Though the Conference will keep your days (and nights!) packed, here are some other activities you might enjoy should you arrive in Chicago early or plan to stay after the Conference.
Each year, millions of people from around the world visit Chicago to see our stunning architecture, world-famous museums, lakefront parks and vibrant ethnic neighborhoods. Here are some resources and tips that will make your trip to Chicago easy and fun. Chicago is our kind of town. We know it will be yours too.
See a Dance or Theater Performance
Highly respected for both the diversity and quality of its theater offerings, Chicago is known for producing highly creative works performed by top-caliber talent. The city's theatrical diversity is evident in the sheer quantity of live productions that abound, from record-breaking Broadway shows and award-winning regional plays to experimental storefront and edgy fringe theater performances.
Muntu Dance Theatre Offers Discounted Tickets to Dance USA participants:
Saturday, July 16, 7pm
Harris Theater for Music & Dance
Join Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago on Saturday, July 16 at 7pm for a
performance at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance. Muntu will
present “This Far by Faith,” an evening of work that celebrates the
resiliency of the human spirit. The concert will feature new pieces by
guest choreographers, featuring Reggie Wilson, founder and artistic
director of Fist and Heel Performance Group in New York, and Theo
Jamison, one of the original Katherine Dunham Dancers in East St.
Louis, now program director for Southern Illinois University/East St.
Louis Center for the Performing Arts. The choreographers will draw from
personal and collective experiences to create vignettes that express
our common will to keep moving forward despite difficult circumstances.
For the $15 discounted tickets, use the special Dance/USA code (DSA15)
for phone and walk-up orders and show your conference ID. The Harris
Theater is located at 205 E. Randolph Drive (60601), phone:
312/334-3153, fax: 312/334-3153. Box office hours: 12 pm – 6pm Mon-Fri.
Please check back for a listing of local performances during the week of July 12 – 16, 2011.
For a complete list of dance or theater performances happening during the Conference, visit the performance calendars on the following websites:
See Chicago Dance
League of Chicago Theatres
Harris Theater for Music & Dance
Go Dancing in the Park
The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs presents Chicago SummerDance
Thursday through Sunday from June to August. Each night of the eleven-week festival offers an introductory one-hour dance lesson by professional instructors followed by two hours of music and dancing on a 4,600 square-foot, open-air dance floor designed by artist Dan Peterman out of 100% recycled materials. Admission is FREE. For additional information please visit http://www.chicagosummerdance.org
Thursday - Saturday,
6pm – 7pm: Dance lessons led by professional instructors
7:30pm – 9:30pm: Live music and dancing
4 pm – 5pm: Dance lessons led by professional instructors
5pm – 7pm: Live music and dancing
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden
601 S. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60605
Explore Chicago's Museums and Parks
Chicago has world class museums, below are just a few to check out while you are in town.
The Field Museum
- 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive - Chicago, IL 60605 - (312) 922-9410
The Art Institute of Chicago
- 111 S. Michigan Ave. - Chicago, IL 60603 - (312) 443-3600
- 1300 S Lake Shore Drive - Chicago, IL 60605-2403 - (312) 922-STAR
Museum of Science & Industry
- 57th Street & Lake Shore Dr. -Chicago, IL 60637 - (773) 684-1414
Museum of Contemporary Art
- 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611 - (312) 280.2660
John G. Shedd Aquarium
- 1200 South Lake Shore Drive - Chicago, IL 60605 - (312) 939-2438
The Art Institute's Modern Wing
The Art Institute’s Modern Wing showcases the museum’s collection of 20th century works. A work of art in itself, the Renzo Piano-designed structure houses three floors of spacious light-filled galleries, a free-admission education center, an outdoor sculpture terrace and a fine-dining restaurant.
Chicago Cultural Center
The nation's first free municipal cultural center, the Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city's ten most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States.
Millennium Park is a world-class venue for award-winning public art and architecture, and performances of all genres. The 24.5 acre park hosts free family-friendly festivals and other diverse programs throughout the year, making it one of Chicago’s most popular destinations.
Navy Pier is the place where all of Chicagoland and tourists from around the world have come since 1995 to enjoy the beauty and the thrills of a day on Lake Michigan. From rides to restaurants, exhibitions to entertainment, shopping to dining cruises and tour boats, Navy Pier
has it all - in a location unlike any other! Navy Pier consists of 50 acres of parks and promenades, gardens, shops, eateries and attractions. Visitors not only experience breathtaking views of the skyline, they can ride on the 150-foot-high Ferris wheel; spin on an old-fashioned musical carousel, the Wave Swinger, or catch a 3D movie at the IMAX Theater
, featuring a six-story-high, 80-foot-wide screen. Admission to Navy Pier: FREE
(activities and attractions have misc. fees). For additional information please visit http://www.navypier.com
600 E. Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60611
Current Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm; Friday & Saturday: 10 am - 10 pm
The Buckingham Fountain, located in Grant Park, is one of Chicago's most popular attractions and one of the largest fountains in the world. It was opened in May of 1927. The four sea horses you see on its sides represent the four states that touch Lake Michigan: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The fountain operates from approximately April 1 to November 1 each year and runs from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm each day. Every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the fountain produces a major water display and the center jet shoots 150 feet into the air. At dusk, the fountain's hourly major water display is accompanied by lights and music. The fountain's water capacity is 1.5 million gallons. Depending on wind conditions, major displays use approximately 14,100 gallons of recirculated water per minute conveyed through 134 jets. The fountain contains 820 lights.
Congress Parkway & Columbus Drive Chicago, IL 60605. Admission: FREE
Oak Street Beach
Oak Street is home to the largest area of deep water swimming in the city (1/2 mile (800 m) over 10 ft (3 m), and is training grounds for hundreds of triathletes and distance swimmers. The north ledge is a second home to thousands of sunbathers, runners, skaters and bikers. Oak Street is one of the city's most popular beaches, with its proximity to downtown, and boasts thousands of visitors each day during the beach season. The popular Oak Street Bistro is open throughout the beach season.
1000 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60611 Admission: FREE
Unique Views of Chicago
John Hancock Observatory
Located high above The Magnificent Mile, the John Hancock Observatory offers breathtaking 360° views stretch across 4 states –Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois– including stunning views of Lake Michigan and a beautiful night cityscape. TripAdvisor reviewers, Chicago Tribune and Yelp reviewers all agree - it's Chicago's best view.
875 N. Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor Chicago, 60611
Willis Tower SkyDeck Chicago (formerly Sears Tower)
Step out for a breathtaking view with SkyDeck Chicago’s The Ledge, from 1,350 feet above the ground! The Ledge offers a unique vantage point of the surrounding cityscape in glass boxes protruding from the 103rd-floor Skydeck Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower Skydeck.
233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago 60606. Enter Skydeck on Jackson Blvd. (south side of building).
Chicago Architecture Tours
No one showcases Chicago architecture like we do. Our tours are famous around the world for one reason: we train real Chicagoans to give real tours of the real city. No canned or scripted tours here. All of our guides—called docents—are certified with the skills and knowledge to give you the authentic stories behind the city. Whether it’s boat, foot, bus, bike or even Segway, our enthusiastic and highly-educated guides will give you unexpected insights into why Chicago is known around the world for its spectacular architecture.
Shopping in Chicago
Chicago has long been a premier shopping and fashion destination. From major department stores to chic designer boutiques, the city boasts a vibrant retail scene that caters to the needs of every shopper. Today, the city is home to more than 250 Chicago-based fashion designers and 400 independently owned boutiques.
To learn more about Chicago designers and boutiques, view suggested shopping itineraries, and find out about upcoming runway shows and fashion events, visit www.chicagofashionresource.com
A Chicago shopping spree must include a visit to the famed "Magnificent Mile"
along Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street. Located on the Mile are department store giants Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom
alongside hundreds of specialty shops and boutiques such as Crate & Barrel
, the Apple Store
, the Disney Store, American Girl Place, Niketown, Tiffany & Co.
and Ralph Lauren.
On nearby Oak Street, apparel from Paris, Milan, Chicago and New York resides comfortably within Chicago's chic Gold Coast neighborhood. The result is an international street lined with intimate buildings and shops whose employees are dedicated to personal service. Prada, Kate Spade, Nicole Miller and Tory Burch are just a few of the boutiques that line Oak Street.
Chicago shopping began on State Street, often called “That Great Street,” in the heart of the Loop. One of the city’s first major retail outlets, the flagship Marshall Field's State Street store (now Macy’s) has been a Chicago icon and world-class shopping destination for more than 150 years. The store is an architectural and historical marvel, offering ten selling floors of premier ready-to-wear clothes, collections by Chicago-based designers and the finest home lines.
and the Southport Corridor
are home to specialty shops that carry the work of independent and Chicago-based designers. In the Lincoln Park neighborhood, shop along Lincoln Avenue, Clark Street, Armitage Avenue or Halsted Street, or venture further north to the Lakeview neighborhood (along Clark Street, Belmont Avenue or Broadway) for a wide variety of shopping alternatives. In recent years, cutting-edge national stores like Anthropologie, Marc Jacobs and Cynthia Rowley have opened shops in these neighborhoods.
Chicago’s Fashion Industry
In 2006, Mayor Richard M. Daley created Chicago’s Fashion Advisory Council, appointing a Director of Fashion Arts and Events to lead the effort in supporting and promoting Chicago designers. Fashion Focus Chicago is a city-sponsored fashion week held each year, which showcases more than 100 local designers through runway shows, shopping experiences, and industry events. Many of the events throughout the week are open to the public.
And So Much More!
Visit these tourism sites for more information on what to do in Chicago:
If you'd like more personal assistance or help with buses, tours, or other activity information, please contact an Explore Chicago travel counselor seven days a week at 1-877-CHICAGO. Travel counselors will help you plan an action packed itinerary that covers on all of Chicago’s highlights.