic movie on the big screen at the theater

The nostalgia at a movie theater…

14. Enjoy Dinner and a Movie at the AMC Dine-In Block 37
Sometimes the best team building activities are the simplest ones, and who doesn’t love a good movie? The AMC Dine-In theater is a perfect opportunity for your team to enjoy the latest movies while also delighting in delicious food and drinks from MacGuffins Bar. This classic team outing never grows old.


a restaurant bar lined with wine

The cuisine is wine-inspired! (Photo courtesy of their IG)

15. Bond Over a Good Meal and Drinks at Alpana
Alpana is a restaurant that provides an experience you won’t find anything else. With a scenic indoor design and a tantalizing menu, this Chicago restaurant is a great backdrop for bonding with your team. Their high-end menu offers foods that cover every taste and interest, making it perfect for groups with all kinds of different flavor preferences.


a lady sipping her wine looking at a view of chicago at sunset

Those views!

16. Sip Drinks and Enjoy a View at the City Winery
Located in the Chicago Riverwalk area, the City Winery is perfect for entertaining adult groups of all sizes. Pairing delicious drinks and live entertainment, there is always something going on here. With everything from live music to comedy shows, you can decide what event will be the best fit for your team. No matter what you choose, they will have a ton of fun!


two axes crossed making an "x" atop some hay

It’s a good time!

17. Burn Some Energy at Bad Axe Throwing
Bad Axe Throwing is an indoor axe throwing arena that lets you really cut loose and go wild. Watch as your team competes with one another, learns new skills, and celebrates one another while throwing axes. Offering plenty of support for groups of different sizes, this company turns a random skill into something fun and engaging!


a purple light lighting up an art room with blank canvases ready for party guests

The vibes are immaculate!

18. Make Masterpieces at Meseica’s Sip & Paint
With complete support for private parties, this great location will give your team a brand-new skill and a fun way to remember the day. Together, your team will work on individual art pieces under the guidance of a talented local painter. Every person is welcome to enjoy delicious drinks while they relax and explore their inner artist. Fun and with plenty of room for learning and growth, this is a classic way to encourage team bonding!