5:30pm – 7:30pm
Garmin Store
663 N. Michigan Avenue

Join us as we usher in the holiday season and partner with the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association for our December networking event. Don’t miss this great opportunity to expand your connections with industry colleagues from both organizations.  Register online at

For more information about the Partner Networking Event, please contact Mayela Hobbs, Manager of Partner Relations & Outreach, at or 312-567-8462.



Seth Bankier: Founder & Chief Executive Spinner at Spin-Spun Cotton Candy

Cotton candy, the classic feathery confection on a stick, gets an innovative twist with all natural ingredients and gourmet flavors. Launched in early 2012, the Deerfield-based company Spin-Spun All Natural Confections has been a hit at events across the country. With varieties that include White Truffle and Single Malt Scotch, their version of the childhood treat has a decidedly epicurean edge, which is even more enticing given that it is also: less than 100 calories per serving, 100% organic sugar, fat free, gluten free, nut free and dairy free.

Spin-Spun founder Seth Bankier talks about joining Choose Chicago as a partner and how the industry network has benefitted his business.

Spin Spun All Natural Confections

How would you describe your position?

Founder & Chief Executive Spinner. I do everything from creating our cotton candy flavors to spinning Spin-Spun cotton candy live at events to promotions; and, of course, paying the bills!

What are some of the goals of your organization? 

To continue to create innovative (and delicious) all-natural/organic treats that promote health, sustainability, and enjoyment of life.

What projects are you most proud of?

Building the business of Spin-Spun all natural gourmet cotton candy. This was an idea that I had nearly two years ago, and it has completely reinvented cotton candy, one of America’s oldest and most nostalgic treats.

Specifically, the flavors I am most proud of are my Salted Caramel, White Truffle, and Single Malt Scotch.

I am also very proud to be working with such Chicago institutions as the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, the Chicago Cubs, and many others! We also believe very strongly in supporting the Chicago community, and I am proud to work with many wonderful charitable organizations, including Gateway Green, the Anthony Rizzo Cancer Foundation, the MS Society, and many, many more.

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

The relationships that I have developed with Choose Chicago have been impactful for my business at many levels, ranging from staffing to sales.

At my first Choose Chicago event, I connected with the Dean of Kendall College’s hospitality program Susan Tinnish. Through that relationship I have found some of my finest employees.

Spin-Spun has also been hired directly by Choose Chicago members to spin live at events. These events have led to other bookings as well. It has been great for us!!

Why did you join? What were your expectations?

I was referred by another Choose Chicago partner and I didn't know exactly what to expect. All I know is that it has been more beneficial than I could have imagined!

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

For Spin-Spun, networking has been the most beneficial.

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

It's really a no-brainer. The value and support of Choose Chicago’s partner network is unparalleled. We all work together to create successful businesses, a stronger Chicago economy, and in turn, making the best city in the world even better.


Spin-Spun has become known as the BEST-TASTING & MOST HEALTH-CONSCIOUS cotton candy ever created. Spin-Spun Cotton Candy is ALL NATURAL (technically, it is ORGANIC), LESS THAN 100 CALORIES/SERVING, FAT FREE, GLUTEN FREE, NUT FREE, & DAIRY FREE. It does not get any better than this, and we cannot wait to share it with you!! If you would like to try Spin-Spun Cotton Candy for yourself, or for more information or a quote, email Seth Bankier at





With the holiday season upon us, consider your Choose Chicago partners when shopping for client gifts. From a Midwest cheese medley to a mini-suitcase of all Chicago candies, to gift cards for dining, boutique shopping and more – start on your gift list with these uniquely Chicago ideas. 

  • Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine: Browse the holiday gift catalog from this European-inspired specialty shop for items like the “Sweet Home Chicago” set of locally-made toffee, truffles and caramel corn, the ”Sunday Brunch Collection” of Bloody Mary ingredients, the “Best of the Midwest Collection” of regional cheeses and accoutrements, and the “Tickled for Pickles” jars of picked gems

  • Chicago French Market: The indoor marketplace is home to nearly 30 specialty vendors, many of which offer their wares in ready-to-go gift sets, such as Lillie’s Q 3-pack BBQ sauce sets, Abbey Brown artisanal soap bars and Vanille Patisserie handmade Parisian macaroon gift boxes

  • Lettuce Entertain You: With over 30 Chicago-area restaurants, a LEYE gift card covers just about all cuisines, with the added plus of offering an incentive program that awards bonus certificates for spending above a certain amount

  • Giftbar: Let the curators of this digital gift card marketplace do the work for you by selecting top neighborhood boutiques that cater to all your client’s personalities, from the oenophile to the design-o-phile to the sweet tooth

  • Candyality: If you are what you eat, then get insight into your client’s candy personality with a signature “Shop in a Box” personality decoder, or stick with the hometown favorites in the “Chicago Celebrity Truffle Box”  and the “All Chicago Candy Suitcase”   

  • Preferred Stock Gift Baskets: Completely customized and exquisitely styled, have your gift basket built around your client’s tastes with selections of Chicago-themed parcels that feature local food items sourced within a 50-mile radius of the city, as well as indulgent food imports

  • Great Chicago Gifts: For a wide selection of affordable Chicago souvenirs and gifts, from keepsake ornaments and snow globes to Chicago Bears mug sets and Wrigley Field travel tumblers, take your pick from this online retailer

  • Nuts on Clark: Between the sweet and salty, cheese and caramel, mix and match your client gifts from the assortment of gourmet nuts and flavored popcorns at this Wrigleyville institution

  • Garrett Popcorn Shops: Treat your clients to a classic Chicago treat — the famed “Chicago Mix” combination of CaramelCrisp® with CheeseCorn™, available in a Shorty Pack, a Party Pack or the signature Chicago skyline gallon tins



A special thank you to the many partners who assisted in the 7th China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit hosted by Choose Chicago last month in coordination with US Travel Association and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). Your support was essential in elevating awareness of our tourism assets to this key audience of 100 senior tourism officials, many of whom were making their first trip to Chicago. The 2-day visit made headlines across China media, prominently featuring our city and the events and meetings attended by CNTA Chairman Shao Qiwei and the Chinese delegation.

On behalf of Mayor Emanuel and Don Welsh our sincere thanks to all the partners who contributed their time and resources to make the summit a success:

United Airlines; Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Westin Chicago River North; PSAV; Blue Plate; Kehoe Designs/Floral Exhibits; Peninsula Chicago; Chicago’s First Lady Cruises; Millennium Park/Jay Pritzker Pavilion; Hall’s Rentals; Chinese Fine Arts Society; Gibsons Steakhouse; Art Institute of Chicago; John Hancock Observatory; Windy City Limousines; BBJ Linen; Carmel Music + Entertainment; Oscar Einzig Photography; Chicago Department of Aviation; and



Last month’s One Hour Data Download partner seminar with our Director of Market Analytics, David Czechowski, revealed a whole new set of demographics, providing insight into who were the international visitors that came to Chicago in 2012. Go in-depth with individual profiles from 9 countries (Brazil, China, Japan, UK, Mexico, Germany, Benelux, Australia, and South Korea) that provides key statistics on the international visitors, from average age and household income to length of stay, party size and trip expenditure. The profiles also highlight the top activities by category (shopping, dining, visiting museums or historical places, etc.) and the purpose of the trip, whether it be for a leisure or family visit, business or convention stay.

These international profiles — as well as the full One Hour Data Download presentation and the previously uploaded IPW presentation on how to work with Receptive Tour Operators to reach the international visitor market — are available online through the Partner Extranet. Sign in using your partner login at and find the documents under Educational Resources.

For questions regarding the One Hour Data Download presentation and the international profile data, please contact David Czechowski, Director of Market Analytics, at



9:00am – 11:00am
Choose Chicago Downtown Office
72 E. Randolph, 3rd Floor Conference Room
Please sign in at the security desk

Drop by and see us during our monthly office hours for our partners! Choose Chicago will offer one-on-one walk-in hours for our partner organizations at our downtown office. These 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

Please mark your calendars for the future Office Hours in 2014, scheduled for the first Thursday of every month from 9:00am – 11:00am (note there are no Office Hours scheduled for January):

  • February 6, 2014
  • March 6, 2014
For more information about Choose Chicago office hours, please contact Mayela Hobbs, Manager of Partner Relations & Outreach, at or 312-567-8462.



3:30pm – 6:30pm
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Join Choose Chicago as our Cultural Tourism team previews the major Chicago events, performances and exhibitions on the 2014 arts and culture calendar. Details and registration information will be announced shortly; please save the date.



Skyline Ballroom, McCormick Place West Building
2301 S. Indiana Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

As we near the end of 2013, we begin to reflect on the incredible successes from the past year not only as an organization, but as an industry and a destination. The Partnership team hopes you’ll join us on February 27, 2014 as we celebrate those accomplishments and share some of the future initiatives Choose Chicago has planned. Details and registration information will be announced shortly; please save the date.



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

Looking forward to the next golf season, please mark your calendar for our annual tournament, the 2014 Chicago Golf Classic. Join Choose Chicago and fellow industry colleagues at the championship courses of Cog Hill in Lemont. Event details and registration information will be announced later in the spring of next year.




Chicago Neighborhoods

As Choose Chicago works to develop a cultural tourism strategy for the city, highlighting Chicago's neighborhoods is a key initiative in engaging visitors in a way that leads to repeat visits and extended stays. With the recent launch of the new Chicago Neighborhoods website on, our communities and partners are being showcased in a way that makes each neighborhood a destination in itself.

With this highly interactive section, visually navigate the city through images within the photographic montage map and delve deeper into 51 featured neighborhoods where you can view listings by Shop, Play, Eat and Stay categories. Informative neighborhood descriptions, upcoming events, transportation details and itineraries provide even more resources to plan a visit outside of the downtown Loop.

With a wealth of diverse cultural assets, and now this interactive website to leverage them, our partners and our neighborhoods are positioned to reach an even greater audience.

For more information, please contact Jordan Engerman, Director of Partnerships, at or 312-567-8586.



The countdown to IPW 2014 is less than 150 days! Preparations are coming together for the premier travel tradeshow that attracts over 5,500 delegates — including the US suppliers, approximately 1,200 international buyers and 500 media. As host, Choose Chicago will welcome the delegates with several events.

Our opening night event will take place on the evening of Sunday, April 6 at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, the sprawling event and studio space located just west of downtown. Special thanks to our Opening Night Event Sponsor, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism. Featuring Chicago's finest chefs and mixologists, the reception will present headline entertainment and showcase the depth of our offerings, from theater, music, architecture and more.

Closing night on Wednesday, April 9 will transform the Museum of Science and Industry into a vibrant block party that celebrates Chicago's neighborhoods. Our stellar culinary offerings will combine with the sounds of blues, house music, salsa and rock n' roll to showcase Chicago as the all-American city and celebrate our diversity.

If you would like more information about IPW 2014, visit



Chicago has been named a finalist for six NCAA Championships during the 2014-2018 seasons. The Chicago Sports Commission, along with venue and institution partners, is in the running for Men’s Division I Ice Hockey; Women’s Division I Volleyball; Men’s Division I, II & III Lacrosse; Women’s Division I Lacrosse; and the National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

Over the next month, the NCAA will continue their evaluation of those cities named as finalists and selected host cities for each championship year will be announced by the NCAA on December 11, 2013.

For ongoing Chicago Sports Commission updates and breaking news from Chicago's athletic community, follow us on Twitter @ChiSportsComm and "Like" us on Facebook.



Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 proved to be the most successful Restaurant Week program yet:

  • 286 participating restaurants
  • 513,000+ diners served
  • $26.9 million in direct dining spending at Chicago area restaurants

This year, Chicago Restaurant Week (CRW) has been extended to 14 days, starting on Friday, January 24 - Thursday, February 6, 2014. Join you industry partners during this citywide culinary celebration and promote your restaurant to new customers - 72% of diners tried a new restaurant during CRW 2013 and 75% of diners said they would return to a restaurant they tried. Click here for a Program Overview.

Does your restaurant plan to participate in Chicago Restaurant Week 2014? Click here to complete your Registration. Each of the following program requirements must be provided:

  • Registration Fee of $350 for Premier/Ultimate Package Partners and $500 for Choice Package Partners
  • PDF of Prix Fixe Menu(s) for the Official CRW website
  • $100 Dining Certificate/gift card for CRW promotions

Kicking off Chicago Restaurant Week is First Bites Bash, a grand tasting event of sweet and savory menu samplings from more than 50 Restaurant Week participants. This fun, food-filled evening will take place at Union Station's Great Hall on Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 5:30PM - 8:30PM. Click here to submit a Tasting Station Application.

For questions about Chicago Restaurant Week or First Bites Bash, contact



Join us in welcoming the newest partners to Choose Chicago:



Kendall College School of Hospitality Management, ranked the No. 1 program in Chicago for preparing students for hospitality careers, recently released its first-ever trends report for the hospitality industry in 2014. The illustrative graphic outlines the importance of this industry locally, nationally and globally — being among the largest and fastest-growing industries worldwide — while the forecasting trends and opportunities in the online report point to the importance of user-generated review sites such as TripAdvisor for “digital word of mouth;” the movement towards classic cocktails and the sour beer-making tradition; the advancement of sustainability as the new standard; and the reinvention of hotel room service.

Kendall College Trends in Hospitality 2014




Just in time for the holidays, Chicago Greeter will again offer free, one-hour walks of North Michigan Avenue and the surrounding area with local volunteer guides every Friday and Saturday through December 28. Visitors travel throughout the Streeterville and Gold Coast neighborhoods, discovering landmarks such as the John Hancock Center, the former Playboy Mansion, historic hotels and cathedrals; and learn from the insiders some of their best bets for holiday shopping. Departing from the Water Works Visitor Information Center, all InstaGreeter walks are first-come, first-served and limited to groups of six or fewer. For drop-in hours and details, visit



The 13th season of ice skating in Millennium Park opens this Friday and will remain open through Sunday, March 9, 2014 (weather permitting). New this year are Winter Workouts presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, free ice skating lessons will be offered one hour before the rink opens and every Thursday will feature ice sports skills and drills for Noodle Hockey, curling and speed.  For daily and special holiday hours, visit


The beloved holiday tradition along downtown’s Michigan Avenue has a number of special guests this year. In addition to Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse leading the parade of floats, helium-filled balloons and marching bands, film and tv personality Mario Lopez and his family will ride through and rally the crowd with the “World’s Largest Holiday Carol!” Look out for Candyality’s new float, a visual masterpiece made of life-size candy, and don’t miss the celebrities passing through the procession: Laura Marano of Disney Channel’s “Austin & Ally,” Grace Phipps from the Disney Channel Original Movie Teen Beach Movie, and singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson. Gracing the stage with live musical performances are Interscope recording artist Megan Nicole as well as Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. For more event details and a full schedule, visit 


The City of Chicago celebrates the 100th anniversary of Chicago’s Christmas Tree with a spectacular lighting ceremony in Daley Plaza at 6:00pm. Joining Mayor Emanuel and Santa Claus will be pop music singer Darlene Love, The Trainees from the Joffrey Academy of Dance performing an excerpt from The Nutcraker, and performers with Broadway in Chicago’s Elf the Musical and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. The free live performances will open the festivities beginning at 5:00pm and the program with be emceed by father-and-son journalists Lester and Stefan Holt. The night also marks the opening of the UL Santa House, so plan to stay afterwards for a visit and photo. For the full holiday schedule of events, visit


The annual German-inspired shopping bazaar returns to Daley Plaza, bringing its charming selection of hand-crafted holiday gifts and traditional foods and drinks through Tuesday, December 24. The beloved tradition, which marks 18 years in 2013, combines its Grand Opening with the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and features a lineup of special events including a visit from Christkind (the fairy-like figure from German folklore who is the bearer of gifts), a lantern parade, choir performances and caroling. For daily hours and the full holiday schedule, visit



Ronald McDonald, Santa and a cast of thousands march down State Street as over 400,000 people line the route from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. Gaze at the gigantic helium balloons, move to the beat of the marching bands and wave at the entertainers in decorative floats. Leading this year’s parade as Grand Marshal is Drew Sidora from the new movie CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. For details, visit



The Choose Chicago public relations team has been busy promoting the destination and our partners, resulting in media coverage that recently included these clips:


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: 


World Travel Market (WTM)

London, England


United Airlines MICE Business Forum

Chicago, IL



Puerto Allegre, Brazil



Chicago, IL


Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Annual Conference (xld)

Boston, MA


Exhibition for the Incentive Business Travel and Meetings (EIBTM)

Barcelona, Spain


Nursing Organizations Alliance

Minneapolis, MN


NCMBP Fall Conference

Philadelphia, PA


IAEE Expo! Expo!

Houston, TX


American Bus Association

Nashville, TN


PCMA Annual Meeting

Boston, MA


Executive Exchange

Washington, DC


Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Chicago, IL


RSAA Annual Summit

Washington, DC



Sacramento, CA


North American Journeys Summit West

Los Angeles, CA


Global Medical Meetings Summit

Philadelphia, PA


Destinations Showcase DC

Washington DC


National Tour Association

Los Angeles, CA

Will you be attending PCMA’s Convening Leaders in Boston January 12-15, 2014?  Please let us know if you will be attending and are willing to act as a Chicago ambassador by working in our host city booth.  PCMA Convening Leaders will be taking place in Chicago in 2015 and we look forward to encouraging all PCMA attendees to join us!  Please email Lori Adlesick at if you are interested and able to participate.

Additionally, 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