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Choose Chicago Celebrates 7th Annual International Greeter Day with Free Volunteer-Led Tours of Chicago Landmarks and Neighborhoods
The Sept. 10th celebration arrives during the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Greeter program and marks the conclusion of Choose Chicago’s popular summer pop-up InstaGreeter tour series
CHICAGO, IL – September 2, 2022 – Choose Chicago President and CEO Lynn Osmond announces a series of downtown and neighborhood tours on Sept. 10 as part of Chicago’s celebration of the 7th annual International Greeter Day. These free, volunteer-led tours will showcase the best of Chicago’s history, architecture, and culture to visitors and locals while celebrating the impact of the Chicago Greeter program, which is one of the oldest of 130 greeter programs in cities around the world. International Greeter Day comes as Choose Chicago continues to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Chicago Greeter and wraps up its popular pop-up InstaGreeter tour series.
”Chicago is proud to have one of the best and longest-running Greeter programs in the world,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “Thanks entirely to local volunteers, we are able to give thousands of visitors an authentic and unique Chicago experience and we are excited to celebrate our amazing program on this International Greeter Day.”
Each year the Chicago Greeter program holds hundreds of greeter tours, connecting over 10,000 visitors with personalized explorations led by friendly locals that are customized according to visitors’ interests. To celebrate International Greeter Day, Choose Chicago will be hosting Greeter-led walks to the following seven locations on Saturday, Sept. 10, with registration beginning at 10:00 am and tours departing at the times indicated:
- Bronzeville (11:30 a.m.): Hear the stories of Bronzeville, home to many of Chicago’s African American leaders
- Chicago Riverwalk (10:00 and 11:30 a.m.): Take a stroll along the water and hear about architecture, history, and life on the Riverwalk
- Chinatown (10:30 and 11:30 a.m.): Follow a Greeter to explore this historic neighborhood rich in culture
- Loop (every half hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending with 12:30 p.m.): Explore the history and architecture of Chicago’s iconic downtown
- Millennium Park (every half hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending with 12:30 p.m.): Dive into the park’s public art and tranquil green space
- Pilsen (10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.): Walk the streets of one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, known for murals and mosaics
- Uptown (11:30 a.m.): Meet a Greeter in this North Side neighborhood, known for its nightlife and history like the Green Mill jazz club
All tours, other than the Uptown tour, will depart from the Millennium Park Chase Promenade (201 E. Randolph St.). The Uptown walk leaves from Provisions Uptown (4812 N. Broadway). Ventra tickets will be provided for the Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Chinatown tours. Choose Chicago will also present free live music at the Millennium Park Chase Promenade and host a Greeter-staffed pop-up visitor center in the plaza in front of Cloud Gate (The Bean) for visitor questions.
Choose Chicago’s Greeter program relies on over 160 volunteers to help visitors experience Chicago like a local. These Greeters are local experts that are passionate about their city and willing to graciously give their time to showcase the best of Chicago to visitors. Tours are offered in 12 different languages and participants have come from over 80 countries and every U.S. state. Visit the Choose Chicago website for more information on how to become a greeter.
“Over the past eight years, I’ve enjoyed sharing the history of my birthplace through my Greeter tours of Bronzeville,” said Roy Malone, a greeter for 8 years. “I’ve learned in my encounters with visitors from many parts of the country and other parts of the world that, despite some of our differences, we share numerous interests. It’s also gratifying when visitors maintain contact following their tours.”
The Greeter concept began in New York as Big Apple Greeter, founded and conceptualized by Lynn Brooks in 1992. The program was designed as a way for local residents to share their passion and stories about their home city. The popularity of Big Apple Greeter inspired the creation of Chicago Greeter, with a soft launch in 2001 in collaboration with United and American Airlines and the official launch in April 2002. Over the past 20 years, the Chicago Greeter program has thrived with the support of Chicago’s hospitality, education, Park District, transportation, and tourism industry partners.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Greeter program, Choose Chicago has been hosting a special series of pop-up tours this summer featuring 20 participating neighborhoods. The pop-up InstaGreeter series wraps up on Saturday, September 3rd with a free tour of the Loop at 11:30 am meeting at the Millennium Park Welcome Center (201 E. Randolph St.), a free tour of Chatham at 11:30 am meeting at 1 E. 79th St. and a free tour of the Gold Coast at 1:00 pm meeting at the Graham Foundation (4 W. Burton Pl.) More information can be found on the Chicago Greeter website– visitors can also continue to sign up for in-person personalized greeter tours and download virtual, self-guided tours of neighborhoods throughout the city.
“Our visit to Chicago lasted 7 days,” said two visitors from Montreal. “Within our 7-day visit of Chicago our Greeter walking tour alongside our attendance to a White Sox Game against the Minnesota Twins were the two most memorable highlights of our trip.”
Find additional information and a full schedule of Chicago Greeter programs, including the International Greeter Day celebration and the pop-up series, on the Chicago Greeter website.
Follow @chicagogreeter on Instagram and Choose Chicago on Facebook, Instagramand Twitterfor updates on International Greeter Day. #chicagogreeter
About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Follow @chicagogreeter and @choosechicago on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tag #ChicaGOandKNOW. For more information, visit choosechicago.com.