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2017 Tour Information

2018 Information coming soon. Check back in July.

  • Know Your Chicago Symposium September 6

    When: Wednesday, September 6
    Rain or shine
    Time: 9:00 AM–3:15 PM
    Where: Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E 59th St, Chicago, IL 60637
    Buses depart from the north curb of Adams between Clinton and Jefferson at 8:30 am; Valet available at Ida Noyes Hall for those who wish to drive
    Cost: $85 (Lunch and transportation included)

    Join us for a day of presentations on some of Chicago’s cultural and geographic highlights, as well as some of the most urgent social concerns of our time. The Know Your Chicago Symposium, the official beginning of the annual Tour series, brings together five prestigious speakers who address important issues related to the season’s tours. 2017 Tours include an investigation of veteran services in Chicago, the plight of the homeless, the changing geographies and cultural landscape of the Chicago River, an exploration of emergency services, and the evolution of commercial retail in the digital age. The information at the Symposium complements, but is distinct from, that presented on the Tours. Whether you’re joining us for all of the Tours, or want to attend only the Symposium, we’re sure you’ll find the talks valuable and the speakers engaging.


    Gay-Young Cho, Chair, Know Your Chicago
    Daniel Diermeier, Provost, The University of Chicago

    Tour 1—The Journey Home: Our Veterans Return

    Erica Jeffries, Director of Illinois Veterans Association; Special Message from Tammy Duckworth, United States Senator for Illinois

    Tour 2—Homeless in Chicago: Not By Choice

    Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS).

    Tour 3—Reversing a Reputation: The Chicago River

    MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council

    Tour 4—They’ve Got Your Back: Planning for Catastrophes

    Joshua Barnes, Deputy Division Director for Recovery at US Department of Health and Human Services

    Tour 5—The Business of Retail: Bricks, Clicks, Today’s New Mix

    Eric T. Anderson, Hartmarx Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Global Marketing Practice, Northwestern University

    NOTE: Symposium registration is required for Tour registration until September 6 or until the Symposium sells out, whichever happens first.

  • Tour One: The Journey Home: Our Veterans Return Sept. 12 & 13

    When: Tuesday, September 12 (Rain or Shine)
    Time: 8:30 AM–3:15 PM
    Where: Buses depart Adams and Clinton at 8:30 am; buses return at 3:15 pm
    Walking Grade: Extensive Walking
    Cost: $85 (Lunch and transportation included)

    Those who have served our country have become invisible to most Americans, noticed only when they appear as casualties in a news story or as victims of our Veterans Administration system. We now have more veterans than at any time since World War II. Their homecoming is often complicated by physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Each service member’s journey is unique. To honor and acknowledge them, this Tour will explore the issues veterans face as they transition from military to civilian life.

    WE WILL:

    Visit Edward Hines Veterans Hospital to learn how the VA healthcare system works.

    See the VA’s Prosthetics and Orthotics lab to discover how specialized prosthetics are custom-made and fitted on site for veterans, including the “power ankle.”

    Tour the Central Blind Rehabilitation Center, which helps sight-impaired veterans adapt to their new challenges.

    Understand unique issues of female veterans, who face increased risk of joblessness and homelessness.

    Listen to a panel of experts to better understand how service members are adapting leadership and technical skills developed in the military to the civilian workforce. Learn about the concept of “moral injury” and how veterans deal with the mental stresses of battle as they return to civilian life, including PTSD, military sexual trauma, depression, and addiction.

    Talk with young veterans transitioning from military to civilian life, hear their stories, and learn how they support each other.

  • Tour Two: Homeless in Chicago: Not By Choice Sept. 26 & 27

    When: Tuesday, September 26 (Rain or Shine)
    Time: 8:30 AM–3:15 PM
    Where: Buses depart Adams and Clinton at 8:30 am; buses return at 3:15 pm
    Walking Grade: Moderate Walking
    Cost: $85 (Lunch and transportation included)

    At least one-third of Americans are either one paycheck or one medical emergency away from homelessness. Someone is homeless if they lack permanent housing; they may live in shelters, on the street, or doubled up with others. Families make up the largest percentage of Chicagoans experiencing homelessness. Chicago Public Schools report that more than 17,000 of their students are homeless. Many homeless teens are completely on their own. A number of homeless adults work, but don’t earn enough money to rent an apartment. Others cannot find adequate shelter and must remain on the streets.


    Meet individuals who have experienced homelessness. Some tent cities are efficiently managed by the residents as they hope for a permanent solution.

    Tour a homeless shelter that provides emotional support and a safe place to sleep, and a clinic that offers medical, dental, and mental health care.

    Learn about programs that provide job training and connections to employment opportunities, and supportive and affordable housing.

    Discover the sense of community engendered by homeless citizens who share meals and camaraderie in spite of the hardships they face.

    Hear how organizations like Heartland Alliance, Streetwise, the Salvation Army, and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless advocate for permanent housing, employment, and dignity.

    Join us to hear compelling stories and become more aware, empathetic, and able to help the homeless in Chicago.

  • Tour Three: Reversing a Reputation: The Chicago River Oct. 10 & 11

    When: Tuesday, October 10 (Rain or Shine)
    Time: 8:30 AM–3:15 PM
    Where: Buses depart Adams and Clinton at 8:30 am; buses return at 3:15 pm
    Walking Grade: Light Walking
    Cost: $85 (Lunch and transportation included)

    The Chicago River has long complemented Lake Michigan as a treasured natural resource. Only recently, however, has the city begun transforming this industrial and shipping corridor into enticing public space. Learn about the vision and action agendas rebranding this water gem to lure businesses, investors, scientists, developers, adventurers, visionaries, and yes, ordinary Chicagoans too. Learn how multiple agencies are collaborating to strengthen opportunities along 155 miles of riverfront.

    Explore the architectural model of a spectacular new residential highrise at the river’s mouth. Be captivated by floor-toceiling murals offering 360 degree night and day shots. Hear about extraordinary construction challenges.

    Enjoy show-stopping views of the Riverwalk, which aims to be a vibrant tourist destination rivaling Millennium Park, with restaurants, concert venues, sport rentals, and floating gardens. See innovative solutions for providing pedestrian access from street level to water’s edge.

    Learn about collaborative efforts to clean the water, protect the environment, provide recreation, and move toward dynamic and sustainable economies while lunching at a riverfront venue with a panel of forward-looking private and public sector experts. Their unique perspectives will provide insight into the intricacies of harnessing competing needs for the benefit of all.

    Discover artifacts arranged to inspire interest in Chicago’s nautical history at the new Chicago Maritime Museum, nestled on the river’s South Branch at historic Bubbly Creek. Explore through maps, models, and photographs the critical role the river has played as a conduit for transportation, westward expansion, and the rise of Chicago as a center for trade.

  • Tour Four: They’ve Got Your Back: Planning for Catastrophes Oct. 24 & 25

    When: Wednesday, October 25 (Rain or Shine)
    Time: 8:30 AM–3:15 PM
    Where: Buses depart Adams and Clinton at 8:30 am; buses return at 4:30 pm
    Walking Grade: Extensive Walking
    Cost: $85 (Lunch and transportation included)

    Terrorists release deadly gas on the Red Line . . . hackers seize control of the grid, shutting down transportation and energy systems . . . another “once in a century” storm leaves a trail of destruction and chaos. Who do you call?

    Argonne National Laboratory is ahead of the game. Nicknamed the “Doomsday Squad,” a team of scientists creates predictive models anticipating how any disaster may unfold. By analyzing the cascading series of infrastructure and societal failures that follow such events, the team develops ways to build resilience into the systems. Identifying vulnerabilities, it provides guidance for industry and governments to strengthen energy, transportation, telecommunications, and water systems.

    The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) uses state-ofthe-art technology to monitor conditions throughout the county and region. The department stands ready to respond to crises, manmade or natural 24/7. Whether providing back-up power to a nursing home or restoring order to a tornadoravaged town, the department works with local municipalities to provide assistance and help communities prepare for, respond to and recover from any incident.

    See Argonne’s Mira supercomputer, one of the fastest in the world and view simulations revealing how one isolated failure could trigger cross-country disasters. Learn how security and technology devices are “cracked” to identify vulnerabilities.

    Hear how the Tokyo sarin attack in subways led to improved air circulation and evacuation systems.

    Visit DHSEM’s Emergency Operations Center with eyes and ears across our fivecounty area.

    View the resources—such as unified command posts and mobile response teams—that are regularly deployed to protect lives and property around Cook County.

    Security restrictions apply. Government issued photo ID required to enter Argonne. Non-US citizens must complete form; please contact KYC office to obtain. All ticket exchanges must be reported to KYC office by Friday, October 13.

  • Tour Five: The Business of Retail: Bricks, Clicks, Today’s New Mix Nov. 1 & 2

    When: Thursday, November 2 (Rain or Shine)
    Time: 8:30 AM–3:15 PM
    Where: Buses depart Adams and Clinton at 8:30 am; buses return at 4:30 pm
    Walking Grade: Moderate Walking
    Cost: $85 (Lunch and transportation included)

    Chicago is the birthplace of innovative retail institutions: Marshall Field’s, Montgomery Ward, Sears Roebuck, Crate & Barrel, and more. Yet today, we face a new retail environment. The advent of e-commerce, technology, and consumer data has created a seismic shift in the landscape affecting long-held assumptions about the “who, what, where, when and how” of shopping.

    Explore the new world of retail to gain perspective on a complex, rapidly changing aspect of our lives.

    Visit 1871, Chicago’s Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship. You’ll hear from retail experts who will trace the disruption of retail, explain how e-commerce works, and investigate the future of digital marketing and omni-channel retailing.

    Discover how shopping is changing, affecting not only the economics of consumption, but also real estate stability and community cohesiveness.

    Delve into the story behind several new retail concepts including multi-use NEWCITY and newly reimagined 900 North Michigan. Learn about the role demographics play and how retailers are changing the way they run their businesses. Find out who is doing well and why, and what others are doing to adapt.

    This unique Tour will provide a roadmap of the details and larger forces at play in today’s complicated world of retail. You will gain new understanding of when to efficiently and effectively “click” and when to enjoy an in-person shopping experience with your favorite retailer.


Download the Know Your Chicago 2017 Season Brochure