The Destination

 Choose Chicago October 2018 

A note from David Whitaker, President & CEO

Conde Nast - Best Big City In The U.S.

Hello, Everyone:
Perhaps you have already heard but it bears repeating – I am incredibly pleased to share that for the second time in two years, Condé Nast Travelers’ readers have voted Chicago as the “best big city to visit in the U.S.” Last year was a first for Chicago and once again, the publication’s Reader’s Choice Awards voted the city to the top spot in its annual survey.

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Condé Nast Traveler is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast. The publication’s Reader’s Choice Awards are billed as the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as ‘the best of the best of travel.’ Over 470,000 votes were cast and Condé Nast Traveler itself was quite broad in promoting this prestigious ranking through its various print, digital and social media platforms reaching over 22 million travel enthusiast.

Conde Nast Mayor
Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Awards names Chicago as Best Big City To Visit in the U.S.

It is always significant when a leading travel publication and its savvy and knowledgeable readers vote you the number one travel destination in the nation. But to be selected now for a second year in a row – this simply speaks volumes of the kind of city and destination Chicago has become, the kind of experiences discovered here and validation of the overall effort so many in our community are making every day to invite and welcome the world here. This is the kind of momentum that will help us shape our destination message with unabashed pride and confidence (while always being respectful and cognizant of headwinds and challenges).

Each of you as partners, key stakeholders in our visitor and hospitality industry, entrepreneurs and providers of amazing travel and entertainment experiences should be incredibly proud of your city, our industry and this amazing recognition earned.

Speaking of momentum, this month we are now able to report on key hotel performance indices year-to-date now through September. Room Demand (hotel rooms consumed) is pacing up 4.9% for the year. This is very important as our success in part continues to fuel hotel investment and supply which is now up another 3.4% for the year. Average Daily Rate is pacing up 5% as we help attract more cosmopolitan travelers (indicative as an example of Condé Nast Traveler readers) who are more conducive to staying in a hotel, staying longer in general and spending more based on their travel and experiential interests. 

As always, thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation of our Choose Chicago team and here’s to you and Chicago – it should never grow old being number one.
For a link to the complete results of the Reader’s Choice Awards and winning destinations, click here

– David Whitaker

By the Numbers

Key Performance Indicators

January-September YTD, 2018 (Preliminary)

  2017 2018 % Change
Occupancy 75.3% 76.4% 1.5%
ADR $202.49 $212.56 5.0%
RevPAR $152.46 $162.39 6.5%
Room Supply 11,247,864 11,631,183 3.4%
Room Demand 8,468,827 8,885,595 4.9%

Meetings & Conventions


Congratulations to the Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT), producers of the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). AMT wrapped up an incredible, record breaking IMTS Show on September 15th, 2018.  It is certainly one for the record books!

Here are just a few of the stats from their show:

  • Record-breaking registered attendees:  129,415 - previous record: 121,764 registrants
  • Record 1,424,232 sq. ft. of exhibit space -  previous record: 1,415,848 sq. ft. representing 2,123 booths (previous record 1,808 booths)
  • Record 2,563 exhibiting companies - previous record: 2,407 exhibiting companies

Chicago welcomes the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons 100th Annual Meeting, Scientific Sessions and Exhibition


Chicago welcomes the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons 100th Annual Meeting, Scientific Sessions and Exhibition  

In 1918, 29 doctors got together to hold the first-ever meeting of the American Society of Exodontists – the organization that later evolved into AAOMS. One hundred years later, thousands of attendees will gather to commemorate the past and explore new applications to achieve greater patient care and surgical outcomes while heightening the specialty’s reputation and solidifying its future.

The AAOMS Annual Meeting will take place at McCormick Place West October 8 – 13, 2018.  AAOMS is a home-town client. Choose Chicago congratulates AAOMS on their 100th Anniversary. Welcome home AAOMS!

Global Development

global development

Choose Chicago helped craft August’s addition of a French Travel Trade Newsletter distributed by Express Conseil. Its purpose was to introduce French Tour Operators and Travel Agencies to various tourism products available in Chicago. This newsletter was in the form of an E-blast and sent to 1,342 of their subscribers. Highlighted in this newsletter were new Chicago hotels, Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago Gourmet, EXPO Chicago, Art on theMART, rooftop bars, and Chicago sporting events.

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global development

AmericaBound Tours, operating in the Netherlands, provided a marketing contribution to promote their “Sounds of the South Music Tour Series”. Chicago was featured in Volkskrant Daily & Soundz magazine to promote this tour, and received social media marketing to promote the itinerary. The two outlets have a combined readership of 765,000. The Tour actualized in June 2018 with 48 room nights sold (Fairfield Inn & Suites) and generated $12,500 in new hotel revenue. Additionally, 36 Shoreline Sightseeing attraction cruise tickets sold. This promotion provided a great opportunity to help support Brand USA’s focus on music in America, in support of their IMAX film America’s Musical Journey released this year.

global development

To raise awareness for Chicago as a leisure destination city to the European Travel Trade, Choose Chicago partnered with Brand USA for a 1-page Chicago ad in New World Travel’s 2018 Trade Tariff. Germany, Austria, France, & Switzerland were the targeted countries. The Trade Tariff was distributed to over 5,000 Travel Trade Professionals, all B2B. This Receptive Tour Operator’s annual number of room nights booked in Chicago is 2,377 with $447,801 in revenue.

If you are interested in joining the Global Development team for a Sales Mission, or sponsoring a prize package, please reach out to:



  • Associations/Organizations
    Brand Action Media
  • Banners/Signs/Printing
    Icon Printing Inc
  • Dining/American
    Land & Lake Kitchen
    Walton Street Kitchen + Bar
  • Dining/French
  • Dining/Mediterranean
    The Purple Pig
  • Dining/Seafood
    Two Lights Seafood & Oyster
  • Entertainment/Talent/Speakers
    MP Management
  • Event Management/Production
    Barton Event Management
  • Hotels
    Hotel Julian Chicago
  • Museums
    National Museum of Gospel Music
  • Shopping
    Chicago Duty Free by Dufry
  • Taxi/Limousine/Shuttle/Car Services
    All American Limousine
    Fellowship Fleet Limousine and Bus Company
  • Theater & Performing Arts
    Athenaeum Theatre
    Babes With Blades Theatre Company
    Beverly Theatre Guild
    Broken Nose Theatre
    Hell in a Handbag Productions
    The Factory Theater

Save the Date

December Holiday Partner Networking Event

The Bassment – Chicago
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
4:30pm – 6:30pm

Live music featuring the Anthony Robinson Band plus food & beverage.

Get Ready for Chicago Restaurant Week 2019, Jan 25-Feb 7


Don’t delay! The deadline to register to participate in Chicago Restaurant Week is October 31, 2018.

Choose Chicago dining partners have the opportunity to participate in one of the most highly anticipated culinary events of the year. Last year’s record-breaking Restaurant Week featured 365 restaurants, serving 639,600+ diners and generating over $29M in direct spending at Chicago area restaurants during a traditionally slow time of year.

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New This Year – Menu Price Increase:
To help maximize ROI for our dining partners, while keeping prices attractive for consumers, we are implementing the following menu price increases:

Lunch/Brunch - $24 per person (from $22)
Dinner - $36 and/or $48 per person (from $33 and/or $44)

These prices exclude tax, tip and beverages.

Mark Your Calendars
September 7, 2018- Registration opens -- you will receive an email with details and a link to register
October 31, 2018 - Deadline to purchase participation and complete registration
November 30, 2018 - Deadline to upload menu(s) & submit required dining certificate/gift card
If you have questions please contact us at
We look forward to your participation.

Partner Profile: Paramount Group Scales Heights


Seven years ago a new catering experience began in Chicago and has been thriving ever since.  A profile of The Paramount Group, a family owned and operated business, located at 1750 W. Lake St.

Cultural Tourism

League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago, announces dates for Chicago Theatre Week 2019

Chicago Theatre Week 2019 Logo

February 7 – 17, 2019
Annual celebration will kick off the Year of Chicago Theatre

Chicago – Chicago Theatre Week (#CTW19), an annual celebration of the rich tradition of theatre-going in Chicago during which visitors and residents can access value-priced tickets, will take place February 7-17, 2019. From joy to heartache and every feeling in between, Chicago theatre tells stories that evoke big emotions. Stories that take risks, inspire awe, ask tough questions – and dare audiences to do the same. From musicals to plays to comedy, theatre is for everyone in Chicago. Chicago Theatre Week is a celebration of the stories we share and will kick off 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre, a first-of-its-kind initiative designated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Chicago Theatre Week, spanning a week and two full weekends, is heading into its seventh year. As a program of the League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago, over 100 theatre productions are expected to participate in neighborhoods throughout the city and suburbs.

The value-priced CTW tickets will be $30, $15, or less.  Tickets will go on sale and a list of participating productions will be available online at 10:00am CST on Tuesday, January 8 at

A small sample of the many productions expected to participate are: Court Theatre – Photograph 51; Drury Lane Theatre – Mamma Mia!; Goodman Theatre – How to Catch Creation, Twilight Bowl; Lookingglass Theatre – Act(s) of God; Northlight Theatre – Nina Simone: Four Women; Paramount Theatre – The Producers; Porchlight Music Theatre – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder; The Second City – 107th Mainstage Revue; Steppenwolf Theatre – A Doll’s House, Part 2; TimeLine Theatre – Cardboard Piano; Victory Gardens Theater – Pipeline; and Writers Theatre – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Last year, in February 2018, 115 participating productions offered value-priced tickets to 619 individual performances during Chicago Theatre Week. More than 12,500 tickets were sold in 2018, marking a rapid increase in sales over the course of the initiative. The program continued to bring in new audiences to area theaters with an average of 66% of attendees visiting their chosen theatre for the first time. Theatre Week proved to be a draw for visitors from outside Chicago with 17% of patrons coming from beyond 50 miles of the city, including 40 states.

“This year we are thrilled that Chicago Theatre Week will kick off the Year of Chicago Theatre celebration.  We hope that every Chicagoan will see a show this year. Chicago Theatre Week will be the first opportunity to see incredible shows at great prices,” comments Deb Clapp, Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theatres. “Chicago’s rich tradition of theatre is known world-wide and Chicago Theatre Week is just one chance to celebrate new work, fresh talent, musicals, improv, and more.  Theatre is one of the things that sets Chicago apart from other cities.”

“Chicago, which is home to over 250 dynamic theaters, provides visitors more variety and creative platforms than any destination in the United States,” said David Whitaker, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “With 2019 being the Year of Chicago Theatre, Chicago Theatre Week is for many a chance to raise the curtain on the amazing performances, venues, artists and diverse audiences. While Chicago Theatre Week offers a featured preview it may also be an opportunity for visitors to realize that our theater scene cannot be taken in in just one day or perhaps just one visit and we invite everyone to take advantage of the celebration and programming.”

Chicago Theatre Week is presented by the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago. Subscribe to the Theatre Week email newsletter or follow @ChicagoPlays on Twitter for updates and announcements.

The official hashtag for Chicago Theatre Week 2019 is #CTW19.

About Chicago theatre
Chicago theater is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theaters throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theaters in the country, including 5 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theaters serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. Last year alone Chicago theater companies produced more than 100 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year Chicago theaters send new work to resident theaters across the country, to Broadway, and around the world.  

League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement
Theatre is essential to the life of a great city and to its citizens.  The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theatres which leverages its collective strength to support, promote, and advocate for Chicago’s theatre industry. Through our work, we ensure that theatre continues to thrive in our city. 

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago Theatres website, Half-price tickets to the current week’s performances as well as future performances are available at and at the two Hot Tix half-price ticket locations: across from the Chicago Cultural Center at Expo72 (72 E. Randolph) and Block Thirty Seven (108 N. State). 

Chicago Friday Night Flights Wraps its Second Season - See you in 2019!


Thank you for attending and supporting Chicago’s Craft Breweries

A year ago this past May Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new kind of summer festival - Chicago Friday Night Flights - a series of neighborhood events highlighting Chicago’s thriving craft beer scene. The second season of Chicago Friday Night Flights ended just like the first – as a resounding success.

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Attendance across all six Friday Night Flights events this summer reached over 3,500 people.

The 2018 edition of “Flights” started in June with a large kickoff event at Gallagher Way and closed last month with a season-ending party on the Chicago Riverwalk.  This year’s Gallagher Way event was followed by five outdoor neighborhood parties - three street festival-type events a beach party and a concluding celebration on the Chicago Riverwalk. Milwaukee Avenue Corridor, 31st Street Beach, the Ravenswood neighborhood, the West Loop and the Riverwalk all played host to this unique summer celebration. The 2018 “Flights” series featured 81 breweries.  Each event included local entertainment and tasting passes for food and the opportunity to sample various beers from the participating breweries.

“What a great way to showcase the amazing neighborhoods of Chicago and the beer they produce,” said David Whitaker, Choose Chicago President and CEO.  “With over 65 craft breweries in Chicago, we expect Chicago Friday Night Flights to be an annual summer tradition in Chicago for years to come.”

Produced by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild and Choose Chicago, the festivals showcased neighborhood breweries and celebrated Chicago’s beer scene, which has become an epicenter of the global craft beer movement. Chicago’s neighborhoods are home to 65 breweries featuring some of the nation’s best award-winning beers, creating a diverse array of styles.

“The second annual Chicago Friday Night Flight series was a summer-long celebration of Chicago’s independent craft breweries and the neighborhoods they call home,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “More than 40 craft breweries showcased their unique beers in venues throughout the city that represent Chicago’s diversity and character. We couldn’t have done it without the support of Mayor Emmanuel, Choose Chicago, our member breweries, and, most importantly, the loyal fans who supported Illinois beer all summer long. Thanks to everyone who made Chicago Friday Night Flights a huge success, and we hope to celebrate with you again next summer!”

Join Us For A Kick-Off To Taste America

James Beard

The James Beard Foundation celebrates women shaking up Chicago’s beverage scene!

Hosted by Jodi Fyfe and Chef Devon Quinn, Eden Restaurant

Thursday, October 25, 2018
The Lakewood


Chicago Sports Commission

Chicago’s First Laver Cup A Rousing Success!

September 21-23, Chicago hosted the first Laver Cup ever held outside Europe to great success. Team Europe defeated Team World 13-8, successfully defending the Laver Cup following an action-packed three days of stunning tennis at the United Center.

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The second edition of the Laver Cup recorded a total attendance of 93,584 over three days. More than 72,000 fans visited the elaborate Laver Cup Fan Zone - complete with a spectacular glass-enclosed practice court fans could walk through while players were warming up. The Laver Cup was broadcast in 200+ countries , and gained over 55M impressions on social media.  

It wasn't only the fans that were thrilled to be in Chicago - the athletes and organizers sang their praises for the the greatest sports city. Roger Federer spoke of how Chicago was chosen to host the Laver Cup, saying, “How can you not come to Chicago, a place that sees so much cool sports and hasn’t seen tennis in a long time. It’s a great feeling for us to be here right now and play in Chicago.”

Thank you to the Laver Cup, Team8, Tennis Australia, the USTA, our partners at the United Center and all those involved in putting on this spectacular event. We’re looking forward to sharing more with you in the coming months on the true impact the Laver Cup had in Chicago. In the meantime, don’t forget to get your tickets to The Rugby Weekend coming up November 3!

One Day, Three Matches, One Ticket: Rugby Weekend Tripleheader, Nov 3!


One ticket covers all three of these highly anticipated international rugby matches, with tickets starting at $40. As an exclusive offer to our Chicago sports fans, use code CHICAGO to get 25% off tickets – hurry, this offer is only available for a limited time! 



Media Relations


Choose Chicago’s Media Relations team hosted 45 members of the media on individual media visits to Chicago in August 2018.  The media coverage generated this month resulted in approximately $4.8 million in media value. A sampling of stories published in August 2018 included:


​For a complete listing of everything that's happening, see the Choose Chicago Events Calendar


Rugby Weekend

The Rugby Weekend is returning to Chicago November 3rd!

Use code CHICAGO for 25% off