We are thrilled to share the news that Chicago was just named the number one meeting destination in the country by Cvent, one of the largest industry suppliers in the world. Cvent is a free meeting and event site selection tool with a public database of over 200,000 venues worldwide.

Chicago surpassed last year's top destination, Orlando, to secure the number one spot.

More than 5,000 cities were evaluated and rated based on meeting and event booking activity in the Cvent Supplier Network, as well as the number of meeting and event venues in the area.

In its August 12 story, USA Today cited Chicago's central location and cost-competitive rates as important factors for attendees bringing their business to the city.

This is a significant achievement for our magnificent city, and we are thankful for your help in making Chicago so globally appealing. 

Below, please find links to the complete Cvent Top 50 list, as well as more information about Chicago's ranking via USA Today.

Cvent's Top 50 Meeting Destinations

USA Today: Chicago is tops for business meetings 



Prasino sandwich

Get ready for 14 belt-busting days! Chicago Restaurant Week 2015 returns on January 30 and continues through February 12, 2015. This annual culinary event provides diners with special prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity) at some of Chicago's most well-known restaurants. 

More than 250 restaurants take part so diners can get a taste of the city's rich, culinary diversity: Italian, French, Spanish, Korean, Thai and more! Between the neighborhood favorites and downtown hotspots, everyone can feast on delicious multi-course menus all across the city and suburbs.  

Chicago Restaurant Week once again kicks off with the fourth annual First Bites Bash, held at Chicago Union Station's magnificent Great Hall on Thursday, January 29 from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. First Bites Bash is an opportunity for attendees to fill up on sweet and savory creations during a food-filled evening that showcases some of the city's most celebrated chefs and restaurants while raising money for local charities.

Chicago Restaurant Week, presented by Choose Chicago, is designed to promote the restaurant industry and drive traffic to participating restaurants during a typically slow time of year.

Last year's citywide culinary celebration was a great success, with a record 301 participating restaurants serving more than 435,000 diners and contributing $20.8 million in direct spending at Chicago area restaurants. Cheers to that!

Registration for dining partners will begin in September 2014. Additional event information and sign up instructions will be communicated shortly. If you have questions regarding the Restaurant Week program, please email us at

Those interested in sponsorship opportunities for Chicago Restaurant Week 2015 and/or the First Bites Bash should contact Nina Winston, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, at or 312.567.8561.

Photo courtesy of Prasino



Macy's and Choose Chicago were proud to host members of the travel and tourism community, city agencies and media at Macy's on State Street to celebrate the grand opening of a new co-branded Visitor Information Center on June 25.

Choose Chicago President and CEO, Don Welsh, and Kristen Esposito, Vice President of Tourism Marketing & Development for Macy's, had the ribbon-cutting honors, officially opening the new Visitor Information Center to the public.

Macy's Visitor Information Center

"We are pleased to collaborate with Choose Chicago on this innovative customer experience that will cater to the international and domestic shopper," Esposito said. "I'd like to personally thank Choose Chicago for their partnership and excitement over this new space."

The new state-of-the-art center features full-service concierge, interactive touch-screen kiosks, store tours, group programs and city-branded merchandise. The digital kiosks provide up-to-date information on attractions, dining and nightlife, among other areas of interest for tourists to explore the city.

Macy's Visitor Information Center

In addition, the Visitor Information Center provides popular incentives such as the International and Domestic Savings Program, which gives travelers a 10 percent off discount on most purchases throughout the Macy's store.

Consider sending your clients and customers, both domestic and international, to the brand-new Visitor Information Center at the Macy's on State Street. The state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive services have everything visitors need to experience Chicago to the fullest, making the center a worthwhile stop on anyone's itinerary.

For more information about how your product or service can be featured in the Visitor Information Centers, please contact Alicia Silva at



Marc Jacobs Steven Hartenstein

Marc Jacobs and Steven Hartenstein are co-chairs of the 2015 Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders sponsorship committee. Our goal as host city for PCMA Convening Leaders 2015 taking place January 11-14 is to increase our share of meetings and conventions, thus producing new jobs, new tax revenue, and significant spending throughout Chicago. Jacobs and Hartenstein are both longstanding partners who've found much success through their mutually beneficial relationship with Choose Chicago.

Jacobs, Partner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, and Hartenstein, CFO/COO of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants and Events, talked about joining Choose Chicago as partners and how the industry network has benefited their business.

How would you describe your position with your respective businesses?

MJ: I am an Executive Vice President & Partner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.  I oversee a division of restaurants - Antico Posto, Beatrix, Foodease, Foodlife, Mity Nice Bar & Grill and Sacred Grounds. 

SH: My title is CFO/COO of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants and Events. Titles don't mean much in our group because we have a very hands on approach and do what it takes to get the job done.


What are some of the goals of your organization?  

MJ: My goal is to continue to drive food and service in the restaurants, and work on new concept growth. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a talented group of chefs and leaders, and am proud of all of the restaurants.  

Currently, I am focused on the growth and development of our newest concept, Beatrix. Beatrix is a neighborhood coffeehouse and restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night and everything in between.

SH: Our most important goal is to exceed expectations one guest at a time and build customers for life. We strive to achieve this by differentiating ourselves from our competition and providing truly unique and memorable dining and event experiences across our restaurants and venues.


How has your relationship with Choose Chicago benefited your business directly?

MJ: We work together to tailor experiences for business travelers, travel agents and journalists coming to the city. Any business Choose brings to the city is a potential benefit to our restaurants.

We receive group leads and have the opportunity to bid on Choose client events, as well as showcase our restaurants for groups that Choose hosts.   

We are also given the opportunity to attend various trade shows as a part of the partnership.  We collaborate to create compelling content of events and happenings in the city both on social media and the Choose Chicago blog/events calendar.

SH: Choose Chicago has done an amazing job of making sure that Chicago is known all over the world. The leadership has truly never been stronger than under Don Welsh with the support of Mayor Emanuel. Our affiliation with Choose Chicago and being at the forefront of the meetings and conventions that come into Chicago has helped our business immensely.


What would you say to a business owner or organization that is considering joining Choose Chicago?

MJ: You must join Choose Chicago! 

If you are a Chicago area hospitality and tourism related business or service, there is no better way to promote yourself than through Choose and their various sales and marketing vehicles. 

Choose helps us reach guests traveling to the city, and allows us the opportunity to educate guests about our company, our restaurants, and the variety of experiences we can provide. They do an excellent job of bringing in new business from outside of the city and raising the visibility of our restaurants to new guests.

SH: I would say it is a must to be a partner of Choose Chicago because they help market and promote your business to the millions of meetings, conventions and leisure visitors who come to Chicago every year. As a partner you are also able to stay on top of everything going on in the City and uncover unique opportunities to further increase your company's awareness and drive new sales.

Why did you join? What were your expectations?

MJ: We joined Choose Chicago to stay connected to travel and convention business in Chicago. I am excited about the collaboration with Choose, the city and Lettuce.  

SH: I joined Choose Chicago so that I could be at the forefront of Chicago's visitor industry and build relationships with the many conventions and their attendees that come to Chicago.


Of all that Choose offers, be it networking, advertising or otherwise, what has been most the greatest benefit to your organization?

MJ: Networking, marketing and our relationship have been the most beneficial. Choose offers many networking events and committee opportunities for its partners. They are informational, social and allow us to meet other partners and network in new ways.  

At both the restaurant level and Lettuce corporate level, we regularly collaborate with Choose Chicago's social media and marketing team.  Whether it be announcing new restaurant openings, sharing special dinner offerings or featuring Twitter ticket giveaways, we are building relationships and new business.

SH: The organization has truly never been stronger and more global. That said, the greatest benefit to me and my organization has been the networking opportunities that I've had through the various partner programs and events.


Why did you get involved with PCMA? What is the conference's importance to you? To Chicago? To the industry? 

MJ: With more than 50 Lettuce Entertain You restaurants in the Chicagoland area, PCMA is very important to our business. The partnership with PCMA is a great example of developing new relationships and bringing future business. Bringing new and returning business minded individuals to Chicago in this volume will only help the city and our restaurants. We are excited to host the PCMA attendees, and show them all our city has to offer. 

SH: I got involved with PCMA because I understand the importance of a group like PCMA. Bringing conventions to our city has helped to make Chicago a world class city and has helped us become known as a top food city in the U.S. As for the importance of PCMA, I wanted to get involved to contribute to increasing our suppliers and others' awareness of the city.

Being the host city for PCMA will bring us more than 4,000 leaders to whom we have the opportunity to showcase our amazing city. This will boost our economy by bringing us more shows, creating more jobs and generating additional income for the city through increased tax dollars. Every visitor that comes to Chicago spends money in our hotels, in our restaurants and in our retail stores, so there's no better way to grow our business than word of mouth. PCMA will help greatly in boosting awareness of Chicago as a world class meetings destination.



Choose Chicago is expanding its social media presence and the partnership team is heading to Twitter as a means of communicating more effectively with our valued partners - and that means you!. Our new @CCPartner Twitter account created expressly for our partners will provide us the ability to share timely and relevant information with you including e-newsletters, partner events, special marketing opportunities, industry news and accolades, upcoming meetings and conventions, and so much more. Twitter is a quick and easy way for us to share important news and updates that we have never gotten to share before.

Head over to and follow us with your company Twitter handle and your personal Twitter handle!

We look forward to seeing you on Twitter!



PCMA logo - countdown clock

As you know, the meetings and conventions industry is a critical pillar of Chicago's economic growth. To continue building this key industry driver and reach the goal set forth by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of 55 million visitors annually by 2020, we are very proud to be hosting the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders conference at McCormick Place January 11-14, 2015.

PCMA is the leading global organization for meeting and event professionals. Their 2015 Chicago conference is expected to attract more than 4,000 meeting professionals to learn about the latest industry trends and topics, and to network with colleagues.

The PCMA 2015 Host Committee is hard at work to make sure that our conference attendees will experience the best of Chicago when they are here early next year. This opportunity to showcase our city, our top class meeting and event facilities, and our warm and friendly people to thousands of current and prospective clients is the single greatest opportunity we have had within this market in the past two decades.

As with the recent hosting of US Travel's IPW 2014, it will take an entire city to make the Convening Leaders meeting a success. We hope you will join us in supporting this event, and will be sending you details about how you and your organization can get involved.

You will be hearing much more about PCMA in the months ahead. If you have immediate questions about volunteering, please contact Rose Horcher, VP of Client Services at or 312-567-8463. Additionally, if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please refer to our comprehensive packet or contact Nina Winston, VP of Strategic Partnerships at or 312-567-8561.

We are thrilled for the opportunity to host this prestigious group and look forward to a record-setting attendance for PCMA in January 2015!



Please welcome the world's airline, airport and aviation stakeholder delegates to Chicago for World Routes 2014, the 20th World Route Development Forum, September 20-23. With an expected attendance of 3,000 high profile delegates from more than 100 countries worldwide, this year's Routes is anticipated to be the largest to date. Co-hosted by the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and Choose Chicago, Routes convenes at McCormick Place and the city that is home to several of the aviation industry's leading companies.

For more information on World Routes 2014, please visit and take a look at the official booklet for in-depth information regarding the forum.



Thank you for your continued support of Choose Chicago, and most recently the 2014 Chicago Golf Classic. We hope you enjoyed your day at Cog Hill. It was highlighted by some great friendly competition out on the links, as well as great food, drinks and entertainment. Endless thanks to our patrons and those who volunteered and contributed to the success of this great event. Your support was truly appreciated by all.

Special thanks to our Strategic Marketing Partners Bank of America, Goose Island and United Airlines.

2014 Golf Classic patrons:

Dubsdread: Bank of America; CityPASS; Encore Event Technologies; Entertainment Cruises; Freeman; Global Experience Specialists (GES); Hilton Chicago; The Horton Group; Hyatt Regency McCormick Place; InterPark; Omni Chicago Hotel; Palmer House Hilton; PSAV; Rosemont Convention Bureau; Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers; United Airlines

Ravines: Chicago Mariott Downtown Magnificent Mile; Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Downtown/River North; Freeman Audiovisual; Global Experience Specialists (GES); Goose Island Beer Company; Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport; Hyatt Regency Chicago; Kimpton Hotels of Chicago; McCormick Place; Orbitz; Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants; Revel Global Events; W Hotels of Chicago; Westin Lombard Yorktown Center; Westin Michigan Avenue

Hole Patrons: AlliedPRA Chicago; Blue Plate Catering; Edlen Electric; Local 399, Int'l Union of Operating Engineers; Valley Expo & Displays; Workspring

Thank you also to the following companies for their generous contributions: Candyality; CH Distillery; Coca-Cola; Crafthouse Cocktails; Empire Ice; Freeman; Freeman Audiovisual; Goose Island Beer Company; The Horton Group; House of Blues; Kehoe Designs; Lettuce Entertain You; LUXBAR; Master of Mixes Bloody Mary Mix; Paramount Events; Potbelly; Skinnypop; Spa In Your Space; The Specialized Marketing Group Inc. (TSMGI); Terlato Wine Group and

Discussions are already underway for next year's event and we welcome any feedback you might have.  Please email Lori Adlesick at with any suggestions.

Make sure to also check out photos from this year's tournament! We look forward to you joining us again next year. 



Starting last month, Emirates commenced daily, nonstop passenger service to from Dubai International Airport to O'Hare International Airport, the airline's ninth gateway in the U.S. Onboard the inaugural Dubai-Chicago flight was a joint VIP delegation from the U.S. and Dubai as well as international media. The new route strengthens Chicago as one of the world's most connected cities and deepens the ties between two world leaders in trade and commercial travel.

As a major trade and transportation hub, Chicago benefits greatly from the added service, generating jobs and increasing the city's global connectivity. Adding Dubai as a travel destination is a boon for corporate and leisure markets, opening another gateway to Asia.


AUGUST EVENT - Social Media Meetup

Bring your laptop, iPad or smart phone and be prepared to talk social media with Nycole Hampton, Choose Chicago's social media specialist. This month, Nycole will be giving a how-to on social media basics, including:

  • What do I share?
  • When do I share it?
  • How do I schedule it?
  • Who are my social media influencers? How do I reach them?
  • What platform best suits me?

Stop in anytime between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26 at the Chicago Cultural Center's 1st Floor Garland Room, to meet with Nycole. 

Don't miss this opportunity to engage with Choose Chicago and other partner organizations in a casual and informal environment.

If you can't make the meet up at the Chicago Cultural Center, social media tips and tricks will now be a regular feature in the partnership newsletter. Each month, we will be providing regular updates with information on how partners can utilize social media to their benefit. Be sure to check out this month's social media pointers.



Capture the Value: Make the Most of Your Choose Chicago Partnership

Discover the best ways for your organization to leverage Choose Chicago's marketing and sales efforts to grow your business. Meet one-on-one with representatives across Choose Chicago to share information about your products and services and learn more about our initiatives to drive visitation during our informal and energetic networking event.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Standard Club
320 S. Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604

4 - 5 p.m.: Networking with Choose Chicago
5 - 6 p.m.: Reception

Register Now



Drop by and see us during our monthly office hours! Choose Chicago will offer one-on-one walk-in hours for our partner organizations at our downtown office located at 72 E. Randolph. Office hours provide an opportunity to meet with the Choose Chicago Partnership team as well as a representative from Miles Partnership to discuss:

  • Questions or concerns regarding your partnership
  • Benefits and resources available to help grow your organization
  • How to enhance your online profile including a tutorial on the Partner Extranet
  • Choose Chicago's educational and marketing opportunities
  • Ways to build stronger relationships with the Choose Chicago team
Date: First Thursday of every month:
  • September 4, 2014
  • October 2, 2014
  • November 6, 2014
  • December 4, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Place: Choose Chicago Loop Office Conference Room
72 E. Randolph Street - 3rd Floor
Please sign in at the security desk

For more information about Choose Chicago office hours:
Please contact Mayela Hobbs, Manager of Partner Relations & Outreach, at or 312-567-8462.



As a valued partner of Choose Chicago, your organization can take advantage of discounts up to 10% for's full suite of translation services and technology.

This new language services program allows for translations of:

  • Document translation
  • In-person and remote interpretation
  • Multilingual typesetting and graphics
  • Website and software localization
  • Global multimedia services
  • Multicultural marketing
  • Global legal support services
  • Language management technology

Chicago's goal is to become one of the top 5 most visited U.S. cities by international travelers by 2020. To welcome these visitors, Choose Chicago strongly encourages partners to incorporate foreign language communications to support the organization's global initiatives and help your businesses capture a greater share of the international visitor market.

How to request services

To request an estimate for any of the above services, simply send an email to

Translation-related inquiries should include the following information:

  • Brief description of content
  • Language(s) for translation (e.g. from French to English)
  • Deadline

Should you have any questions, you can also reach your global account manager directly at:

Rebekah Garbutt,
+1 561.687.3331



Join us in welcoming the newest partners this year to Choose Chicago:



David Bowie Is

The Museum of Contemporary Art is bringing in the year's biggest exhibition, David Bowie Is, with the first retrospective of the career of David Bowie, one of the most pioneering and influential performers of all time. More than 400 objects from the David Bowie Archive will be on display, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork, and rare performance material.

Make sure to grab tickets now for this exhibit, the only U.S. stop on the David Bowie Is global tour. The exhibit runs from September 23 to January 4, 2015. Tickets on sale now! Experience the work and influence of David Bowie, a cultural inspiration and musical vanguard.



Jay Pritker Pavilion

Though it's one of the relatively newer additions to Chicago's ever-evolving collection of architectural gems and historical landmarks, Millennium Park has become one of the city's most treasured attractions.

In 2014, Millennium Park celebrates its 10th anniversary, with even more free cultural programs, concerts, tours, exhibitions, festivals and family activities than the usual offerings.

Take a photo in front of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture, lovingly dubbed "The Bean"; spread out a blanket and have a picnic while enjoying a free concert at the award-winning Jay Pritzker Pavilion; or cool off at Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain, shallow reflecting pool bookended by 50-foot towers.

Meanwhile, Millennium Park hosts a number of popular events like the 10-week Grant Park Music Festival or the Summer Film Series, showing free movies Tuesday evenings from late-June through August at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

For the latests news and updates on Millennium Park happenings, visit



The nation's only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind, The Grant Park Music Festival is in its 80th season this year. Each summer, the Festival presents 10 weeks of free classical concerts to all of Chicago at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Full schedule for the 2014 season of the Grant Park Music Festival.



Air & Water Show

Any Chicago outing in August must include the 56th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show, August 16-17, at North Avenue Beach! Two million people makes this can't-miss spectacle the largest show of its kind in the country. Best of all, admission to the event is free!



  • Make sure your brand is consistent across all social media. Use the same name in your URLs and handles. Example: @ChooseChicago, Using the same name makes it easier for people to connect with you.
  • Be interesting! Your goal is to grow your following by engaging current and potential customers. Give them reasons to follow you with interesting updates, facts, interactive questions, specials, etc.
  • Be visual. Share photos and infographics. Let visuals help you tell your story. If you're a restaurant a picture of a big juicy steak will tell a story for you.
  • Social media is here to stay. Meaning you as a company needs to get on and utilize this important marketing tool. Before signing up for every platform, analyze each one to see whether or not it will bring value for your specific brand.

Industry updates:

  • Twitter has updated the way your profile looks. You now have more space to promote your brand in the 1500x500 pixels of space to create an exciting image.
  • Your biggest advocates have the fewest followers.
  • 53% of users who tweet at a brand expect a response within an hour.





As Chicago's official destination marketing organization, various Choose Chicago team members travel the world to share our story and encourage visitation to our city. Here's where we'll be connecting with our customers/partners over the next 90 days: 


Experient E4 Meeting 2014

New Orleans, LA



Chicago, IL


Maritz Annual Meeting 2014

Orlando, FL


CEIR Predict 2014

Chicago, IL



Chicago, IL


Global Greeter Network Annual Meeting 2014

Chicago, IL


JATA 2014

Tokyo, Japan


IMEX America 2014

Las Vegas, NV


World Travel Market

London, UK


Ontario Motorcoach Association Marketplace

Ottawa, Canada


USTOA 2014

Boca Raton, FL


IAEE Expo!Expo! 2014

Los Angeles, CA


PCMA Convening Leaders 2015

Chicago, IL

Choose Chicago has several upcoming opportunities for our partners to participate in shows and events around the world. Please see the current opportunities list through 2014 and email if your organization is interested.

For more information, please contact Lori Adlesick, Director of Special Events, at