Big-name conventions are turning to Chicago for tried-and-true hospitality, unique venues and amenities—nearby hotels and convenient transportation among them.

IPW 2014 Chicago

Organized by U.S. Travel Association, IPW (the premier meeting of international travel planners and media) returned in 2014 after a 16-year hiatus from Chicago. More than 6,200 travel suppliers and buyers from over 70 countries and 500 media attended, the highest since 2001. Another success that year, the 20th World Routes Development Forum welcomed a record-breaking number of registered delegates in the Forum's 20-year history. More than 80 percent of the delegates traveled from countries overseas to attend.

In June 2016, Chicago hosted 38,500 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) attendees, with the group booking return years 2021 through 2025. The Risk Management Society (RIMS) Annual Meeting will head to Chicago in 2021 and, in 2018, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) will convene in Chicago for their Annual Meeting & Exposition.

These additions join the hundreds of corporate, association, sports and entertainment bookings that have established themselves in the city. Chicago is proud to have longstanding relationships with tradeshows and conventions like National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel Show and International Manufacturing Technology Show, among many having banner years at McCormick Place.  

Top Music and Culture Events

Chicago is the permanent home to the once-traveling festival, Lollapalooza. The three-day music and art extravaganza brings over 140 artists performing rock, indie, hip-hop, and more to Grant Park for the multi-day mega event. With a central location in the heart of the US and an incredible urban backdrop, the city proved that it can host hundreds of thousands of fans right along the lakefront.


Cultural events gravitate toward Chicago for its successful and long history as a welcoming artistic platform and stage for all. Organized citywide cultural celebrations include the Chicago Architecture Biennial, a major international architectural event, as well as Chicago Theater Week, Chicago Ideas Week, and Chicago Humanities Festival.

Top Sporting Events

Chicago is fast becoming a destination city for some of America's most prestigious athletic events. Our city knows sports and we define die-hard fans, so it's no surprise sporting events are forever changed once they host a Chicago event.

NFL Draft Day 2

Chicago welcomed the tremendously successful NFL Draft in 2015 and 2016, the inaugural year marking the first time the event was held outside of New York since 1964. A record-breaking 200,000 attendees enjoyed the three-day 2015 festivities that included a fan component (Draft Town in Grant Park) outside the theatre for the first time ever.

Nearly 1.5 million fans attended the 32 Copa America Centenario futbol matches across 10 U.S. cities in 2016. Chicago's Soldier Field was one of 10 U.S. venues hosting the games for their first time on U.S. soil. More than 46,000 fans attended each game, making it the most attended Copa America in the tournament's 100-year history.

International sailing witnessed the first America's Cup freshwater race in the event's 165-year history when Chicago hosted the best sailors in the world at The Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series at Navy Pier in June 2016. More than 195,000 fans were in attendance at Navy Pier with an additional 11,000 spectators on the water representing 48 states and 23 countries. 

Culinary Kudos

A true epicurean destination, Chicago has a rich history with the James Beard Foundation, delivering winners in 23 out of 24 years. After hosting their elite awards ceremony in New York for 25 years, the James Beard Foundation announced Chicago as their new host city in 2015. Chicago is slated to host the Beard Awards until at least 2021.

James Beard Foundation Red Carpet

The biggest chefs in the industry and on TV are also choosing Chicago to base their restaurant empires, proving that, for those who love to eat, there is no better place to gather than in Chicago.

A Stunning Stage for Filmmakers

The city's unmistakable skyline, lakefront and downtown buildings have made countless cameos in film and television. Hundreds of filmmakers have been inspired by Chicago's architecture and vibrancy, most recently creating blockbusters like The Dark KnightTransformers, and Divergent.

An unprecedented number of TV dramas are being filmed in Chicago as well. Producer Dick Wolf has created a franchise of Chicago-based hits for NBC that include "Chicago Med," "Chicago P.D.," "Chicago Fire" and spinoff "Chicago Justice."