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Immerse In The Arts of Chicago With Immersion Weekends

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.- In 2005, the city of Chicago will continue its successful Immersion Weekend program, offering visitors more ways to celebrate the arts of Chicago. Each Immersion Weekend package consists of a pre-planned itinerary, which includes a two-night stay in a first-class downtown hotel, tickets to some of the hottest events in Chicago and transportation to venues beyond walking distance from the hotel.

Visitors are invited to join an intimate group and spend a weekend in Chicago getting to know the city’s celebrated arts offerings (in-depth and behind the scenes) during exclusive receptions, private lectures, backstage tours and phenomenal performances.

The first three Immersion Weekends of the year are tailor-made for those with a passion for the blues, a love of jazz or an obsession with opera.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer these very popular Immersion Weekend packages again. Guests will experience some of the very best cultural entertainment Chicago has to offer, from blues and jazz concerts to a backstage tour of the Lyric Opera of Chicago,” said Dorothy Coyle, Director of the Chicago Office of Tourism. "With plenty of free time for shopping, dining or just relaxing, guests can easily create an exciting weekend getaway this winter in Chicago.”

Visitors will experience the Paint the Town Blues Immersion Weekend, Friday, January 14 through Sunday, January 16, 2005 with accommodations at The House of Blues Hotel. This is where the weekend begins on Friday evening with a private reception, followed by a guided excursion to some of Chicago’s most intimate and famous clubs for live blues.

Saturday, guests will tour the House of Blues, learn to play the harmonica while visiting Willie Dixon’s Blue Heaven Foundation and enjoy VIP seating for the live performance of A Pair of Queens, featuring legendary performers Mavis Staples and Koko Taylor. The single occupancy cost for the Paint the Town Blues Immersion Weekend is $390 and $535 for double occupancy.

The Play It Cool Immersion Weekend, Friday, January 21 through Sunday, January 23, 2005, includes a two-night stay at The Drake Hotel. Friday evening starts with a private reception at the Chicago Cultural Center during Winter Delights Jazz Fair, where guests will have prime seats for the Ben Allison Quintet and plenty of time to enjoy all the talent showcased throughout the evening. The Fair will bring together under one roof the many diverse elements of the community for one grand evening with live performances, artisans, booksellers, record labels, radio personalities and more.

On Saturday, the weekend continues with a visit to the DuSable Museum of African American History for Jamming With the Man: Allen Stringfellow, a Retrospective exhibition of jazz-related images and more. In the evening, VIP seating awaits the group for Triple Threat, a concert celebrating the release of new CDs from Grazyna Auguscik, Zach Brock and John McLean on the stage of the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s new 24.5-acre Millennium Park. The single occupancy cost for the Play It Cool Immersion Weekend is $365 and $485 for double occupancy.

The Embrace Opera Immersion Weekend celebrates opera over Valentine’s Day Weekend, Friday, February 11 through Sunday, February 13, 2005. Participants check into The Whitehall Hotel on Friday. The weekend commences later that evening with a private reception at the art nouveau-style Maxim’s and tickets to the sumptuous three-course Opera’s Romantic Hits dinner, featuring four of Chicago’s most talented young artists serenading you with some of Opera’s most romantic songs.

Saturday afternoon, guests explore the Lyric Opera of Chicago with an exclusive and rare backstage tour, where they will discover what it takes to produce great opera. Later in the evening, they are treated to top price, main floor tickets to Puccini’s thrilling opera, Tosca, featuring Samuel Ramey as Scarpia and Fiorenza Cedolins, known as Europe’s “Diamond Soprano” for the clarity of her voice, debuting as Tosca at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The single occupancy cost for the Embrace Opera Immersion Weekend is $495 and $785 for double occupancy.

Travelers will be able to reserve these Immersion Weekends beginning the end of November 2004 by calling toll free 1.877.CHICAGO (1.877.244.2246) or visiting

Paint the Town Blues, Play It Cool and Embrace Opera Immersion Weekends are a part of Chicago Winter Delights, the citywide initiative that begins with holiday fun and special hotel rates starting at $79 per night from November 13 through December 31, 2004. During the eight themed Chicago Winter Delights weekends (January 6 through February 27, 2005), more than 50 downtown hotels will offer special values with rates starting at $69 per night. Additional special incentives and offers will be available such as hotel room upgrades, special hotel packages, and price fixed meals more than 45 restaurants throughout the city. Beginning late November, travelers can book hotel rooms and receive detailed information about all of the Chicago Winter Delights weekend celebrations, including the Immersion Weekends, by calling toll free, 1.877.CHICAGO (1.877.244.2246) or visiting For those calling from outside the United States, Mexico and Canada, please call 1.312.201.8847. The TTY toll-free number for the hearing impaired is 1.866.710.0294. Chicago tourism information is also available on the Internet at

Visitors to Chicago and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive additional information, including brochures and maps on Chicago’s exciting events and attractions by stopping at one of the Visitor Information Centers. The centers are located at Chicago Water Works, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street.

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