Center for the Arts, which is
located in Schaumburg.
The 329-seat Metropolis,
which hosts an entertaining
lineup of events including
concerts, comedy and cab-
aret, offers group discounts
and also accommodates
group gatherings in various on-site spaces.
The Al Larson Prairie Center for the
Arts also has an intriguing calendar of
performances for groups to choose from,
as well as several event spaces for off-site
events, including the 442-seat main theater,
lecture hall, conference room and lobby.
The 4,200-seat Rosemont Theatre, which
also has spaces for business meetings and
pre-show receptions, hosts more than
100 performances each year. According
to Chris Stephens, executive director of
Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, special ticket prices for larger
groups are available for most events.
Stephens also suggested an outing to see
THE COLLECTION, a multifaceted contemporary art program that includes colorful murals at Rosemont’s Fashion Outlets of Chicago.
“In addition to shopping-focused incentives for groups, THE COLLECTION provides an unexpected and engaging cultural
experience,” he said.
And in Elgin, seeing the Elgin Symphony
Orchestra at the Hemmens Cultural Center
is “a wonderful experience for groups of all
ages,” said Wendi Howard, sales manager
for the Elgin Area CVB.
“Attendees can experience critically acclaimed, world-class entertainment without the hassles of the big city,” she added.
Also located in Elgin is Side Street Studio
Arts, which facilitates classes and special
events throughout the year.
Situated between O’Hare and Midway international airports are the cities of Chicago’s
western suburbs, including St. Charles.
According to Michelle Cianferri, tourism
development manager for the Greater St.
Charles CVB, 116 Gallery, located inside
Aveda Spa, showcases rotating exhibits and
is available for group gatherings of up to 50.
“This modern and unique setting provides smaller groups a personal experience
they are sure to remember,” she said.
Arcada Theatre, also located in St.
Charles, is a Vaudeville-style venue where
groups can hold an off-site event.
“There are concessions on-site, as well
as the option for private dining at Club
Arcada, a 1920s speakeasy-themed space
located directly upstairs,” Cianferri said.
At the restored 1930s Art Deco Para-
mount Theatre in nearby Aurora, groups
can check out outstanding Broadway
productions such as The Producers.
“There’s no need to fight Chicago traffic
when Paramount equals the Chicago
theaters,” said Lisa Wisner, group tour coor-
dinator for the Aurora Area CVB.
Situated nearby Aurora on the Fox River
in Plano is the Farnsworth House, which
Wisner said is the ultimate expression
of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s vision for
modern architecture. Group tours are
offered year-round, and on-site events
including cocktail receptions and lunches.
Two venues for hands-on experiences
are available for groups in Lisle: ClaySpace
Ceramic Arts Center and The Collective lhe
The former, according to Diane Homol-ka, executive director for the Lisle CVB, is
all about making pottery.
“Groups can learn about techniques
in throwing and building clay pieces and
delve even deeper into the medium by
learning more advanced skills such as surface decoration and glazing,” she said.
And at the Collective lhe + Makery,
groups will find a rustic-chic boutique that
sells a curated selection of home decor, plus
a variety of workshops ranging.
Elsewhere in DuPage County is Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Drury Lane Theatre, which is known for Broadway-caliber
productions like Mary Poppins, and the
Glen Ellyn, Ill.-based McAninch Arts Center, where the schedule includes everything
from concerts to comedy shows.
According to Tiffany Lutka, marketing
coordinator for the DuPage CVB, the theater provides discounted tickets for groups
and has on-site meeting spaces and dining
facilities, and McAninch Arts Center (MAC)
offers customized entertainment packages.
“Exclusively reserved discounts and
special benefits are available for groups,
including engaging activities such as
backstage tours or artist meet-and-greet
opportunities,” she said.
The locales south of Chicago feature even
more arts-focused outings for visiting
groups, including University Park, Ill.-
based Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, a
29-piece collection in a prairie setting.
“Make the trip to the Chicago Southland
to experience these large-scale sculptures,
which amaze your sense of proportion,”
suggested Loren Petrakis, communications
manager for the Chicago Southland CVB.
The Chicago Southland is also home to
the world’s largest collection of Richard Haas
murals, with 15 located in Homewood, Ill.
“These murals are a treat for the eye and
make a fun adventure for anyone visiting this
cozy art-centric community,” Petrakis said.
At the Crete, Ill.-based Lotton Art Glass
Gallery & Studios, also in Chicago Southland, groups can experience the thrill of
watching colorful hand-blown glass works
of art being created right in front of them.
At Heritage Corridor, also south of
Chicago, groups can explore the city of
Lockport, where attendees will find the
Illinois State Museum-Lockport Gallery
and Gallery Seven, both offering rotating
art exhibits throughout the year.
According to Dan Mulka, marketing
manager for Heritage Corridor CVB, down-
town Pontiac is another fun place for groups
to wander around during their free time.
“The city of Pontiac truly embraces Route
66 and groups will love walking the entire
downtown searching for 24 murals along
the buildings painted by the ‘Walldogs,’
a group of artists that will take over cities
during a several-day festival and produce
amazing art telling the history of the area,”
The centerpiece is the world’s largest
outdoor Route 66 painted mural, which is
on the outside wall of the Illinois Route 66
Association Hall of Fame & Museum.
DRURY LANE THEATRE, OAKBROOK TERRACE
More CHICAGO SUBURBS...
CLAYSPACE CERAMIC ARTS CENTER, LISLE