Mayor Richard M. Daley today unveiled newly-redesigned and significantly enhanced information about Chicago’s neighborhoods on the City’s tourism website as part of the City’s summer tourism initiative, “Explore Chicago: Eat, Play, Love Our Neighborhoods.”
The expansion of the neighborhood sections of the website – www.exploreChicago.org
– was funded with a grant of $220,000 from the 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods – money donated specifically to help make sure Chicago’s Olympic bid efforts would have a positive impact on all the City’s communities.
“As Chicagoans know, there are just as many great things to do in our City’s neighborhoods as there are downtown and on the lakefront. Our idea is to make it as easy as possible for visitors and residents alike to discover all the wonderful places and people in Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, housed in the former Humboldt Park Stables building at 3015 W. Division St.
The Mayor stressed the importance of travel and tourism to Chicago’s economic security.
“Attracting tourists and conventions and meetings is critical to the economic health of Chicago and the quality of life of all our residents,” Daley said.
“That’s why we have worked so hard to restore Chicago's competitive edge in the global convention and tourism marketplace and why we have re-focused our ongoing workforce and education programs on fast-growing, future-oriented sectors such as hospitality,” he said.
He pointed out that the travel and tourism and hospitality industry supports 132,000 jobs in the Chicago economy and that last weekend, for example, more than 50,000 people attended the National Restaurant Association here, spending an estimated $87 million.
“We have to keep Chicago a top destination for business and leisure travelers, and I’m happy to say that a couple of recent reports say we’re doing a good job,” he said.
Last week, Priceline.com published its annual survey of the 50 most popular destinations for Memorial Day, and this year two most popular destinations for Memorial Day 2010 are in Chicago: number one is the Millennium Park-Loop-Grant Park Area and number two is the North Michigan Avenue-River North Area.
In addition, three weeks ago the millions of travelers who use the Trip Advisor website chose Chicago as the 5th best food and wine destination in the world.
Beginning this week, enhanced content on all 75 community areas of Chicago is featured on the city’s tourism website, including a detailed and researched narrative essay about each of the neighborhoods, an interactive map, and expanded information on shopping and eating in the neighborhoods.
In addition to funding the website improvements, the Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods, managed by the Chicago Community Trust, also provided $280,000 to be used by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to create up to five new neighborhood tours and expand the audience for the existing neighborhood tour content.
“This is one more way we’re making good on our commitment to use the money raised in connection with our Olympic bid to invest in projects that have long-term beneficial impact on Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Daley said.
“When you combine enhanced neighborhood tourism assets on ExploreChicago.org with summer programs and activities all over the city the whole family can enjoy, there is no limit to what you can discover about Chicago,” said Dorothy Coyle, director of the City’s Tourism Office.
Summer 2010 programming and events include:
Chicago Greeter - Community Outposts and Greeter for Locals- FREE
The Chicago Greeter service will offer more opportunities to explore Chicago’s neighborhoods this summer than ever before.
Family Adventure Days
June 25 – August 28, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm
You can experience a true Chicago adventure with your family on action-packed day trips. A neighborhood expert will be your guide for visits to one of six exciting neighborhoods including Bronzeville, Garfield Park, Hyde Park, Jackson Park, Lincoln Park and Pilsen. Participants will enjoy arts, crafts, and nature activities, play games, and tour museums and cultural attractions. Best for children ages 6+ with an adult. $12 per person; lunch and transportation included. Reservations required. Call 312.742.8497.
Scavenger Hunts Throughout City Neighborhoods - FREE
Fun and challenging scavenger hunts will provide a new way to explore Chicago’s neighborhoods in Andersonville, Albany Park, Chinatown, and Devon Avenue.
Chicago Neighborhood Week at the Family Fun Festival in MillenniumPark - FREE
July 26 – July 31, 10 am – 3 pm
Chicago neighborhoods will come to life in Millennium Park with hands-on activities including piecing together a giant puzzle while learning about the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand – Chicago Neighborhoods
66 E. Randolph St.
Local flavors will abound at Chicago's Downtown Farmstand throughout the month of July. You can taste your way through Chicago's neighborhoods and enjoy the Farmstand’s wide range of local offerings through cooking demonstrations, neighborhood vendor trunk shows, and specially featured selections.
Neighborhood Festivals and Parades
You can discover the many cultures, traditions, and lifestyles of Chicago communities while enjoying the summer air at various festivals and parades throughout the city. Some annual favorites include: the 57th Street Art Fair (June 5-6) in Hyde Park; the Taste of Randolph Street (June 18-20) in the West Loop; the Gay Pride Parade (June 27) in Lakeview; the African-Caribbean International Festival of Life (July 2-5) in Washington Park; the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy (July 24) in Chinatown; Fiesta del Sol (July 29-August 1) in Pilsen; and the Bud Billiken Parade (August 14) on King Drive and concluding in Washington Park.
Chicago Neighborhood Tours
Half-day bus excursions will let you experience Chicago’s many diverse neighborhoods from an insider’s perspective. Tours this summer will include: Albany Park (July 17); Bucktown, Humboldt Park & Logan Square (July 9); Devon Avenue (June 12); Pilsen & Little Village (June 5); Hyde Park/Kenwood (July 24) and South Chicago (June 26).
Chicago Is a CommunityGarden – FREE
May 28 - September 19
Chicago Tourism Center Gallery, 72 E. Randolph St,
This exhibition will look at urban gardens, vertical farming in the city, and urban chicken keepers through photographs, architectural drawings, and installations. In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be a series of community garden walks throughout the city on the last Saturday of each month.
Get Up and Go Conversation Series – FREE
Tuesdays, June 8 – August 31, 12:15 – 12:45pm
Chicago Cultural CenterVisitorInformationCenter, 77 E. Randolph St.
Want to explore Chicago’s neighborhoods, but don’t know where to begin? Check out the free Get Up and Go conversation series, and learn about what to see and how to get there from the experts – the people who live and work in Chicago’s neighborhoods. This weekly program features interviews with local experts from Chicago’s diverse communities and is hosted by Mark Bazer, Redeye columnist, humorist and host of The Interview Show.
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