Chicago beckons

November 11, 2006

Chicago, host to the AMCP's 2006 annual meeting, has so much to offer including world-class museums, entertainment, shopping, dining, and recreation.

If this is your first visit to the "Windy City," you might consider a stop at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.; (312) 742-1182), home of the city's Visitor Information Center. This architectural gem, designed in the beaux-arts style by a Boston firm, was originally the site for the Chicago Public Library from 1897 until 1991. Now it offers hundreds of programs and exhibitions annually by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. The center has eight exhibition spaces, two concert halls, two theaters, a cabaret performing space, a dance studio, café, and shop, in addition to the visitors center. It is open Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For an early morning workout before the meeting, consider a run/walk through Millennium Park (downtown Chicago on Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe streets). This award-winning, 24.5-acre park opened in July 2004, offering art, music, architecture, and landscape design to its many visitors. The welcome center (201 E. Randolph St.), found in the Northwest Exelon Pavilion, offers maps of the park and program schedules. Some key features include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue designed by Frank Gehry that can accommodate 4,000 in fixed seats and 7,000 on its lawn; the interactive Crown Fountain created by Jaume Plensa; the Lurie Garden by the design team of Kathryn Gustafson; and the Cloud Gate sculpture on the SBC Plaza by Anish Kapoor. For a self-guided audio tour, stop by the Chicago Shop at Millennium Park (second floor of the Northeast Exelon Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph St.) to rent the program or download the tour with your MP3 player at http://www.millenniumpark.org/generalinformation/.