About Chicago

Chicago is a major city in the United States, situated in the Midwest region, on the southwestern-most tip of Lake Michigan. It was incorporated as a city in 1837. Today, with a population of 2.7 million, it is the third largest city in the country, after New York City and Los Angeles. As would be expected of a large city, Chicago has a rich culture and several landmarks including Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus, among others. Perhaps one of the most familiar of the city’s landmarks is the Willis (Sears) Tower, which held the title of tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years since its completion in 1973. In fact, the city’s connection to skyscrapers began over a century ago, when it became home to the first steel-frame skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, (originally 10 stories with a height of 42 m or 138 ft) in 1885. Therefore, it is only fitting that the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat relocated its Headquarters to Chicago in 2003. View Tall Buildings in Chicago


Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. If you are coming from outside of the United States and therefore require a visa invitation letter, check the box requesting an invitation letter during the registration process. Once you have completed and paid for your registration, we will email you an invitation letter to attend the conference.


Chicago experiences all four seasons, and should be enjoying warm and sunny weather during the Awards Conference held in May. Daily temperatures at this time are typically 72°F – 76°F (22°C – 24°C) and the venue will be air-conditioned. You may want a light jacket or sweater in the evening, as daily low temperatures are typically a bit cooler, at about 53°F – 57°F (12°C – 14°C).


The conference will be held at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in downtown Chicago. Located in the Lakeshore East neighborhood on Columbus Drive, Aqua Tower offers spectacular views of the city, a variety of convenient amenities, and upscale accommodations.

Completed in 2009, Aqua Tower was itself recognized as a Best Tall Building Americas Finalist in the 2010 Awards program. The building design draws influence from its impressive neighbor, Lake Michigan. The wave-like shape of each unique balcony provides guests with a view of the skyline, Millennium Park, or the Chicago Lakefront. Aqua boasts extensive meeting spaces with an elegant ballroom, as well as a spa and recreational facilities, a rooftop swimming pool, and a modern lifestyle garden. Minutes from the Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park, Aqua Tower is just a short walk from the best entertainment the Windy City has to offer.

Very favorable, negotiated rates at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel mean that you can stay in this prime location during the conference for a highly competitive rate of $269 per night. In particular, as a non-profit organization, CTBUH has to guarantee a minimum number of rooms at the hotel, so delegates are urged to help reduce this risk to the Council by please staying at the conference hotel.

Getting Around

The best way to get around town is either by taxi, bus, or train. To use the public transport system you will need to buy an Ventra card. The card can be obtained and loaded with credit at numerous transit stops across Chicago. The CTA offers a bus system and a train system called the L, which has 8 lines servicing various parts of the city. The Brown, Orange, Green, and Pink lines service the Loop area of Downtown Chicago, which has eight stops. The Metra is another train system that services the area, with the closest stop nearest the venue being Union Station, which is 1.8 miles away from Aqua Tower.

Currency: USD


In Chicago and throughout the United States, the United States Dollar (USD) is the standard currency. For the current exchange rate, and conversion to other world currencies, see a currency conversion guide. Currency exchange is available at most banks, hotels and international airports. Chicago banks offer the same range of services typical in other western nations, and cash withdrawal machines or ATMs are widespread. Banks are generally open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, but some banks offer extended hours. Be aware that most banks are typically closed on Sundays.

Emergency Numbers

The telephone number for the emergency services of Police and Ambulance is “911”.