AAOS sets its sights on Chicago
‘The City of Big Shoulders’ opens its arms to the AAOS Annual Meeting, March 22-26, 2006
By Carolyn Rogers
For the first time since 1970, Chicago will be the host city for the Academy’s Annual Meeting, March 22-26, 2006.
Upon receiving official word from New Orleans that all conventions in the hurricane-devastated city had been cancelled through the end of March, AAOS leadership carefully reviewed its options before making the decision to move ahead with the 2006 Annual Meeting.
Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center will be the site of the 2006 Annual Meeting; all activities originally planned for New Orleans will take place here. (Left) An interior view of McCormick Place.
Securing a new site was no easy task, however—conventions the size of the AAOS Annual Meeting typically are booked more than five years in advance. Fortunately, “The City that Works” found a way to make the AAOS Annual Meeting “work” on very short notice. The AAOS was able to transfer the entire meeting, and as a result, all educational activities that were planned for New Orleans will take place in Chicago. (See accompanying article for just a few of the many educational opportunities you’ll find at the AAOS Annual Meeting.)
Chicago: A world-class destination
In the 36 years since the Academy last presented its Annual Meeting in Chicago, orthopaedics has changed dramatically—and so has the city of Chicago.
Today, this world-class city offers diverse hotels, a truly vibrant restaurant scene, unparalleled shopping opportunities, spectacular live theater, celebrated architecture and a wide range of cultural attractions. In recent years, changes in zoning ordinances and building codes have blurred work/residence distinctions, engendering a lively 24/7 milieu, filling streets, shops, restaurants and theaters well into the night, every night.
Visitors from around the world come to the birthplace of the modern skyscraper to admire the city’s architectural marvels, and tens of millions are drawn to Chicago’s world-renowned museums each year. Chicago is also home to a vital, vast and varied community of theatrical companies and large independent theaters where theater-goers can find everything from Broadway hits like “Wicked,” to experimental theater, to Chicago’s famous improvisational groups that display the wit and humor of the ‘Second City.’
Chicago is the most visited U.S. destination for business travelers for several years running, and for good reason. This city is always adapting and improving to better meet the needs of convention organizers and their attendees.
A prime example of this commitment is the dedicated busway that runs between McCormick Place and the “Loop.” In January 2002, the city established a two-way roadway that allows convention shuttles to bypass regular traffic while transporting convention attendees between the convention center and downtown hotels.
Chicago is easy to navigate compared to other large (and smaller) cities, but if you need any help getting around the city, travel counselors will be ready to answer your questions via a toll-free number provided by the Chicago Conventions and Tourism Bureau.
Below are a few of the transportation options available to visitors:
• Taxicabs: In Chicago, the fare appears on the taxi meter, plus any tolls. A standard taxicab fare between O’Hare Airport and downtown is about $30-$35, and about $20-$25 between Midway and downtown. Chicago is a “cab town” in general, so if you need to hail a taxi to take you to that 4-star restaurant you keep hearing about, a cab is usually just seconds away.
• Airport Shuttles: Reliable airport shuttles run between O’Hare and Midway airports to downtown Chicago, for $17 and $13, respectively. The shuttles serve all downtown hotels, with departures every five to 10 minutes.
• The ‘el’ (elevated train/subway): For just $1.75, the ‘el’ train will quickly whisk you from either airport to downtown. Simple fare cards, easy-to-use maps and brochures make the trip a snap.
• Rail: Chicago’s Metra train system has an indoor station conveniently located just off the McCormick Place Grand Concourse.
More than 165 years ago, Chicago’s leaders declared that the Lake Michigan lakefront would remain “forever open, clear and free,” so the city’s 31 miles of parks and lakefront are a welcome surprise to many visitors. The city has expanded the parks on a regular basis—the most recent addition being the dazzling 24.5 acre Millennium Park, located downtown on Michigan Avenue. Millennium Park features an indoor year-round theatre, an ice skating rink and the 300-seat “Park Grill,” which allows diners a full view of the skating rink from any seat in the restaurant. Millennium Park is a showplace for art, music and landscape design, and is already considered one of the best urban spaces in the world.
Navy Pier: Chicago’s lakefront
Chicago’s historic Navy Pier now ranks as the most popular attraction in Illinois. Anchored by the 50,000-square-foot Chicago Children’s Museum and a 440-seat large-screen IMAX Theater, Navy Pier’s indoor pavilion is also home to dozens of exciting restaurants and retail shops, the country’s first-ever Museum of Stained Glass Windows and the Crystal Gardens—a 32,000-square-foot indoor botanical park. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater—a beautiful, year-round, six-story facility that houses an intimate, 510-seat courtyard-style theater—is also located at the center of the pier.
For more information on the city’s many offerings, visit the Chicago Convention and Tourism Web site.