Chicago Welcomes Visitors with Free Greeters
CHICAGO, IL - Back by popular demand and just in time for the holidays, Chicago Greeter will offer free, one-hour walks of N. Michigan Avenue and surrounding areas led by knowledgeable locals - Magnificent Mile InstaGreeter - beginning November 4.
The walk-up service is available through December 31 on Fridays and Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., leaving from the Water Works Visitor Information Center, 163 E. Pearson St. Volunteer greeters will provide information and insights on the Streeterville and Gold Coast neighborhoods; landmarks such as the John Hancock Center and the former Playboy Mansion, historic hotels and cathedrals; and best bets for holiday shopping.
Chicago Greeter is a program of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC). Celebrating 10 years in 2012, Chicago Greeter is recognized internationally for its innovation and consistently ranked as one of the most popular programs of its kind in the world.
Year to date, approximately 5,500 visitors have been matched with a local volunteer for an insider’s orientation to Chicago, a 26% increase over last year. Demand has increased across the program this summer, with 81% more visits at its no-appointment-needed Loop outpost alone.
"We are thrilled that more and more visitors are enjoying our Chicago Greeter service every year, and the program continues to attract friendly, knowledgeable volunteers," says Dorothy Coyle, Executive Director, COTC. "The Greeter service plays an important role in fulfilling our mission, to market Chicago as a premier cultural destination and provide innovative visitor programs and services to leisure travelers."
There were 38.11 million total visitors to Chicago in 2010, 28.03 million of which were leisure travelers. The Chicago visitor industry generates more than $11 billion in direct spending, $616 million in tax revenue, and sustains more than 124,000 jobs for the city’s economy.
The year-round Chicago Greeter service provides visitors with the opportunity to see Chicago with local residents on 2- to 4-hour visits of the city. Groups of up to six people can pre-register and choose a neighborhood or interest area to explore such as architecture, history or ethnic Chicago. A founding member of the Global Greeter network, Chicago Greeter offers free visits in 10 languages in 26 neighborhoods and 40 interest areas. For details, visit www.ChicagoGreeter.com
InstaGreeter offers free, one-hour walks around the Loop with Chicago volunteers throughout the year and in Hyde Park, Old Town, Pilsen and Millennium Park, May through October. Magnificent Mile InstaGreeter is offered from November 4 to December 31, 2011. All InstaGreeter walks are first-come, first-served and limited to groups of six or fewer.
Downtown InstaGreeter walks of the Loop on Fridays-Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., begin at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center, 77 E. Randolph St.
InstaGreeter is available on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. through October 8 in Hyde Park at the Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S. Cornell Ave.); in Old Town at Second City (1616 N. Wells St.) and in Pilsen - October 1 only - at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th St.).
InstaGreeter walks of Millennium Park are offered daily at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. through October 10, leaving from the Millennium Park Welcome Center, 201 E. Randolph St.
Magnificent Mile InstaGreeter is offered on Fridays and Saturdays, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., November 4 through December 31, leaving from the Water Works Visitor Information Center, 163 E. Pearson St.
Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive trip-planning assistance and information by visiting ExploreChicago.org. Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. Friendly Visitor Representatives can answer questions and assist in planning an unforgettable itinerary. The visitor centers are located in two of the city’s most popular areas: across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street; and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.
For daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago, follow Explore Chicago on Twitter at Twitter.com/ExploreChicago and "like" us on Facebook at Facebook.com/ExploreChicago, where you can also weigh in on your Chicago favorites. Receive answers to your Chicago questions on the go, and tips on the latest citywide events and activities, via the FREE Twitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago) available daily.
ExploreChicago.org, the City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site, is the No. 1 travel and tourism website for Chicago based on traffic volume. Recent additions and other highlights include:
A popular blog, providing a unique insider’s point of view of the city;
Events, tours and attractions, searchable by date, neighborhood and interest areas;
Social media travel tools including free visitor assistance via Twitter (@explorechicago);
Fun, location-based games including 11 free SCVNGR treks and Foursquare badges;
Multimedia content such as videos, slideshows, podcasts and an itinerary builder;
"Insider Profiles" of real Chicagoans, with their favorite things to see and do in the city;
Convenient airline and hotel booking services provided by Orbitz.com;
Detailed information and interactive Google maps for Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.
The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers, providing innovative visitor programs and services, and presenting free world-class public programs.
For more information please visit www.ExploreChicago.org
For more information, visit www.ChicagoGreeter.com