By Vik Khokhar, Director of Event Planning, JW Marriott Chicago
In the midst of every summer, Chicago becomes bustling with conventions and convention attendees as they descend on the Windy City. While conventions can start and end with a blink of the eye, Chicago offers endless amounts of attractions, neighborhoods, and restaurants to be explored.
If you find time to get a taste of what Chicago has to offer I have a few tips of what to keep in mind when maximizing your time, both when in the convention center and out enjoying the city.
Managing Your Time: So much time is spent on education, while networking is key to making the most of your time at a convention. If you are shy about reaching out to people, find a partner who is extroverted and social. They can help you network and ensure you are meeting the right people.
Convenient Transportation: Find a hotel, like JW Marriott Chicago, that offers a convenient location with close proximity to downtown and transportation to and from McCormick Place. Convention attendees can often take advantage of the organized transportation/shuttle services that are sponsored by the convention center. With some conventions you will even find that you are provided free tickets to the train over the convention dates. This will allow you to avoid the never ending taxi lines to make your way back to the central area in Downtown Chicago.
Let Your Concierge Be Your Guide: Find out if your hotel offers a concierge weekly guide to what’s happening in the city that will tell you about all the upcoming events, exhibitions to see, neighborhoods worth exploring, and more. From movies in the park, to baseball games, and festivals, you will never be out activities.
Don’t Be Afraid to Leave the Loop: One of the things that makes Chicago so great is its diverse neighborhoods and cultural connections. From Chinatown to Lincoln Park, to Andersonville and more, the city’s neighborhoods are only an L-Train ride or quick cab away. Be sure to ask your concierge for their neighborhood recommendations as your concierge often call these neighborhoods home.
Enjoy a Taste of the Top Notch Culinary Scene: Chicago has one of the country’s top culinary scenes and it’s not to be missed. You can’t walk down Randolph Street (aka Restaurant Row) in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood without finding an unforgettable dining experience with Chefs such as Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard, and Fabio Viviani. However, be sure to make a reservation as tables at these hot spots are highly coveted.
Get out in the city and enjoy!
With a passion for events and creating luxurious guest experiences, Vik Khokhar serves as JW Marriott Chicago’s Direct of Event Planning. At the landmark luxury hotel, Vik sets the stage for both corporate events and weddings in the hotel’s 44,000 square feet of premier event space.
Before joining JW Marriott Chicago last spring, Khokhar spent four years at the Dolce Hotels and Resorts, now part of Wyndham Hotel Group, where he started as the director of operations for the historic Seaview Golf Resort in New Jersey. In a short time, he was promoted to an assistant general manager, where he was a valuable contributor in redefining the brand.
Additionally, Khokhar worked to establish standards for inspiring meetings and special events. Before his work with Dolce Hotels and Resorts, he also worked at other hotel properties, including The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in St. Louis.