Skokie lies just inland from lakeside Evanston and is a scant 20-minute drive from downtown Chicago (during non-rush hour traffic, of course). Over the past few years, a number of new Skokie event venues have opened in downtown, with more on the way. Meanwhile, a broad-reaching project of infrastructure and cosmetic improvements give the entire downtown a more welcoming, vibrant contemporary style.
For air access, Skokie is closer to Midway International Airport as the crow flies, but the fastest connection is actually O'Hare International Airport. Travel time can be as little as 25 to 30 minutes. On the ground, Skokie has a CTA connection to downtown Chicago. Although the city doesn’t have a Metra regional rail system station, the Glenview Metra station is close to the Skokie hotels.
Not far from downtown is an attraction/hotel complex that makes Skokie popular with meeting delegates. The dynamic North Shore Center for the Performing Arts is connected to the 369-room DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago-North Shore Conference Center, which is across the street from the Westfield Old Orchard, a large outdoor shopping center and a major area visitor attraction. The DoubleTree hotel partners with neighbor North Shore Center for the Performing Arts for both meetings and special events, as the performance schedule permits. The performing arts center complex includes its 867-seat main stage theater; a 318-seat theater that can convert into a 7,400-square-foot ballroom able to host a reception of 550 people; a 6,000-square-foot atrium-style lobby, a rehearsal hall, and two small function rooms.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago-North Shore Conference Center features 22,000 square feet of function space, which includes a rooftop ballroom with views of the Chicago skyline that can seat 450 participants for a meeting. Other meeting venues in Skokie include the hotel with the largest meeting space on the North Shore, the 245-room Holiday Inn North Shore, which has a ballroom that can accommodate 1,000 people theater-style.
Another unique Skokie venue for special events is the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, which features exhibitions with broad themes of promoting human rights. It is possible to arrange an after-hours private tour followed by a reception, host a speaker in the museum auditorium, or stage an all-day conference in Museum Hall, with breakout sessions in the six adjacent classrooms.
Skokie restaurants emphasize well-known national favorites like California Pizza Kitchen and McCormick & Schmick's seafood and steaks, but also some regional favorites, such as Jameson’s Charhouse, popular for its daily comfort food specials, with entrees such as parmesan crusted chopped steak and double-stuffed pork chops. Two other downtown venues, Alexander’s Breakfast & Lunch and Sushi Cafe Hanah, offer casual dining options.