Chicago SkylineSeveral organizations who rank top travel destinations have recognized the city of Chicago as one of the nation’s best places to visit.

Conde Nast Traveler named Chicago the best city in America on its 2018 list of the best U.S. cities, recognizing the Windy City for its architecture, world class restaurants and friendly residents. A survey of 2,000 U.S. citizens conducted by Provision Living also ranked Chicago 16th among bucket list travel destinations. Chicago is also the number one 2019 destination for families according to TripSavvy.

The city also rated highly in several other categories.

  • TripAdvisor rated some of Chicago’s hotels among the best in the country in their Traveler’s Choice Awards.
  • The digital party invitation platform Evite named Chicago its number two party city of 2018. The Windy City had over 62,000 events listed on the platform last year with over 2.4 million guests invited.
  • Chicago was named the fifth most romantic city in the world by SpaSeekers. The organization also listed the city fourth for marriage proposals.

For more information about visiting the city of Chicago, click here.

GreatWolfLodgewaterpark 5acbd661c5542e0036fa35a0With the recent inclement weather, a lot of Illinoisans are missing summer. Although there are a few more months left before the sunshine and warm weather arrive, there is still a way to enjoy one favorite summertime activity indoors.

The greater Chicagoland area has two indoor water parks: The Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee and The Water Works in Schaumburg.

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IL State Museum

The Illinois State Museum in Springfield received recognition this week as one of the state’s top institutions in the museum field.    

The Illinois Association of Museums announced Tuesday that the State Museum has been named the 2018 recipient of the Leader Institution of the Year award, the highest honor given by the organization.

The State Museum is known for its outstanding work maintaining Illinois’ history and culture as well as its commitment to engaging with the community through popular family and youth programs that help foster an interest in the state’s history in young people.

In addition to its usual programs and events, the museum celebrated Illinois’ bicentennial in 2018 by providing an array of unique experiences, such as the production of daily “Bicentennial Minute” segments that discussed Illinois history for online listeners and by hosting an exhibition featuring rare artifacts from the 13.5 million object Illinois Legacy Collection.

The State Museum plans to continue expanding its programming in 2019 to provide an interactive and memorable experience to visitors.

“Our programming, special events, research and curation of our collections really do aim to share the story of Illinois,” said Illinois State Museum Interim Director Robert Sill. “It’s a great honor for the Illinois State Museum to receive the Illinois Association of Museums’ Leader Institution of the Year award. The re-emergence of the Museum has been a team effort by a great staff that understands and honors its legacy.”

The Illinois State Museum first opened in 1877 and has long been recognized as a leader in the museum community. The American Alliance of Museums called it “a national leader in the way it combines its unique collections, collaborative team approach, and specialized research capabilities along with its cutting-edge technology applications in support of exhibitions, public programs, and publications.”

The Illinois State Museum, at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield, is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults ages 19-64. Admission is free for youth, seniors and veterans.

Woodfield mall generalVisitors to Illinois hit an all-time high in 2017. It marked the seventh consecutive year of record-breaking tourism in the state, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Tourism.

In the last year, the amount of money people spent in the name of travel and fun across Illinois increased by 3.3 percent. That’s an increase of $1.1 billion from 2016.

The suburbs, in particular, are thriving. Cook County saw a 3.1 percent jump in tourism spending, while in Will County, spending was up by 5 percent, according to the U.S. Travel Association’s Economic Impact of Domestic Travel on Illinois Counties.

A new dining pavilion at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, a renovated golf course in Addison, the additional of Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee, a slew microbreweries popping up in the Northwest suburbs and new hotels and restaurants being built are facilitating the increase in tourism in the area. 

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Chicago Model at Chicago Architecture FoundationThe Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) opened on Aug. 31 at their new location at the heart of the city – near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive – featuring everything architecture in Chicago through tours, programs and exhibitions.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also proclaimed the date as Chicago Architecture Date as a part of the center’s weekend-long grand opening celebration.

The new center, made possible through $12 million in private funding, boasts a lecture hall, hands-on design workshops, classrooms and a gift shop stocked with a wide array of design books and home décor.

Formerly known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the center moved from its previous home at the Railway Exchange Building. Its new home is at the base of Mies can der Rohe’s 1970 Illinois Center office complex.

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