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Chicago, IL 60602-3315
tel 312/606-0722
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Preconference Events

ARCHIVES / Chicago 2007


Chicago… That Toddlin’ Town!

They don’t call Chicago a “toddlin’ town” for nothing. Well… maybe nobody has really called it that since Tony Bennett. But in any case, you won’t lack for things to do during your free time at ARCHIVES / CHICAGO 2007!  Here are just a few (somewhat idiosyncratic) suggestions for fun, education, and entertainment – all within easy toddlin’ distance* of the Fairmont Hotel.

Couldn’t Be Closer:

  • Millennium Park, one block south, offers you sculptures to interact with (splash in the Crown Fountain, watch your reflection in Cloudgate), garden paths to stroll, and the option of just sitting with an ice-cream cone and contemplating Michigan Avenue’s architectural gems across the street. General info:  Or for events:  You might be able to catch a free Grant Park Music Festival concert on the lawn of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. (These classical music concerts generally are performed on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturday evenings, and occasionally on Sundays.  For more: )

Culture Close By:

  • Cultural Center:  78 W Washington St (corner of Washington & Michigan) (2 blocks W, 1 block S).  The former main Chicago Public Library, this gorgeous building now houses Chicago’s Visitor’s Center, exhibits and other events, a café, and a great gift shop. Mon-Thurs: 8am - 7pm; Fri: 8am-6 pm, Sat: 9am-6pm, Sun: 10am-6pm.  312-744-6630.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art:  220 E Chicago Ave (6 blocks N). Collections and exhibitions of visual art from 1945 to the present with a focus on surrealism, minimalism, conceptual photography, and Chicago-based artists. Great gift shop, of course, and café.  Tues: 10am-8pm, Wed-Sun: 10am-5pm. Free on Tues, regular admission $10.
  • Art Institute of Chicago:  111 S Michigan Ave (3 blocks S).  As if the fabulous collection (including much of the former Terra Museum’s collection) weren’t enough, check out special exhibitions at Café, a nice restaurant, and a huge gift shop.  Mon–Wed: 10:30am–5pm; Thurs: 10:30am–8pm (free 5pm-8pm); Fri: 10:30am-5pm; admission $12. . , 10:00–5:00
  • Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA):  820 N Michigan Ave (6.5 blocks N).  Newly opened; the university's medieval, renaissance, and baroque collection, other museum permanent collections and rotating exhibitions.  Tues: 10am-8pm (free admission); Wed-Sun: 10am-5pm, general admission $6.  312-915-7600;
  • Freedom Museum:  445 N Michigan Ave (2.5 blocks N). The first two floors of the historic Chicago Tribune building.  Brand new (opened in April 2006), it describes itself as “the nation’s first museum dedicated to freedom and the First Amendment.” Wed-Mon, 10am-6pm, general admission $5.

Fun at Hand:

  • Film night in Grant Park:  Butler Field, 100 S Lake Shore Dr at Monroe (3 blocks S).  For 7 years the city has run a summer film festival showing crowd-pleasing movies outdoors on a giant screen. 2007 schedule not yet available—stay tuned!
  • Michigan Avenue window shopping: (3-7 blocks N) Cross the river, pass the Tribune and Wrigley buildings, and prepare to start drooling. You’ll be exhausted by the time you get to the many shops at Water Tower Place (835 N Michigan).
  • Navy Pier:  600 East Grand Ave (2 blocks N [across the River], then 4 blocks W).  See Trolley listing below.  Fifty acres of parks, promenades, gardens, shops, eateries and attractions, including the 15-story Ferris wheel, an Imax theater, Children’s Museum, entertainment. And fireworks on Wednesdays at 9:30pm and Saturdays at 10:15pm.
  • John Hancock Center Observatory:  875 N Michigan Ave (6.5 blocks N).  Views spanning 80 miles. The Observatory is open daily 9am - 11pm (last ticket sold at 10:45pm). 312-751-3681; or
  • Bookstores:  The two closest Borders are:
    • 150 N State St, across from Macy’s (3 blocks W).  312-606-0750.
    • 830 N Michigan Ave, across from the Water Tower (6 blocks N). 312-573-0564.

(Note:  SAA does not endorse Borders as the only purveyor of books. Chicago has many one-of-a-kind bookstores.)

Coffee Hounds:

  • There are nearly a dozen Starbucks opportunities (some kiosks, some sit-down) within toddlin’ distance. The four absolute closest are: 225 N Michigan Ave (in the Illinois Center complex—get to it through the hotel); 202 N Michigan Ave; 130 E Randolph St. (in the Shops at Millennium Station); and 200 E Randolph St (in the Amoco Building).  (Note: SAA does not endorse Starbucks as the only coffee purveyor, and there are many other coffee sources within reach.)

Organized Tours:

Free Trolleys:

  • The trolley to Navy Pier has a stop at Columbus and Grant; Service is every 20 minutes, hours are Sun-Thurs 10am – 11pm, Fri-Sat, 10am – 1am.
  • The City of Chicago also runs free trolleys.  Schedule not yet available; go to

Useful URLs:

*No more than 8 Chicago blocks, which = 1 mile.

Other Local Links (PDF)

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SAA thanks the following ARCHIVES / Chicago 2007 sponsors for their generous support:

2007 International Archives & Information Technology Exposition Exhibitor List