5 Huge Reasons To Host Your Corporate Event in Chicago
Chicago, often referred to as “The Second City” for its commanding influence (second only to New York) in business, commerce, and trade, has long been one of the most popular locales to host corporate meeting and training events. Let’s dig into just why it’s such a popular destination for business meetings and corporate events:
1. Chicago is a World Business and Corporate Leader
Chicago has the 20th largest economy in the entire world; the sprawling metropolis and its surrounding suburbs are also home to 10 of some of the most influential companies on Earth. In fact, all 10 organizations are in the top 100 of the Fortune 500. Many industries have a prominent presence in Chicago including retail, manufacturing, transportation, financial services, and more.
Top Chicago Fortune 500 Companies
- Walgreens Boots Alliance
- Rank: 17
- Revenue: $132.54 billion
- Rank: 28
- Revenue: $101.13 billion
- State Farm
- Rank: 36
- Revenue: $81.73 billion
- Archer Daniels Midland
- Rank: 49
- Revenue: $64.34 billion
- Rank: 58
- Revenue: $54.72 billion
- United Continental Holdings
- Rank: 78
- Revenue: $41.30 billion
- Rank: 82
- Revenue: $39.82 billion
- Rank: 87
- Revenue: $37.36 billion
- Rank: 93
- Revenue: $35.99 billion
- Rank: 96
- Revenue: $32.76 billion
2. Chicago Corporate Events Are Globally Accessible
Since the very first days of its existence, Chicago has been one of the most influential transportation hubs in history. Few cities have been situated in such an ideal location for domestic and international travel. Centrally located on the shores of Lake Michigan between the United States’ east and west coasts, Chicago has always been a natural way-point for interstate travel and trade throughout its history. The city rose to prominence during the expansion of the railroad industry in the 19th century, with more train track radiating from Chicago than from any other North American city. Though many of the stockyards and rail yards from its coal-powered heyday are now long gone, the city is still one of the world’s most influential travel hubs.
Chicago is home to O’Hare International Airport, the world’s 6th busiest airport with nearly 80 million passengers every year and more than 900,000 aircraft operations (the most of any airport on Earth) annually. This is due to the fact that O’Hare serves as a hub city for two of the three U.S.-based mainline carriers, United Airlines (which is also headquartered in Chicago) and American Airlines. The presence of two hub airline operations make it significantly easier (and in many cases cheaper) to find flights in and out of Chicago year-round.
3. Different Event Experiences for Every Season
Speaking of time of year, Chicago has one of the most varied climates of any major metropolitan area. Depending on which of the four distinct seasons you’re visiting The Windy City in, you can have vastly different experiences throughout the year, which means you can keep coming back without things getting repetitive for your attendees. Summer is hot and humid with temperatures typically around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures averaging just above freezing. Fall and spring are filled with more moderate, balmy days. These seasons are often the best time to visit, as there is less tourism traffic, less extreme weather, and still plenty of sights, activities, and events to attend.
4. Plenty of Things to Do After Your Corporate Meeting or Training Event in Chicago
Perhaps the best reason to visit Chicago is the abundance of attractions, landmarks, events, and activities to take in once your corporate event or business meeting is done for the day. No matter when you visit the massive city, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Some of the most popular attractions in downtown Chicago include:
One of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world, this impressive 110-story building stands 1,450 feet tall—once the tallest building on Earth. The landmark is home to some of the world’s most influential companies including Boeing, United Airlines, and Sears (who was once the building’s namesake). On especially windy days, you actually feel the structure sway in the wind when on the building's Skydeck. This tourism-focused floor also features an attraction called The Ledge that allows visitors to stand in a glass box that overhangs past the face of the building.
The Magnificent Mile
Referred to as “The Mag Mile” by locals, this upscale stretch of Michigan Avenue is one of the most desirable shopping destinations in the world. In fact, rent on this stretch of the Chicago thoroughfare is the 8th most expensive in the western hemisphere. Both sides of the street are filled with high-end retail, restaurants, museums, and hotels.
Located in Chicago’s Loop community, this free public park is just one block from the shores of Lake Michigan. It features a massive outdoor concert pavilion, fountains, gardens, and perhaps one of the most recognizable sculptures ever created—Cloud Gate (better known as “The Bean”).
Museums, Theaters, and Fine Arts
Chicago has long been hailed as a bastion of education and the arts. The city is home to more than a half-dozen world-class museums including the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Field Museum, and Museum of Science and Industry. Countless theaters, music groups, orchestras, and higher education institutions make up the city’s diverse cultural identity.
4. Chicago Sports
Few fixtures within the sprawling Midwestern metropolis garner as much attention and passion as Chicago’s numerous sports organizations. The city has a team (in some cases more than one actually) in every major competitive sport. No matter when you visit Chicago, you’re sure to be able to catch an exciting game of some kind in venues all around the city.
Football – Chicago Bears – Soldier Field
Basketball – Chicago Bulls – United Center
Hockey – Chicago Blackhawks – United Center
Soccer – Chicago Fire – Soldier Field
5. Chicago Food
The only thing that could possibly supersede the city’s passion for sports is its reverence for delicious, greasy food. Whether you’re in town for a meeting, training, or corporate event, there are several mandatory delicacies one must consume in order to consider your visit a real Chicago experience.
IN THE INTEREST OF TRANSPARENCY:
Attune is based in Chicago and we love food. We're going to geek out here for a minute, so if you're not into passionate, food-based manifestos, feel free to skip this part.
Windy City sustenance essentials are as follows:
Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza
If you can only pick one dish while you're here, this is it. Think of Chicago-style deep dish as a standard pizza that’s constructed in a two-inch-deep pie pan with quadruple the sauce and cheese.
WARNING: Utensils are required. This is not a hand-held operation.
- Sanctioned establishments for consumption include:
- Lou Malnati’s
- Gino’s East
Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
Tread carefully when consuming a frank in Chicago. There’s a right and a wrong way to do it. Mess it up, and you’ll be certainly be getting menacing glares from the locals. Listed by importance, the ingredients of a proper Chicago-style dog are as follows:
- Beef frank
- Poppyseed bun
- Yellow mustard
- Neon green sweet pickle relish
- Tomatoes (slice and wedge form factors are acceptable)
- Kosher dill pickle spear
- Chopped white onions
- Sport peppers
- And a dash of celery salt
CAUTION: You’ll note the list above does not include a certain notorious, red, pasty, tomato-derived ingredient. When in Chicago, under no circumstances should you ever, ever, add ketchup to the aforementioned masterpiece of a recipe above.
- Best places to grab a Chicago-style dog:
- Gene and Jude’s
- The Wiener’s Circle
- Duck Inn
- Duke’s Red Hots
Italian Beef Sandwiches
At first glance, this sandwich looks like your standard, run-of-the-mill roast beef sandwich, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Often paired with sweet or hot peppers, the key to this thin-sliced beef creation is the submersion of the meat in a special recipe of au jus (juices) during the cooking process. Dunking before taking each bite is not mandatory, though it is recommended.
- You're guaranteed to get a great Italian beef sandwich at these fine eateries:
- Mr. Beef
Chicago-Style Gourmet Mix Popcorn
It gets a little breezy in the windy city. Regular popcorn would just blow away, so kernel consumption has a slightly weightier, gourmet twist in the city of Chicago. The most common variation is a sweet and savory 50/50 split of caramel and real cheddar cheese coated pieces.
- For a taste of real Chicago-style popcorn, head to one of these fine establishments:
- Garrett Popcorn Shops
- Nuts on Clark
- Wells Street Popcorn
Host Your Next Meeting or Training Event in Chicago
Chicago is one of the best cities in the world to host corporate meeting and training events. Its formidable status as corporate business and transportation access combined with the abundance of things to do outside of the meeting room make it the ideal place to create a complete experience that attendees won't soon forget. The city offers practicality and unique offerings that make it a destination that's easy to return to, year after year.
Looking to host your next meeting, training, or other corporate event in a state-of-the-art, dedicated professional venue? Attune Chicago is designed from the ground up to set your event up for success.