Tourism in Chicago

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Ice skating in Millennium Park is a popular visitor attraction.

Tourism in Chicago draws on the city's status as a "world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs" and wide variety of neighborhood attractions.[1]

In 2017, Millennium Park saw 25 million visitors, making it the top tourist destination in the Midwest and among the top ten in the United States.[2]

Visitor statistics[edit]

Chicago tourism recorded 55 million visitors in 2017.[3] In 2016, Chicago saw 54.1 million visitors; a 2.9% increase from 2015.[4] In 2015, it was estimated that 50.1 million visitors came to Chicago, which was a 4.5 percent increase from 2014.[5] From 2010 through 2014, the tourism and hospitality industries have added 9,800 jobs, generating $13.7 billion in direct spending by visitors and $871 million in total tax revenue.[6] Tourism in Chicago was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Market overview[edit]

Major conventions are held at McCormick Place. The historic Chicago Cultural Center (1897) serves as the city's Visitor Information Center. Tourists will find sites of interest in Grant Park which contains Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain (1927), and the Art Institute of Chicago. Millennium Park's Cloud Gate sculpture and fountain's two towers incorporate LED facial images. Events such as the Grant Park Music Festival take place in the city. Chicago performing arts venues include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and the Chicago Opera Theater.

Navy Pier, east of Streeterville, contains retail, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls and auditoriums. Its 15-story Ferris wheel is among the most visited landmarks with about 8 million visitors each year.[7]

The city's Museum Campus, holds: the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus accesses the Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park. The Museum of Science and Industry is also a leading attraction.

About one-third of Chicago's tourists enjoy the city's entertainment venues including McCormick Place and the Chicago Theatre.

Choose Chicago[edit]

Choose Chicago
TypeTourism organization
Headquarters301 E. Cermak Road
Chicago, Illinois
 United States
Key people
David Whitaker, President & CEO
Formerly called
Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau
Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture
Historic logo

Choose Chicago is the official tourism organization for the city.[8] In January 2012, Mayor Emanuel launched Chicago's new tourism organization, Choose Chicago.[9] The Mayor's vision was to restructure all tourism sales and marketing activities under a single, streamlined agency, and outline clear and measurable objectives to track these efforts. Choose Chicago partners with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the Chicago Office of Tourism, the City of Chicago, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's Bureau of Tourism, as well as many other related associations in Chicago. It handles convention sales for McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

The former Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau was founded in 1970 with the merger of the Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Tourism Council of Greater Chicago. The Chicago North Shore Convention and Visitor's Bureau serves Evanston, Glenview, Northbrook and Skokie. The offices of the CNSCVB are located in downtown Skokie, Illinois. The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau serves the 62 south and southwest suburbs of Chicago. Their office is in Lansing, Illinois.





  1. ^ Marino, Valerie. "The Best Cities in the U.S.: 2020 Readers' Choice Awards". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved 2020-10-10.
  2. ^ Johnson, Steve. "Millennium Park is new top Midwest visitor destination, high-tech count finds". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  3. ^ Chicago tourism numbers hit record high, topping 55 million in 2017 Josh Noel, Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2018
  4. ^ Marotti, Ally. "Chicago's tourist tally hits record 54.1 million visitors in 2016". Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Another year, another Chicago tourism record". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Chicago breaks tourism record with more than 50 million visitors in". ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV). February 5, 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  7. ^ "About Navy Pier, Inc". Navy Pier, Inc. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  8. ^ "About Choose Chicago". Choose Chicago. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Mayor Emanuel Announces A Combined Tourism Organization to Attract 50 Million Visitors to Chicago". City of Chicago. January 31, 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2015.

External links[edit]