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CHICAGO MEETINGS NEWS: MAY 2016

New Mexico flights, Gray Hotel opening — Get the latest meeting & event planning industry news.

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    UNIQUE VENUES VOTES NAVY PIER SPACES THE “BEST PLACE TO GATHER FOR THE DAY IN 2016”

    For its annual "Best Of" awards, Unique Venues named final winners in 20 categories, showcasing properties nationwide and crowning Chicago's Navy Pier as the Best Place to Gather for the Day. The venue's unbeatable Lake Michigan location, iconic Ferris wheel, fleet of charter boats, flexible space and exhibit halls are among the iconic destination's winning features.

    Learn more about Navy Pier's top ranking.


    GRAY HOTEL AND LONDONHOUSE CHICAGO OPENING SOON

    Kimpton's newest Chicago property, the Gray Hotel is now accepting reservations for stays starting Sept. 1, 2016. Straight out of London's Savile Row, the hotel will open in Spring 2016 and feature tasteful ambiance, calling on marble and terra-cotta, for an elevated experience. Guests will enjoy the onsite law library-themed restaurant, Vol. 39 bar, and the Argentinean-inspired rooftop lounge. Nearly 13,000 square feet of event space with 12- to 14-foot ceilings and abundant natural light welcome quaint dinners to elaborate receptions.

    LondonHouse Chicago, a luxury lifestyle hotel, is now accepting reservations for arrival June 26, 2016 and beyond. Guest will enjoy cocktails at Bridges Bar, overlooking the drawbridges of the famed Chicago River. LH, a tri-level rooftop bar, offers a unique indoor and outdoor dining experience, re-imagined American cuisine and a variety of specialty drinks, along with 452 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, and 25,000 square feet of catering, social, and event space with stunning skyline views.

    Learn more about the Gray Hotel and LondonHouse Chicago.


    10 NEW CHICAGO VENUES FOR SPRING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

    BizBash outlines the latest conference spaces, restaurants, nightlife spots and more opening in Chicago and welcoming events this spring. Among them, Lincoln Park's Oyster Bah with its unique Crab Cellar dining space, Andersonville's Cantina 1910 specializing in Mexican fare made with Midwestern farmed ingredients, and The Vig in Old Town, where private craft beer dinners and bourbon tastings are on tap.

    Learn more about the newest Chicago venues.


    VOLARIS ANNOUNCES SERVICE BETWEEN CHICAGO AND MONTERREY, MEXICO

    Volaris Airlines has announced it will begin a new international route between Chicago O'Hare International Airport and Monterrey International Airport with twice-weekly service starting on June 17, 2016. This will be the Mexico-based carrier's first nonstop transborder (U.S.-Mexico) service from the city of Monterrey, Mexico.

    Learn more about the new route.


    CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS NAMES TOP LOCAL HOTELS FOR MEETINGS AND SEMINARS

    These Chicago hotels are prime for hosting large groups. The properties that made this coveted list boast impressive on-site restaurants, are accessible to fantastic Chicago dining, can accommodate guests for overnight lodging, offer free Wi-Fi and executive centers, and many other perks.

    See who made the list.


    25 INSPIRING EVENT DESIGNERS TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM

    Peek at the latest decor and design ideas and get inspired with these industry pros' posts. Here are 25 accounts to follow. Get ready for talent overload - these creatives know their stuff.

    See the Instagram pics.


    MAYOR EMANUEL ANNOUNCES BUILDING ON BURNHAM, INVESTING IN CHICAGO’S WATERFRONTS, PARKS, NEIGHBORHOODS

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently outlined Building on Burnham, a comprehensive plan to invest in the Lakefront, the Chicago River, natural areas and recreational opportunities in neighborhoods across the city. This plan follows the Mayor’s successful expansion of Chicago’s park system in his first mayoral term, which has already added 750 acres of new parkland, 256 new playgrounds and more than $800 million in capital investment from neighborhoods and private sources.

    Learn more about Building on Burnham.


    CHICAGO NAMED NATION’S “TOP METRO” FOR NEW AND EXPANDING COMPANIES FOR THIRD YEAR IN A ROW

    Chicago ranked “Top Metro” in the United States in 2015 for corporate investment in the March issue of Site Selection magazine. For the third consecutive year, the Chicago metro area saw more new and expanding corporate facilities than any other area. Allstate and Beam Suntory recently announced they are moving 850 jobs to Chicago, joining a steady stream of companies that have decided to locate in the city, including ConAgra Foods, Oscar Mayer and Kraft Heinz Company. To date in 2016, Chicago has added nearly 2,000 jobs.

    Learn more about Chicago's top ranking.


    THE 606 EARNS 2016 NATIONAL PLANNING EXCELLENCE AWARD FOR URBAN DESIGN

    Chicago’s abandoned, elevated rail line turned park and trail system is earning applause. The 606 was awarded a 2016 National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design. The trail consists of the 2.7-mile Bloomingdale Trail, incorporates six planned parks and serves as a community connector for the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.

    Chicago Magazine named The 606 the Best New Public Art of 2015 and said “The 606 shows how to design a park in the 21st Century – and beyond.”

    Learn more about the award-winning 606.


    CHICAGO BOASTS THREE OF THE TOP 100 RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD

    Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants in the World calls on three famed Chicago spots this year. Grant Achatz’s Alinea earned the No. 1 spot for the fourth year with its highly creative New American tasting menus and standout Dungeoness crab dish. Another Achatz concept, Next, came in at No. 38, while Curtis Duffy’s Grace snagged No. 40 on the list.

    See the full list of restaurants.


    CHICAGO-WEST LOOP NAMED “AWESOME DOWNTOWN” BY TRIPADVISOR

    TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals put together a recent list of 11 Awesome Urban Districts Full of Character, designating neighborhoods that have their own unique character, activities, sights, sounds and tastes. Among them, Chicago’s West Loop. The former industrial area was lauded as one of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods with sleek restaurants, sushi houses, breweries and cocktail lounges.

    Learn more about Chicago's West Loop.

    Photos: Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel, Navy Pier, Choose Chicago