Destination Spotlight: Chicago, Illinois
Let the Windy City Host Your Next Meeting
Home of a breathtaking skyline, award-winning restaurants, and several world-renowned attractions, Chicago is one of the top choices for meetings and events. It is an ideal location for meeting planners based on its central location, ease of travel, and classic architectural backdrop. City features also entail vibrant art and entertainment as well as extensive shopping opportunities.
Chicago’s climate is considered “humid continental” with cold winters, warm summers, and frequent fluctuations in temperature, humidity, cloudiness, and wind direction. Many consider the more moderate temperatures of spring and fall to be the most pleasant. Chicago’s weather is influenced during all four seasons by the nearby presence of Lake Michigan. Although there are several known explanations for the city’s nickname, The Windy City, Chicago actually does get notable breezes off of Lake Michigan.
O’Hare International Airport serves as an important hub for domestic and international travelers with 55 airlines to choose from. The airport has more than 1,100 daily direct flights to 157 U.S. destinations and 120 daily direct flights to 65 international destinations.
Midway International Airport is only 10 miles from downtown Chicago and is known as a premier point-to-point airport, offering leisure and business travel with more than 270 daily direct flights to 64 U.S. cities and 12 daily direct flights to nine international destinations.
Downtown Chicago is known as “The Loop” and encompasses Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, a buzzing theater district, sporting venues and much more! Getting around town is a breeze as the city offers multiple modes of transportation. The Loop is serviced by both trains and buses. In addition, taxis are just on hail away on any given corner! The Loop is culturally diverse, economically robust, and all-together energetic.
The Magnificent Mile is Downtown Chicago’s premier commercial district. The vibrant, bustling area is home to upscale shops, luxe fashion outlets, cool restaurants, and posh hotels. Landmarks include the historic Chicago Water Tower, the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower, the terracotta Wrigley Building skyscraper, and the 100-story John Hancock Center, which has a rooftop observation deck with fine dining and panoramic city views.
McCormick Place is the largest convention center in the United States and encompasses four buildings: West Building, North Building, South Building, and Lakeside Center. Overall, the center consists of 2.6 million square feet of exhibit halls. It boasts 173 meeting rooms offering 600,000 square feet of space; four ballrooms, two of which are the largest in the city; the 4,249-seat Arie Crown Theater; three additional 300-seat theaters; and assembly seating for 18,000 people.
McCormick Place is connected to 1,259 rooms at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. Only minutes from downtown, the center also manages two parking lots, offering space for a total of 5,000 vehicles and can also be reached by public transportation. To travel within the center itself, sky bridges and public walkways serve as links among facilities.
The Grand Concourse runs between the South Building and North and Lakeside buildings and is home to a number of restaurants and retail shops.
Adjacent to the convention center is McCormick Square which includes four additional hotels and more than 20 restaurants.
Budgeting Items for Your Chicago Meeting
Once you have decided that Chicago is where you want to hold your next meeting, it’s time to budget. Here are a few items to consider during your planning phase:
- Refer to McCormick Place convention center rate sheets to plan for equipment, services, and labor.
- Check the convention calendar to ensure your dates don’t conflict with other big events in Chicago; limited space could increase your hotel rates.
- Average hotel room rate: $180
- Average daily meal cost: $34
- Average weekly car rental: $215
- Daily average local transportation cost: $34
- Sales tax (includes state, county, and city sales tax combined): 10.25 percent
Unique Venues in Chicago
Aside from the McCormick Place convention center and traditional hotel venues, Chicago is also home to unique venues, including:
- The Ivy Room
- House of Blues: Chicago
- Chicago Sports Museum
- London House: Chicago
- Thalia Hall
- The Underground Chicago
- Loyola University
- Navy Pier
- Greenhouse Loft
- American Writers Museum
- The Park at Wrigley
- Union Station
- Museum of Contemporary Art