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updated: 10/10/2017 6:29 AM

Going beyond the budget for your meeting

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  • Team building events are held at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center in Olympia Fields.

    Team building events are held at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center in Olympia Fields.
    Courtesy of Chicago Southland CVB

  • The La Banque Hotel in Homewood is one of many attractions in the area.

      The La Banque Hotel in Homewood is one of many attractions in the area.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer


Conveniently located "Just Beyond the City Limits" the Chicago Southland is home to 62 south and southwest suburbs. No matter what a meeting planner is looking for whether it's meeting space, team building activities, golf courses, technology, fun, history or culture, the Chicago Southland has it all.

There are advantages to being only 22 miles outside a major city where you'll "meet in the middle" at the hub of six major interstates (55, 57, 80, 94, 294 and 355.) The Chicago Southland region is only minutes from two major airports, Midway and O'Hare International.

The Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau staff is in-the-know, putting you not only at the best of everything, but offering our latest promotions too. The Chicago Southland offers hotel brands you know and trust boasting 5,500 rooms, including six full service hotels with space for board meetings all the way to conventions and the Tinley Park Convention Center which has 70,450 square feet of exhibit space.

In addition there are several select service hotels, as well as six college venues, offering space for smaller events. La Banque Hotel, the recent recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Rating, is a luxury hotel that has meeting space for small groups. A well known perk throughout the Chicago Southland is an abundance of free parking.

Keep your group focused and working together with team building at Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center in Olympia Fields. Your mind is put at ease on the 38 acres of forestry, while your inner child is challenged with teamwork and problem solving activities that bond co-workers together. If golf is on the agenda, let one of our 35 golf courses challenge you, such as Ravisloe Golf Club or Silver Lake Country Club. After a full day, there are so many unique restaurants that will leave you satisfied.

If you are looking for farm-to-table, Chicago-style pizza, ethnic, fine dining, or just family-style dining the Chicago Southland offers something for everyone.

Did we mention breweries? Specific to the Chicago Southland are 13 breweries to check out as well as wineries and distilleries for tastings. Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery is popular and going strong since 1996 boasting over 80 awards.

If your group wants action then Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park or Toyota Park in Bridgeview is a great place to catch a concert. In Chicagoland we are a sports destination so your group can catch any number of sports events, from Chicago Fire Soccer and the Windy City ThunderBolts to the beloved Chicago Sox, Cubs and Blackhawks.

Breaking loose after any convention or business meeting, without breaking the bank, is what's on everyone's mind. Here are a few free ideas that are great for groups as well as on your own. With over 40,000 acres of forestry to discover, visiting the Chicago Southland has made it easy to unplug from your daily grind and reconnect with nature. There are water parks, nature centers, trails, fishing, canoeing and plenty of lakes, which is a good way to find the escape you need.

If art is your thing then experience glass blowing at Lotton Art Glass, view over 30 permanent installations at the world renowned Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, or take in the sights of the Pullman National Monument. The only thing you can't do in the Chicago Southland is see it all in one day!

Explore historic downtown districts like Homewood or Frankfort. While in Homewood there is a locally owned bat company that supplies bats to the region and to some players on professional teams. Stop by and check out Homewood Bat Co. and ask for a tour. Also in Homewood, is the Richard Haas mural tour as well as a train spotting platform all ensconced in a wonderful downtown atmosphere with shops, restaurants, science center and a great vibe that will leave you feeling refreshed. Frankfort has a great downtown with multiple shops centered around the old Frankfort Grainery, a focal point which was constructed in 1856, along with many restaurants and plenty of walking room for stretching your legs.

Our Chicago Southland region has so much to offer the meetings and conventions industry. We strive to work with partners to stay relevant in the marketplace. Whatever your needs we will have it all covered. Here at the Chicago Southland CVB, we pride ourselves on being a complimentary one stop shop for meeting planners and aim to make hosting your event in the Chicago Southland even easier.

To find out more about our meeting venues, event services or to schedule a site visit, reach out to our team by calling (708) 895-8200 or email and be sure to ask about our current incentive program.

• Mary Patchin is director of sales at the Chicago Southland CVB.

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