installation, called Illumination, is considered
a “must-see destination” by the Chicago
According to Rosemont Mayor Brad
Stephens, MB Financial Park is the epicenter for entertainment, shopping and
nightlife where, during the winter months,
“visitors can skate on the park’s ice rink,
watch ice carving or take a ride down the
Polar Peak sled hill,” he says.
Maureen Riedy, president for Visit Lake
County, recommends groups check out the
Sweets, Treats and Spirits Tour, which includes a
candy-making class at Sweet Pete’s Candy shop, a stop
at The Popcorn Factory, a light lunch at the nearby R & V Italian
Market and Deli and a tour/tasting at North Shore Distillery, a purveyor of gin, vodka and absinthe.
Illinois’ first winery, Roselle-based Lynfred Winery, welcomes
groups for tours and wine-tasting receptions, says Nanette Traetow,
director of marketing and operations for the DuPage CVB.
Brookfield Zoo features over 2,400 animals, and on weekends
in December groups can experience Holiday Magic, Chicagoland’s
largest lights festival, according to Sara Barnett, president/CEO for
Visit Oak Park.
From December until the end of February, bald eagles flock to the
area’s Starved Rock State Park.
Chicago Suburbs shine in all seasons with an array of attractions
Seasonal shifts can shape meetings in the Chica- go Suburbs, where theater-going and cocoa-in- fused dog-sledding outings are popular in the winter, and a hot-air balloon festival and lunch prepared with the help of buzzing bees are hits during the summer. These and many more unique seasonal opportunities are available to brighten the group experience in this
already exciting area any time of year.
In Skokie, connected to the Double Tree Hotel Chicago-North
Shore Conference Center, is the North Shore Center for the
Performing Arts, where groups can take in a performance by
music acts, comedians and more.
“Meeting groups love The Capitol Steps [a political satire
group], which enjoy sold-out shows each January,” says Gina
Speckman, executive director at Chicago’s North Shore CVB,
adding just across the street from the performing arts center is
Westfield Old Orchard, a shopping destination with two movie
theaters and many restaurants.
The Paramount Theatre in Aurora also has a full season of
marquee entertainment, and according to Cort Carlson, exec-
utive director for the Aurora Area CVB, the theater’s Grand
Gallery is an ideal setting for pre/post-show gatherings.
“Shopping is supreme in the Chicago Northwest region
leading up to holidays,” adds Dave Parulo, president of Meet
He says convention attendees enjoy local shopping destinations, including Woodfield Mall and Streets of Woodfield, both
in Schaumburg. The Renaissance Schaumburg Convention
Center Hotel offers shuttles to the Woodfield Mall.
DeAnn Wagner, associate director at the Greater St. Charles
CVB, recommends groups visit downtown St. Charles for live
performances at the Arcada Theatre or at Zanies Comedy
From mid-November through the beginning of January,
the Lisle-based Morton Arboretum, which is a terrific place
for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, glows with LED
lights and trees that respond to touch and voice, says Diane
Homolka, executive director for the Lisle CVB. The annual
A Midwest Montage
BY CAROLYN BLACKBURN Pottawatomie Park, St. Charles
Ravinia Festival, Highland Park
The Popcorn Factory,