Navy Pier Centennial Vision rendering

Construction crews have been hard at work to begin transforming Chicago landmark Navy Pier into a bolder, greener, more contemporary urban space, as a result of a design that grew out of the Centennial Vision planning framework adopted by Navy Pier Inc. in 2011.

Phase I of the redevelopment has been set to take place until Memorial Day 2014, then again between Labor Day 2014 and Memorial Day 2015. The construction activity has been planned to minimize its impact on day-to-day Pier operations.

Phase I projects include:

  • Transformation of the South Dock into a more engaging, greener space with new paved surfaces, more seating and additional social areas
  • Conversion of the South Arcade indoor walkway into a Chicago-themed specialty food and restaurant marketplace
  • Creation of a lighted water fountain/ice skating rink in Gateway Park.

Also included in Phase I is the construction of a Wave Wall, a visually striking element connecting the South Dock to Pier Park, providing a south-facing staircase where people can gather and enjoy views of the lake.

The Pier's redevelopment is part of Elevate Chicago, a major public-private infrastructure program that will boost Chicago's tourism, convention and trade show business, stimulate economic growth and job creation and enhance the quality of life for residents of the region.

For more information about The Centennial Vision, visit



Chicago's restaurants and chefs were well represented at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards, held on May 5.

Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of River North's Purple Pig was a co-winner in the rising star chef category, awarded to chefs younger than 30. Dave Beran of Fulton Market restaurant Next was the winner of best chef in the Great Lakes region.

Rounding out Chicago's JBF award winners were Maria Contreras, Christopher Lawton and Micah Stanley of Lawton Stanley Architects, who won outstanding restaurant design award (75 seats and under) for the West Loop's Grace.

Congratulations to all Chicago award winners and nominees for representing our city's epicurean cuisine!

Click here for a full list of James Beard Award winners.




Founded by a small group of jazz fans, writers, club owners and musicians, the Jazz Institute of Chicago has sought to preserve the historical roots of Chicago's music and ensure it wouldn't fade in an era of ever-evolving musical tapestry.

Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2014, the Jazz Institute of Chicago is still prospering, offering a multitude of jazz festivals, performances, educational programs, and other opportunities for all people to enjoy the genre's legacy.

One important program, as part of a partnership with The Drake Hotel, has opened the door for an entire generation of young artists, using their musical gifts to perpetuate jazz music and inspire audiences. It's a new way for visitors and locals alike to experience the future movements of jazz, all in a classic setting.

NextGenJazz, now in its third season, is once again featuring the best new jazz music with a diverse lineup of emerging artists. From 7-11 p.m. on the first three Thursdays of April, May, June, July, September and October, some of Chicago's most talented young musicians take the stage at The Drake Hotel's Palm Court to entertain captive audiences.

"We are dedicated to promoting and nurturing jazz in Chicago. Partnering with local landmarks like The Drake Hotel help us to develop and support Chicago musicians, build Chicago audiences and foster a thriving Chicago jazz scene," said Rik Geiersbach, Boeing vice president of corporate strategy. "It would be hard to envision a better example of a creative civic connection than the profit world (the legendary Drake Hotel), a non-profit player (Jazz Institute of Chicago) and local business partners (e.g., the Boeing Company) all coming together to make beautiful music!"

"It's a win-win. It gives (young musicians) exposure at a world-renowned venue, and it gives us the opportunity to expose ourselves to the next generation of people," Stefan Gruvberger, hotel manager at The Drake Hotel, said. "We have so many generations who have been engaged at The Drake or have been at some rite of passage here. This is a perfect way for us to maintain that relevance with new generations in general and with the Chicago music scene specifically."

The NextGenJazz partnership began in 2012 when The Drake approached the Jazz Institute with an idea for a festival to honor Chicago's local music scene and its rich jazz roots, offering its grounds as the venue. It was a unique partnership and a groundbreaking opportunity - two historic establishments joined to create an indelible showcase of Chicago's up-and-coming musicians, artists whose stage time at other well-known venues has declined.

"The Jazz Institute of Chicago and their executive director, Lauren Deutsch, and President Rik Geiersbach have been wonderful partners throughout the whole process," Gruvberger said. "From our NextGenJazz partnership, we also worked together to make The Drake the presenting sponsor and a stop on the Jazz Institute's annual Jazz Club Tour."

Given the Jazz Institute of Chicago and The Drake Hotel's stature as Chicago institutions, NextGenJazz sets a promising precedent for future partnerships, allowing the city's best cultural work to be brought to light.

"The series is stretching the boundaries this year," Jazz Institute Executive Director, Lauren Deutsch, said. "With the addition of some Latin sounds by way of Mexico and Peru, expanding the groups from trios to quartets, and the return of Drake favorites Marquis Hill and Katie Ernst, we expect this year to be the most exciting one yet."

The best part about it, performances are free and open to the public.

Visit and for a look at NextGenJazz's 2014 season schedule, as well as more information about the Jazz Institute of Chicago and The Drake Hotel Chicago.



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 in the coming months 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 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!


IPW 2014 logo

IPW 2014, the city's "biggest job interview," was Chicago's opportunity to showcase itself as a premier visitor destination to more than 6,000 travel influencers. It is safe to say that IPW 2014 was one of the best international marketplaces yet, with attendees providing many positive comments and feedback.

None of this could have been possible without the support and efforts from our hundreds of volunteers, aisle partners and sponsors. Your work was critical in making IPW an overwhelming success.

Volunteers, thank you for your assistance with airport meet and greets, information desks, transportation, sightseeing tours, evening events and more. Feedback has been especially positive regarding volunteers - your enthusiasm as a Chicago ambassador was extremely well-received.

IPW Volunteers Tourism Team

We heard from delegates (buyers and suppliers) how impressive the Chicago aisle was as they entered the Marketplace Hall. This year we had 27 Choose Chicago partners exhibiting, 2.5 times more than what we had in Las Vegas. If we keep growing, we will be bigger than California's presence! The Chicago aisle was a success due to your participation.

Thank you, Aisle Partners: 360 CHICAGO (formerly the John Hancock Observatory), Absolutely Chicago Segway, Adler Planetarium, The Art Institute of Chicago, Blue Man Group, Broadway In Chicago, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago Department of Aviation, Chicago Trolley & Double-Decker Bus Company, Chicago's Essex Inn, Chicago Zoological Society's Brookfield Zoo, Entertainment Cruises, Fashion Outlets of Chicago, The Field Museum, GMS (Global Management Services), The Magnificent Mile, Hiltons of Chicago, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science & Industry, The Peninsula Chicago, Pullman Sleeping Car Company, LLC, Shoreline Sightseeing, Skydeck Chicago, Smart Destinations / Go Chicago Card, and Virgin Hotels.

We encourage you to use your bannerstands in your sales efforts throughout the year. As we look ahead to IPW 2015 Orlando, we hope you will join us again in the Chicago aisle. Consistency and relationship building with the buyers is the key to capitalizing on the great success of hosting IPW. Our goals of 55 million visitors by 2020 and moving from ninth to fifth most visited U.S. city by international travelers are within reach as long as we continue our dynamic partnership with you.  

We greatly appreciate the support of our Presenting Sponsors, Chicago Department of Aviation; Premier Sponsors, Discover Illinois and Brand USA; and Leading Corporate Sponsor, United Airlines. 

We also thank the sponsorship efforts of 360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory), Blue Plate, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Federation of Labor, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, City Winery, CityPass, Edelman, Event Creative, Garrett's Popcorn, Gibsons Restaurant Group, Goose Island Beer Company, Great Lakes USA, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Illinois Restaurant Association, Innerworkings, Inc., Intercontinental Hotel Group, JAM Entertainment, Kehoe Designs, Kendall College, Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc., Macy's, Mariott International, Inc., Mayer Brown, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, Orbitz, Production Transport, Qatar Airways, Simon Shopping Destinations, The Chicago Cubs, The Peninsula Chicago, The Shops at North Bridge & Fashion Outlets of Chicago, The Signature Room at the 95th, Toque & Bottle, Trinchero Family Estates and Venue One.



Morningstar Global Headquarters
22 W. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602

CultureCreation, a collaboration between IAEE and the IAEE Midwestern Chapter, is a one-day workshop that teaches how to build a workplace culture of trust, innovation and productivity using the Giftwork approach. This tactic instructs how everyday tasks, often seen as obligations, become opportunities to build trust within your teams - as well as with your customers.

Registration for members is $249, while the non-member rate is $549. For additional details and more registration information, visit the IAEE website.



5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
John Barleycorn
149 W. Kinzie St.
Chicago, IL 60654

Join us as we kick off summer in Chicago with our June Partner Networking Event at John Barleycorn. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with your fellow Choose Chicago partners in a fun and lively venue.



Cog Hill Golf & Country Club
12294 Archer Avenue
Lemont, IL 60439

Event details and registration information will be announced soon. Please contact Lori Adlesick, director of special events, with questions at



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



Kara Bachman, who has been a part of the Chicago Sports Commission since its inception, was recently named interim executive director following Executive Director Sam Stark's departure.

Bachman has been an instrumental part of CSC's development, becoming a highly performing organization thanks to the support from the Board of Directors, led by Chairman John Murray and vice Chair Steve Schanwald.



Choose Chicago partners now have the opportunity to promote their organization to over half a million visitors by participating in the Choose Chicago Collateral Distribution Program. This program will allow our partners to display their collateral at our official Visitor Information Centers for an annual rate of $500 or seasonal rate of $350 (April-September).

The Official Visitor Information Centers are located at the Chicago Cultural Center at 77 E. Randolph Street, the Chicago Water Works at the Historic Pumping Station at 163 E. Pearson Street, and most recently in the Macy's on State Street, 111 N. State St.

Our City Concierges found at the Visitor Information Centers maximize the visitor experience in Chicago by showcasing the best of what Chicago has to offer through activities, attractions, tours and events. Our knowledgeable team assists visitors with navigating the city, planning customized itineraries, making restaurant reservations and booking tours and attractions. Maps and complimentary concierge services are also available.

For more information, please contact Alicia Silva, Manager of Visitor Services at



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



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



Last month, the Silversmith Hotel announced completion of its multimillion-dollar renovations and opening of a new lounge and restaurant, Adamus. The Silversmith Hotel also remodeled its guest rooms and public spaces, creating a more inviting environment and coupling its classical architecture with a refined, modern edge.

The hotel's 143 guest rooms were renovated with contemporary furnishings and new fabrics, complementing the rooms' clean lines in hues of silver, gray and neutrals, and accents of chartreuse and fuschia. The bathrooms are spacious and brightly-lit, with large, walk-in showers.

Built in 1896, the Silversmith Hotel has been a fixture in the heart of downtown Chicago, and with its new amenities joining its well-known hospitality and welcoming atmosphere, the Silversmith Hotel is a beacon to visitors looking for a relaxing stay or business professionals looking for high-tech amenities in engaging meeting spaces.



It began as one man's story... became everyone's music... and is now Broadway's musical. Motown the Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy's journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as "My Girl" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," experience the story behind the music in the record-breaking smash hit Motown the Musical!

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Broadway In Chicago.



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.

The music series kicks off with the Festival's 80th Anniversary Season opener: Tchaikovsky Extravaganza! Join Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra, featuring piano sensation Natasha Paremski, performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Francesca da Rimini, June 11 at 6:30 p.m.

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


The world's largest free blues festival this year features headliners Betty LaVette, Aaron Neville and Dr. John. More than half a million fans will pack Grant Park for some soulful tunes with the industry's most famed performers.

The Chicago Blues Festival is June 13-15 and runs from 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. daily.

See the Chicago Blues Festival's complete linup of performers



Chicago Pride Parade

Get ready for a fun, flamboyant party June 21-22 with Chicago Pride Fest in Boystown. Show your pride while enjoying an eclectic lineup of crafts, food and entertainment from some of Chicago's finest LGBT performers.

Then, celebrate Chicago's LGBT community at the annual Pride Parade, now in its 45th year! The parade, June 29, will feature floats, decorated vehicles and marching groups representing organizations, groups, businesses, elected government officials and individuals. Be sure to arrive early to get a good spot!

For more information, visit the Chicago Pride website.



Taste of Chicago

Our recipe for a fantastic food festival? Top Chefs and Grammy winners, combined with several thousand tasting servings of Chicago favorite bites.

The quintessential summer event in the city, Taste of Chicago appeals to all the senses. Eat from the best of Chicago's local restaurant scene, watch culinary experts at cooking demos and listen to award-winning artists as they take to the stage. Iconic Buckingham Fountain, dazzling Lake Michigan and the magnificent skyline form the backdrop to the free, five-day event in Grant Park, taking place July 10-14.



Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18-20, is considered one of the most popular and reasonably priced weekends of music in Chicago, featuring both emerging and internationally renowned acts. It's all about positivity and fun so both the musicians and crowd can have a great time! Vendors are also on-site, selling a variety of local goods.

Headliners this year include Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel and Kendrick Lamar.

Three-day passes have sold out, but single day tickets are still available



Look up the word "lollapalooza" and you'll find this definition: an extraordinary thing; an outstanding example. You won't find any other music festival with a more fitting moniker than Lollapalooza, Chicago's grandest stage for music legends from across the globe. Each year in August, some of the top names in alternative, hip hop, punk and pop join more than 100 bands and musicians in Grant Park to bring you one loud, heart-stopping 3-day event.

Don't miss headliners Eminem, OutKast, Kings of Leon, Lorde and Skrillex at Lolla, August 1-3. Three-day and one-day passes are sold out, but tickets can still be purchased through travel packages and platinum passes on Lollapalooza's website.



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!




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: 


HelmsBriscoe Dinner

Washington, DC


Springtime Expo 2014

Washington, DC


Tradeshow Executive's Fastest 50 Awards and Conference 2014

Chicago, IL


IMEX & ICCA 2014

Frankfurt, Germany


Destinations Showcase Chicago 2014

Chicago, IL


Incentive Travel Exchange 2014

Las Vegas, NV


PCMA Partnership Summit 2014

Colorado Springs, CO


Collaborate Marketplace 2014

Portland, OR


PCMA Education Conference 2014

Toronto, Canada


The Meetings Show

London, England


CESSE 2014

Spokane, WA


MPIGNY Golf Outing

Long Island, NY

Choose Chicago has several upcoming opportunities for our partners to participate in shows and events around the world, from the Springtime Expo in Washington DC to AIBTM in Orlando. 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