The Convening Leaders conference kicked off Monday at Chicago’s McCormick Place West. The annual meeting of the Professional Convention Management Association is a chance for Chicago to showcase its event capabilities to for large groups, starting with the opening evening Sunday night at the Museum of Science and Industry. The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere was transformed to showcase the city’s many culturally diverse neighborhoods, from Chinatown to Devon Avenue, known for its 10-block stretch of Indian restaurants.
After hours, meeting attendees were encouraged to explore the city’s attractions beyond the typical tourist sites. The CVB’s “Chicago Like a Local” blog highlights off-the-beaten-path experiences not to be missed while in town.
Even in winter, there’s so much do to in the Windy City, says Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago. “Winter provides the perfect opportunity to discover Chicago’s vibrant creative side. Did you know we are home to over 40 museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago—voted the Number 1 museum in the world [by TripAdvisor]?” There are also live music, comedy, dance and theater performances every night of the week.
His must-do’s? “Don’t miss The Bean [a mirrored outdoor sculpture] and ice skating in Millennium Park. And be sure to bring your appetite: Chicago is possibly the best eating and drinking city in America.”
Benefit for Local Charity
As one of the meeting industry organizations that helped pave the way for planners to routinely include CSR activities as part of their meetings, PCMA didn’t disappoint. Its annual Party with a Purpose was held Monday night at the House of Blues, with proceeds benefiting the PCMA Education Foundation and Network For the Needy, as well as a Chicago’s Future Founders Foundation. This local nonprofit connects students from elementary school through college with mentors in a variety of professions to provide engaging project-based learning experiences.
Most conventions this size include an evening at the city’s most iconic event venue, Navy Pier, and PCMA will prove that it’s just as fabulous in winter as in summer by holding the final evening dance party in the 18,000-sf Grand Ballroom. This historic space was part of the Pier’s original 1916 construction and features an 80-foot domed ceiling and lakefront views.