Welcome to the Meeting and Event Planning Guide to DuPage County, a guide for meeting professionals. Situated 20 miles west of Chicago and served by eight major expressways, DuPage County offers a fantastic blend of urban excitement and suburban charm, thanks to its world-class accommodations and dining, entertainment, shopping, and recreation, as well as its variety of meeting spaces and unique venues.
DuPage County comprises 38 communities, such as Oak Brook, Naperville, Lombard, Elmhurst, Lisle, Itasca, Downers Grove, and Westmont. DuPage is one of the nation's wealthiest counties and is the state's second-most-popular county, behind Chicago's Cook County, which borders DuPage County to the north and east. DuPage County is second only to Cook County in tourism revenue, and, together, the two counties account for more than half of Illinois' population.
DuPage County's three area airports make meeting travel a snap. Situated at the northeastern tip of DuPage County, O'Hare International Airport is among the world's busiest airports, serving more than 70 million annual passengers and from 59 international and 150 domestic destinations, and is a hub for American Airlines and United Airlines. Located 11 miles from DuPage County, Midway International Airport offers value-oriented travel to more than 60 destinations and is a major hub for Southwest airlines, among others. The county's very own DuPage Regional Corporate Airport in West Chicago offers corporate and regional aviation services, as well as serves as a reliever airport for O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.
Once in DuPage County, delegates can hop aboard Metra, the northeast Illinois commuter rail system that operates three lines throughout the county, with stations in Naperville, Lombard, Elmhurst, Villa Park, Glen Ellyn, Westmont, Downers Grove, Wheaton, and several other DuPage County communities.
DuPage County offers over two million square feet of combined meeting space, including several International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) approved properties. One such IACC-approved property, Northern Illinois University (NIU) Naperville Conference Center, offers 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. Convenient to major interstates and 27 miles from both O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, the center offers 23 meeting rooms, full-service catering, free facility-wide Wi-Fi, and an onsite cafe, among other amenities. In addition to NIU Naperville Conference Center, delegates can gather in any of DuPage County's major expo centers, high-tech conference venues, and sports complexes, including the 130,000-square-foot Odeum Sports & Expo Center.
Dozens of DuPage County restaurants and attractions do double duty as DuPage County event venues, ranging from an award-winning winery to a Broadway-style theater with banquet space.
Many of the county's historical attractions, green spaces, and performing arts centers offer group tours and private event space. One of the country's largest zoos, Brookfield Zoo, houses more than 2,800 animals representing 425 species, as well as 48,000 square feet of event space. Groups can partake in "Cocktails with the Animals" amid Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, gorillas, giraffes, and more in such exhibits as Habitat Africa, Tropic World, The Swamp, Seven Seas, and The Living Coast.
Groups can gather at the 1,700-acre The Morton Arboretum, home to hiking and biking trails, natural wooded areas, and themed gardens. Private event spaces at the arboretum range from the formal Hedge Garden to Visitor Center spaces that overlook the Children's Garden and Maze Garden.
Other venues include Drury Lane Theatre & Conference Center, which houses a 971-seat theater and 50,000 square feet of flexible space, as well as offering two adjacent hotels and dining service. For group outings with a twist, opt for Lynfred Winery tours, tastings, and pairing events.
For an outdoor gathering or golf outing, groups can head to the 500-acre Cantigny Park, home to formal gardens, picnic grounds, a public golf course, and the Robert R. McCormick Museum and Cantigny First Division Museum.