by Michael C. Lowe | July 01, 2015
Why here?
America's Midwest offers a wide range of meeting destinations, from Cleveland's revitalized downtown to the idyllic escapes of Missouri's Ozark Mountains. In Chicago's urban center (pictured), planners will find multimillion-dollar investments in hotel infrastructure ready for groups.

Indy News
 In 2017, the Old City Hall (built in 1905) will be transformed into the 21c Museum Hotel. The $55 million project will result in 150 guest rooms, a conference center and more.

 Next year, the Indy 500 celebrates 100 years running at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is spending $30 million on upgrades. For a high-octane team-building experience, check out the Miles Ahead Performance Motoring School.

Soothing Sojourn
Enjoy some R&R at the Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo., in the Ozarks. The property sports a new 18,000-square-foot spa offering fireside massage treatments, an indoor grotto pool and more.

For Early Risers
"Sun-Up Sessions" at the Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island, Mich., has groups watching the sunrise over Lake Huron before enjoying a morning picnic and an optional yoga session.
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Local Update
 The 40-story Marriott Marquis Chicago is expected to open in 2017 as a new headquarters hotel for the nearby McCormick Place Convention Center. Plans call for 1,200 guest rooms and a 350-seat restaurant.

 The Renaissance Chicago Downtown has completed a $22 million renovation of its lobby, club lounge, Staytion Market and Bar, and more. The 560-room property has nearly 35,000 square feet of function space.

 The 250-room Virgin Hotel Chicago, Virgin's first entry in the U.S., opened in January with a spa, a rooftop bar and lounge, and three meeting spaces, the largest of which can host up to 120.

Meeting Hotels: For a full listing of area and other properties, and to send RFPs, visit

Convention Center: McCormick Place; exhibit space, approximately 2.6 million square feet; meeting space, 600,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 173; (312) 791-7000

Airport Transit:
 O'Hare International Airport, 18 miles from downtown Chicago. Transfer cost by taxi, $40-45

Midway International Airport, about 13 miles south of downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $35-40

Taxes: Room tax, 16.4%; sales tax, 9.5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.4%

Group Venue:
 The 1,544-room Hilton Chicago remains open, even while in the midst of undergoing a renovation to the tune of $150 million, which includes a guest-room revamp. The hotel has approximately 234,000 square feet of function space, along with the ability to close down part of adjoining 8th Street, overlooking leafy Grant Park, to throw a colorful block-party-style event. (312) 922-4400

Contact: Choose Chicago, (312) 567-8481