126th Annual Meeting
Weather permitting in early January, there are many possibilities for annual meeting attendees who want to explore Chicago. If you want to do some advance planning, check out various aspects of the city and the region on a number of web sites. A good starting point is the city of Chicago's official tourism site. It offers an interactive downtown map, a virtual tour of Chicago's world famous architecture, a Chicago neighborhood map and guide, and tours of Chicago's cultural centers. Other web sites include the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau's site and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism site.
If you prefer visiting the city's attractions on your own, then you may save money by buying a pass that covers admission to the top sites. There are two passes to choose from:
You save approximately 50 percent on admission fees and avoid ticket lines at five of the city's top attractions: Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Skydeck Chicago, Adler Planetarium or the Art Institute
of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry or the Hancock Observatory. The package price is $76 for adults and $59 for children aged 3–11. You have nine days to visit each attraction (once) beginning the day you first use your CityPASS. You can purchase CityPASS at any of the Chicago attractions, or you can buy online. Once you have your CityPASS, simply present your booklet on your way into each attraction. The agent will remove that attraction's ticket—they are void if removed by anyone else.
Go Chicago Card (800-887-9103).
With this card, visitors can save up to 55 percent on admission fees to 28 top Chicago attractions. Visitors can tour as many sites as they wish each day, in whatever order and time frame. Cards are purchased in daily increments, with one-day adult card at $66.99 up to a seven-day card at $169.99. The one-day card for children 3–12 is $44.99, up to $129.99 for a seven-day card. Cards are activated upon first use and are good for the number of calendar days of activity purchased.
Chicago has three downtown Visitor Information Centers:
Chicago Cultural Center, 77 East Randolph Street - open Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Chicago Water Works, 163 East Pearson Street, - Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Millennium Park Welcome Center, 201 East Randolph Street, is open daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Information counters are also available at Midway and O'Hare airports. Call Chicago Visitor Information toll-free at 877-244-2246 (voice) or 866-710-0294 (TTY).
Visitors can also take part in free tours through the visitor centers. Get an inside perspective on the Windy City, with more than 40 special interest areas and 25 neighborhoods to choose from. These free 2- to 4-hour tours, guided by local volunteers, all begin at the Visitor Information Center at 77 East Randolph. For details, call 312-744-8000 or go to www.chicagogreeter.com.
The Chicago Office of Tourism has two useful resources. The Chicago Guidebook of Special Values is a coupon book with discounts and 2-for-1 offers for attractions and sightseeing, entertainment, museums, dining,
and shopping. There's also a long list of free attractions and events and at Visitor Information Centers.
The tourism office also offers free downloadable tours which can be listened to and viewed at home or downloaded to an MP3 player. Tours include "The History of Chicago Blues," narrated by Buddy Guy; "Millennium Park Enhanced Audio Tour;" and "Chicago for Kids." All are available in English, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Chinese Mandarin.
Last Updated: December 13, 2011 12:08 PM