Choose Chicago's Cultural Tourism and Neighborhoods department is pleased to launch its inaugural newsletter. This quarterly newsletter's goal is to communicate what's new with Choose Chicago's efforts to further position Chicago as a global cultural destination. Additionally, this newsletter will be a source for partnership opportunities to attract tourists to your organizations.

You are receiving this newsletter because you have interacted or collaborated with a member of the Cultural Tourism team. If your colleagues in the industry are not receiving this newsletter, please encourage them to sign up through our website to be added to this list.

We need your input

Over the next several weeks, Choose Chicago is launching a project with Civic Consulting Alliance to inventory Chicago's cultural assets and to ultimately develop a positioning strategy to frame Chicago as a cultural destination. This process will analyze assets by number of attendees and highest spending level; whether assets will attract new tourists, extend tourist visits, or increase average daily spend; summarize the opportunity among Cultural tourists, globally, nationally and regionally for Chicago; and examine what are other cities doing, what's working, and what we can learn.

As many of you know, the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events unveiled its new cultural plan in October 2012 outlining a strategy for the city of Chicago to utilize arts and culture to bring communities together, boost economic development, generate jobs, cultivate innovation, and attract tourists.

With tourism identified as a key contributor to this plan's success, Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, has taken the lead on the eighth priority responsible for increasing awareness and visitation to Chicago's cultural assets by leveraging the rich and diverse resources of Chicago's arts, culture, and neighborhoods.

As we build this strategy, we would like to learn more about our partners in the arts and culture community. Please take this survey to let us know about your organization. Your participation is key to shaping a cultural tourism strategy for Chicago. Please complete this survey by May 17. Your participation with this important cultural initiative is appreciated.

Chicago Theatre Week

In February 2013, The League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago launched the inaugural Chicago Theatre Week. Designed to drive ticket sales to theatres and create visibility around the phenomenal theatre scene in the city, this week-long pilot program sold 6,200 tickets to more than 300 performances from 97 participating productions.

During Theatre Week, program partners offered special incentives including talk backs with artists, drink specials, and hotel and restaurant discounts. Through digital promotion 1.6 million were reached via email broadcasts, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally, the program's website garnered 51,000 unique visitors.

Participating theatres and productions saw a dramatic increase in new patrons. The Steppenwolf Theatre cited that 75% of tickets sold were new ticket buyers while The House Theatre of Chicago cited 65% of their tickets as first-time customers.

Programs like Chicago Theatre Week are wonderful examples of opportunities to utilize the city's rich cultural assets to attract visitors, and increase visibility for theatre as a vital industry in Chicago. Choose Chicago will continue to work with similar programs to promote Chicago as a global cultural destination.


Do you want to attract visitors to your organization? Are you a Choose Chicago partner? If not, consider joining us. Choose Chicago's partner organizations are the backbone of our visitor industry, which generates $12 billion in direct spending annually. As the official destination marketing organization for the city of Chicago, Choose Chicago is dedicated to making that number–and your organization–grow.

Our efforts deliver strong value to you through print and digital marketing opportunities, educational and networking events, information resources, and many other platforms.

Choose Chicago's customizable partnership packages allow your organization to choose which benefits fit best for you with your visitor marketing strategy. Dues start at $99 annually from the date you join, and include a customizable listing on, listing on visitor mobile app, invitations to partner events, access to research, directories, event/convention calendars and more.

For more information, visit please contact the Partnerships team at or call 312-567-8461.

Partnership Opportunities


It's not too late to include your collateral for the busy Spring season at our two Visitor Information Centers located at Chicago Cultural Center at 77 E. Randolph Street and Historic Water Works Pumping Station at 163 E. Pearson Street. We welcome over half a million visitors annually at these centers. Please remember that the collateral we display in the centers is targeted toward visitors. Residential-type guides, materials or directories will not be displayed. If your organization is interested in displaying your collateral at our centers or have questions, please contact Melody Laviste, Director of Visitor Services at

Choose Chicago Visitor Information Centers


In order to drive increased regional leisure visitation, Choose Chicago has partnered with major cultural institutions and attractions to run a television and digital advertising campaign in key regional markets within 500 miles of Chicago.

The campaign launched in January 2012 and proved to be successful with over $325 million in influenced direct visitor spending. In 2013, a winter campaign ran for eight weeks from January 7 through March 3.

An 11-week summer campaign is scheduled to launch on May 20 and run through August 3 in regional markets.

For more information on campaign results visit


One of the areas of particular importance to our international tourism effort is the idea of product development. Choose Chicago's tourism team is working with partners to make certain that travel resellers worldwide have a good understanding of the attractions and ticketed activities available in Chicago.

Choose Chicago's Tourism Sales team is working with our partners to establish a representative inventory of sellable product for group and individual travelers. The team is working at every level with receptive tour operators, tour operators and travel agents to let them know about our sellable Chicago experiences. This allows us to cast a broad net of worldwide exposure at a sensible cost.

We encourage you to think of opportunities for your organization to engage these travel resellers. Our team can be helpful in planning which trade shows, sales missions, or FAM tours your organization could be involved in to allow you to reach leisure travelers.

For more information contact John Curran, Managing Director of Tourism, via email at to discuss ways for you to participate.

Selling Chicago to the World


Choose Chicago is the official destination marketing organization for Chicago, Illinois.

Our mission is to bring regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago for the economic benefit of the City, the community and our partnership. Read more



The Cultural Tourism Department is responsible for increasing awareness and visitation to Chicago's cultural attractions, events and neighborhoods by promoting the city as a premier cultural destination. Also under cultural tourism, the Visitor Services Department operates two Visitor Information Centers and service over half a million visitors to Chicago annually. The department's four objectives are:

  • Position Chicago as a global cultural destination by leveraging the rich and diverse resources of Chicago's arts, culture, and neighborhoods.
  • Serve as a catalyst for communication and partnerships among agencies, organizations, and stakeholders in arts, culture, and tourism.
  • Enhance the visitor experience and orientation.
  • Establish metrics to measure and track growth.



There are two Visitor Information Centers in the downtown area. They are located in the Loop at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph, and Historic Water Works Pumping Station located on the Magnificent Mile at 163 E. Pearson St. For more information, click here