Just a few miles southwest of Chicago through Lemont, Bolingbrook, Lockport, Joliet and extending to Starved Rock State Park area is the nation's first Heritage Corridor. You're invited to "meet" in the "Southwest" for your next road trip, corporate meeting/training, wedding, or family reunion. The southwest has every kind of place for every kind of function.
With help from your resourceful I & M Canal Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau staff, meeting and retreat planning is easier and more enjoyable than ever, for BOTH the planner and the participant! If you go the extra mile to see us, we'll be sure to go the extra mile to help you.
Give your guests a reason to remember their road trip -- along three of the nation's Scenic Byways: enjoy beautiful landscapes along Illinois River Road; visit charming downtowns along Illinois Lincoln Highway; and revel in the kitschy attractions along Illinois Route 66. Have your group dancing along with James Dean, Betty Boop and others at Polk-A-Dot Drive In Braidwood.
Take your corporate meeting or conference beyond the confines of the congested big city and into the "Southwest." Enjoy the relaxing and refreshing atmosphere along the I & M Canal. There are many historic downtowns and experiences to choose from, with many conference and meeting options for you.
Easily accessible off major highways, including I-55 and I-80 are the following options:
Learn about Lockport. The picturesque Gaylord Building's famed Public Landing restaurant is adjacent to Lockport's Lincoln Landing. The National Register of Historic Places site also includes a wonderful exhibit exploring the creation and commercial value of the Illinois & Michigan Canal. And Tallgrass Restaurant will stand tall in the memories of your crew's taste buds.
Bolingbrook goes beyond your expectations for shopping at the Promenade and conference and meetings spaces at the majestic Bolingbrook Golf Club and newly renovated Bolingbrook Holiday Inn. Bond with your team and try to escape the High Noon Saloon at Escape Hour Room at the Bolingbrook Promenade.
Get your meetings revved up as you try your luck at Harrah's Casino Joliet or Hollywood Casino Joliet, where you'll find hot gaming action, first-class dining and the area's best live entertainment. Speaking of racing -- Joliet is home to Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway both featuring luxurious suites and meeting spaces -- perfect for your board meeting.
Enjoy the suite life at either Rialto Square Theatre or Joliet Route 66 Stadium, home of Joliet Slammers Baseball, for your meeting or conference outing. Or, enjoy some amazing craft beers at Joliet's "Brews Brothers," MyGrain Brewing Company and Elder Brewing Company while holding your next meeting.
Along I-80, let the I & M Canal Heritage Corridor lead you to an impressive range of facilities near picturesque and recreational retreat options, whether in Grundy or LaSalle counties. Finest steaks and chops at the Morris Chop House for your next board meeting. Not to be missed is charming downtown Ottawa, at the intersection of two rivers, featuring the new Tangled Roots Brewery and Lone Buffalo Restaurant (with private meeting space) serving classic farm-to-table options with a portion of the Bison Weizen brew sales benefiting the buffalo at Buffalo Rock State Park.
Known as Illinois' most visited State Park, another popular meeting option is Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center at Starved Rock State Park in Utica.
Take your event down memory lane for a memorable event in downtown LaSalle, just off I-80. Swimming, volleyball, hiking and more can highlight your "escape the city meeting" to Heritage Harbor Ottawa.
Let your team take a historic canal boat ride in downtown LaSalle. Or wander to scenic Streator and utilize nearby Weber House and Gardens -- a storybook Tudor amidst an English garden, with cozy candlelit rooms that reflect the 18th century. And are you looking for the ultimate team building experience? We have two words for you: Skydive Chicago (located in nearby Marseilles).
With so many great options, why go anywhere else? Come to the I & M Canal Heritage Corridor and relax, we've got you covered with tremendous options all along the historic 94-mile Illinois & Michigan Canal. Going the extra mile is always the best way to secure special event success and meeting memories.
Bring your next conference, meeting, special event, or workshop to the "Southwest" -- with many indoor and outdoor experiences to choose from and hassle-free planning, courtesy of the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau staff. Call (800) 926-2262 or go to HeritageCorridorCVB.com.
• Bob Navarro is president and CEO of the I & M Canal Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CVB generates economic impact to the communities and counties along the Illinois and Michigan Canal through tourism marketing and development.