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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Chicago 'Instagreeter' location now at Center on Halsted
From a news release
2012-03-29

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CHICAGO (March 26, 2012) — Chicago visitors will be able to experience the vibrant communities of Lakeview, Wrigleyville and Boystown like a true insider this summer when a new "InstaGreeter" neighborhood location opens on Saturday, May 26 at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. This free visitor service offered by the Chicago Greeter program at the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC) provides one-hour guided walks led by friendly, knowledgeable locals.

InstaGreeter returns this summer to the Pilsen neighborhood at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th Street; to Old Town at The Second City, 1616 N. Wells Street; and to Hyde Park, departing from a new location: Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue. Neighborhood locations are open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on alternating Saturdays from May 26 to October 6. Walks are given on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to six people or less with no pre-registration required.

The neighborhood InstaGreeter locations are an offshoot of the popular, year-round Loop InstaGreeter service, which offers visitors an opportunity to see the downtown area on a one-hour guided walk with a volunteer Greeter. Located at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street, Loop InstaGreeter is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also downtown, COTC offers a summer-only tour of Millennium Park, leaving from the Millennium Park Welcome Center, 201 E. Randolph Street, daily at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., from May 25 to October 8 — and a seasonal Magnificent Mile InstaGreeter location at the Water Works Visitor Information Center, 163 E. Pearson Street, available this spring through April 21and during the holiday season. Magnificent Mile InstaGreeter provides free, one-hour walks of N. Michigan Avenue and surrounding areas.

"In opening a new neighborhood location in Lakeview, Chicago proudly welcomes visitors to experience the diversity of the city," said Dorothy Coyle, Executive Director, Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. "A broad array of fashionable boutiques, novelty stores, restaurants and entertainment venues make the area a great destination, with Boystown forming the heart of our thriving LGBT community and Wrigleyville playing home to sports fans all year round. Chicagoans take great pride in their city and through our unique InstaGreeter service, visitors can take away an authentic Chicago experience as shared by a local insider."

InstaGreeter (No Appointment Needed) - Summer 2012 Neighborhood Locations:

Lakeview/Wrigleyville/Boystown, Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted — NEW NEIGHBORHOOD

May 26, June 2, 16 & 30, July 14 & 28, August 11 & 25, September 8 & 22, October 6

The Center on Halsted is the Midwest's most comprehensive community center dedicated to the LGBT community. It is located in the heart of Boystown, the first officially recognized gay neighborhood in the U.S., near many unique restaurants and shops, bustling nightlife and Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

Pilsen, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W.19th Street

May 26, June 9 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 & 18, September 1, 15 & 29

The National Museum of Mexican Art's permanent collection traces the artistry of the people of Mexico from pre-Columbian to the country's best contemporary artists. In addition to a wealth of restaurants, shops, and colorful street murals, a recent influx of galleries has given rise to a bustling Chicago Arts District in this culturally rich neighborhood that is the heart of Chicago's Mexican American community.

Old Town, The Second City, 1616 N. Wells Street

May 26, June 9 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 & 18, September 1, 15 & 29

The Second City is the celebrated improvisational comedy club and training ground of comedians John Belushi, Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Steve Carrell, among many others. The Tony-award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre is located just a few blocks away on Halsted St. Many innovative restaurants, unusual boutiques and one of the nation's oldest summer art fairs make this neighborhood a popular summer destination.

Hyde Park, Smart Museum of Art, 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue — NEW LOCATION

May 26, June 2, 16 & 30, July 14 & 28, August 11 & 25, September 8 & 22, October 6

The University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art presents acclaimed special exhibitions and a permanent collection that spans five thousand years of artistic recreation. It is located near historic landmarks such as Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, the Museum of Science & Industry and the DuSable Museum of African American History, as well as the home of President Barack Obama.

Chicago Greeter (Registration Required):

The year-round Chicago Greeter service provides visitors with the opportunity to see Chicago with local residents on 2-to-4-hour visits of the city. Groups of up to six people can pre-register and choose a neighborhood or interest area to explore such as architecture, history or ethnic Chicago. The program offers free visits in 10 languages in 26 neighborhoods and 40 interest areas. A founding member of the global Greeter network, the Chicago Greeter program, celebrating 10 years in 2012, is recognized internationally for its innovation and consistently ranked as one of the most popular programs of its kind in the world. Last year, Chicago Greeter matched 9,000 visitors with local volunteers for an insider's orientation to Chicago, a 25% increase over 2010.

For more information about all Chicago Greeter programs, visit chicagogreeter.com .

Visitor Information Resources

Visitors and residents entertaining out-of-town guests will find helpful trip-planning tools and tips on Chicago's top-ranked travel and tourism website, www.ExploreChicago.org . For daily alerts about things to do and see in Chicago, follow Explore Chicago on Twitter at twitter.com/explorechicago (COTC's free Twitter Concierge service @explorechicago) and on Facebook at facebook.com/explorechicago. Discover fun itineraries on the Explore Chicago blog at explorechicagotourism.com and on Foursquare at foursquare.com/explorechicago .

Expert advice and information about the city's events and attractions are also available at the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture's Visitor Information Centers located across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street, and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.

Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture

The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture markets Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers; provides innovative visitor programs and services; and familiarizes visitors and residents with the city's vibrant neighborhoods, cultural attractions and creative industries. The Chicago visitor industry serves 40 million visitors annually, generates $11 billion in direct spending and $616 million in taxes, and sustains 124,000 jobs. For more information, visit www.ExploreChicago.org .


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