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Neighborhoods Get Boost From Chicago's Tourism Agency

By Ted Cox | October 21, 2013 3:56pm
 The Choose Chicago tourism website is now directing visitors to Lincoln Square and other neighborhoods as well as Downtown.
The Choose Chicago tourism website is now directing visitors to Lincoln Square and other neighborhoods as well as Downtown.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

CITY HALL — The city's neighborhoods are getting a boost from the Choose Chicago tourism website.

The city's official tourism agency on Monday unveiled a new Discover Chicago Neighborhoods page, complete with a tab on its home page. It features 51 of the city's 77 designated neighborhoods.

"The neighborhoods are the jewels of the city, and the City of Chicago enthusiastically welcomes visitors to our diverse and culturally eclectic neighborhoods," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "From places to dine to arts and culture to music to enjoying Chicago’s green space, Chicago has it all."

Melissa Cherry, Choose Chicago's vice president of cultural tourism and neighborhoods, said it's a common-sense initiative true to the agency's mission.

 Choose Chicago President Don Welsh and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (l.) both applaud the tourism agency's new emphasis on neighborhoods.
Choose Chicago President Don Welsh and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (l.) both applaud the tourism agency's new emphasis on neighborhoods.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

"This is really about extending the length of stay and repeat visitation," she said. "The neighborhoods are really crucial for people to come back to Chicago.

"We're focused on both the leisure and the business side, and this really kind of focuses on the goal of us getting to 50 million visitors by 2020," Cherry added. "So the neighborhoods are really an asset to make that happen."

Michelle Boone, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, called Chicago neighborhoods a unique "cultural asset" and a potential draw for tourists.

Highlighting neighborhoods might extend the stays of visitors, added Don Welsh, president of the city's tourism agency, "so that they can explore the many parts of our vibrant city."

Cherry said the site that debuted Monday is just the beginning, and it will grow more detailed over time, adding, "I hope that not only visitors but Chicagoans use this as a resource."