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Getting to Know Chicago
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Home: Destinations: Chicago: Getting to Know:
Orientation

Visitor Information

The Chicago Office of Tourism (tel. 312/744-2400 or TTY 312/744-2947) operates three visitor information centers staffed with people who can answer questions and stocked with a ton of brochures on area attractions, including materials on everything from museums and city landmarks to lakefront biking maps and even fishing spots. The main visitor center, located in the Loop and convenient to many places you’ll likely be visiting, is on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph (at Michigan). The center has a phone you can use to make hotel reservations, and several couches and a cafe where you can study maps and plan your itinerary. The center is open Monday through Wednesday from 10am to 7pm, Thursday from 10am to 9pm, Friday from 10am to 6pm, Saturday from 10am to 5pm, Sunday from 11am to 5pm; closed holidays.

A second, smaller center is located in the heart of the city’s shopping district, in the old pumping station, at Michigan and Chicago avenues. Recently renamed the Chicago Water Works Visitor Center, its entrance is on the Pearson Street side of the building, across from the Water Tower Place mall. It’s open daily from 7:30am to 7pm. This location has the added draw of housing a location of Hot Tix, which offers both half-price day-of-performance and full-price tickets to many theater productions around the city, as well as a gift shop and Chicago Flat Sammies, a sandwich cafe. There are also plans to convert a section of the building into a theater, including a small cabaret space for tourist-oriented shows and a larger playhouse for Lookingglass Theatre, a long-itinerant acclaimed Chicago theater company.

A third visitor outpost is located at Navy Pier in the Illinois Market Place gift shop; it’s open Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 9pm and from 10am to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

The Illinois Bureau of Tourism (tel. 800/2CONNECT or TTY 800/406-6418) can provide general and specific information 24 hours a day. The agency also has staff at the information desk in the lobby of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., in the Helmut Jahn–designed building at LaSalle and Randolph streets in the Loop. The desk is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday.

INFORMATION BY TELEPHONE  The Mayor’s Office of Special Events operates a recorded hotline (tel. 312/744-3370) listing current special events, festivals, and parades occurring throughout the city. The city of Chicago also maintains a 24-hour information line for those with hearing impairments; call tel. 312/744-8599.

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