The central business district of Chicago is one of the city's 77 designated community areas. The Loop is home to Chicago's commercial core, City Hall as well as Chicago's front yard (Grant Park), the State Street shopping district and the Art Institute of Chicago. This area contains a wealth of outdoor sculptures including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, and Jean Dubuffet as well as major cultural institutions including:
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Goodman Theatre
- Harold Washington Library
- Chicago Cultural Center
McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America, located just minutes from downtown Chicago, and attracts close to 3 million visitors every year. Considered to be the economic engine that powers the Convention Industry, McCormick Place boasts four state-of-the-art buildings: the North and South Buildings, the West Building and Lakeside Center and features:
- 2.6 million sq. ft. of exhibit halls
- 1.3 million square feet all on one level
- 170 meeting rooms (600,000 square feet total)
- 6 ballrooms, 2 of which are the largest in the city
- Assembly seating for 18,000 people
- 4,249 seat theater (Arie Crown)
- 3 theaters seating 300 each
- Ceiling heights up to 50 feet
- Easy access to 5,800 parking spaces
Music and Festivals
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), which performs at Symphony Center, is recognized as one of the best orchestras in the world. Other live-music genres that create the city's cultural heritage include Chicago blues, Chicago soul, jazz, and gospel.
Chicago is considered the birthplace of house music and was the an influential scene for hip-hop, industrial, Chicago indie, punk, new wave, alternative rock and rave music culture. Annual Music Festivals, featuring artists from all types and genres, include Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Museums and Attractions
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Known for its vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling and bold theatricality, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a partner in innovation and creative learning. This company has produced award-winning plays at its home on Navy Pier, and has had showings throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. CST offers education programs that support personal development and career preparation for teachers, artists, arts managers, students and lifelong learners alike, there is a focus on creative exchange and the advancement of thought, dialogue and overall communication.
Chicago Children's Museum
Lively interactive exhibits such as BIG Backyard, Dinosaur Expedition and the Inventing Lab are a few highlights of the three floors of educational exhibits and activities at the Chicago Children's Museum. This is a museum where families and friends of all ages are encouraged to create, explore, and discover the wonders of the world together through play and various educational activities.
Millennium Park is a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provide the ideal backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs in Chicago. Concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities are not hard to find in Millennium Park. This park is Chicago’s premier green space, and features local attractions such as Cloud Gate ("The Bean"), Pritzker Pavilion, Lurie Garden, Crown Fountain, Park Grill, the Great Lawn and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink that draw visitors and locals to Chicago all year long.
Navy Pier, the Midwest's number one leisure destination, is Chicago's 50-acre playground on the lakefront of Lake Michigan, and attracts more than 8.6 million visitors a year. This pier is the center of entertainment, museums, activities, restaurants, and shops. The 150-foot Ferris wheel offers great city and Lake Michigan views and is open year-round. Other rides and fun activities include:
- Whimsical musical carousel
- Wave Swinger lift-and-twirl ride
- Miniature golf course
- Remote control boats
And during the warmer months, it's prime time for the Pier's boating season. Get off the shores and board one of the many sightseeing and dining boat cruises.