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CHICAGO NEWS & UPDATES FOR TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS

January 2016: New Residence Inn opens, rideshare at airports, Chicago a craft beer capital, plus Shakespeare 400.

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RESIDENCE INN CHICAGO DOWNTOWN/LOOP OPENS

Exterior of Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Loop

Residence Inn Downtown Chicago/Loop meeting

On its 40th anniversary, Residence Inn by Marriott opened its 700th hotel worldwide: the Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Loop, the largest hotel in the brand's portfolio. This flagship location is housed in the historic Chicago Landmark building, which has been renovated to feature 380 rooms, 7,500 square feet of meeting space, a lobby bar and lounge, fitness center, business center and an array of comfort amenities for travelers. 

Learn more about the Residence Inn by Marriott Chicago Downtown/Loop.


RIDESHARE COMPANIES ALLOWED FOR AIRPORT PICK-UP

Effective November 22, 2015, rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber are now allowed to pick up passengers at Chicago's airports and McCormick Place. Rideshare drivers must meet certain requirements and undergo special airport-specific training. 

Learn more about rideshare pickup locations and requirements.


MAYOR BREAKS GROUND ON MCCORMICK PLACE EVENT CENTER

Mayor Emanuel broke ground on the 10,000-seat, 300,000-square-foot McCormick Place Event Center, which will be able to accommodate conventions, trade shows, concerts and other special events with its anticipated completion in 2017. The area also will be home to DePaul University's men's and women's basketball teams. 

Learn more about the McCormick Place Event Center.


MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL TO ACQUIRE STARWOOD HOTELS

Marriott International, Inc. and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have announced that they will merge, creating the largest hotel company in the world, with a total of of 1.1 million rooms in more than 5,500 hotels in more than 100 countries. Currently, Marriott operates 87 hotels in Chicago, which will be combined with an additional 20 Starwood properties, offering Chicago visitors an array of options within the company's lineup of hotel brands.

Learn more about the hotel company acquisition.


ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO AND CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN IN TOP 20 MUSEUMS LIST

In a list ranking museums by the number of reviews and overall star rating, Yelp released a top 20 lineup of the country's best museums, and both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Botanic Garden made the cut.

See all institutions on the Top 20 Museums of the U.S.


NEW ROAD ACCESS TO O'HARE

The four-lane extension of Balmoral Avenue on the east side of O'Hare International Airport is complete, giving westbound drivers direct access from I-294. 

Learn more about the Balmoral Avenue expansion.


CHICAGO NAMED CRAFT BEER CAPITAL OF U.S.

Occupying an estimated 1.6 million square feet of commercial real estate - more than any other urban area in the U.S. - the craft beer scene in Chicago is booming, thanks to an abundance of water from Lake Michigan and a generous supply of industrial spaces. With 144 craft breweries, Chicago is behind only Portland in terms of the most craft breweries. 

Learn more about craft breweries in Chicago.


SHAKESPEARE 400 CHICAGO TO BE YEAR-LONG CELEBRATION

Commemorating a 400-year legacy since William Shakespeare's death in 1616, Chicago will present a year-long international arts and culture festival, Shakespeare 400, featuring 850 events throughout the city, touching on theatrical productions, literature, music and even cuisine. More than 60 local institutions will participate in this extraordinary cultural event.

Learn more about the Shakespeare 400 in Chicago.



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