Explore Chicago While You’re at #NACE16

Shawn VanDerziel photoShawn VanDerziel, Chief Human Resources Officer at The Field Museum
Twitter: @ShawnVDZ
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/svanderziel



Make the most of your Chicago experience…

I am genuinely happy to welcome my NACE colleagues and friends to town for NACE’s 2016 Conference. I hope you are able to plan extra days before and/or after to explore this fine city. Whether you have just a few extra hours or a couple of days I thought I might offer a few suggestions for exploring the city.

Most of the suggestions are close to the conference hotel, which is in the South Loop neighborhood.


Run… jog…walk through Grant Park (directly across from the hotel) or Millennium Park (home to the Cloud/Bean, and summer concerts) and along the Lakefront. The lakefront is not to be missed; it is our pride and joy. Better yet, you can easily rent a bike at Divvy, one of our shared bike stations.


It’s easy to get to some of Chicago’s best restaurants. Some are within walking distance, but there are many more just a quick/inexpensive taxi ride away in the following neighborhoods/areas: River North, along the Magnificent Mile, the Gold Coast and the not to be missed foodie paradise of the West Loop.

Grab a bite to eat at one of our celebrity-chef restaurants. We have the likes of Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Stefanie Izzard, Fabio Viviani, Graham Elliott Bowles, and Takakshi Yagihashi among others. Most will require advance reservations though. Or you might want to checkout a celebrity owned (or named) restaurant like Ditka’s, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, RPM Italian, RPM Steakhouse, or Harry Caray’s among many others.

Perhaps you  are in the mood for Chinese, then explore one of the restaurants in Chinatown or for Italian, visit our Little Italy.  Both are short cab rides away.

And there is always pizza. You’ve got to indulge in our world famous deep dish (or our cracker thin)! Within walking distance you’ll find: Lou Malnati’s, Pizano’s, Giordano’s, and Aurelio’s.


A quick taxi/Uber/Lyft ($6-7) or bus ride ($2.25) will get you to the Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) where you will find all of the top retailers.


Bummer… the Chicago Cubs are not in town the week of the conference. However, our other hometown team is. You might want to catch a Chicago White Sox game. They are playing all week and getting to the stadium is quick and easy by cab or even more quickly by the subway/El.


We are known for it… checkout the blues and/or jazz scene. Within walking distance is one of Chicago’s most famous hangouts, Buddy Guy’s Legends. Further afield you will find: Blue Chicago, Green Mill, and B.L.U.E.S.

Theater and Comedy Shows

We have plenty of it. You can find last minute discounted tickets (up to a week in advance) at Hottix.org

Museums (of course!)

Walk (15 minutes) or take a quick cab ride to The Field Museum. That’s where I work. Admittedly, I am biased, but you can’t spend time in Chicago without seeing The Field. We’ve got: Sue, the largest, most complete T-Rex ever discovered; the Lions of Tsavo (from the movie Ghost and the Darkness); the amazing Terracotta Warriors; mummies in our Inside Ancient Egypt exhibition; dinosaurs; spectacular gems; and so much more.

You’ll indulge in social activity and the glamour of The Field Museum during Thursday night’s 60th Anniversary Gala (a must attend event!) , but you’ll want to take a special trip to explore properly.


Visit the Art Institute of Chicago, voted the number one Museum in the Country by TripAdvisor. You can walk there in about 10 minutes.

Whatever you do, HAVE FUN! There is something for everyone. I hope you are able to get out of the hotel to find out why Chicagoans love their city; especially in the summer!

This entry was posted in #NACE16 by Shawn VanDerziel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shawn VanDerziel

Shawn VanDerziel, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, currently serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief of Staff for The Field Museum in Chicago. He was President of NACE from 2009-2010 and inducted in the NACE Academy of Fellows in 2014.

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