Dear Members,

This week, I had the pleasure of experiencing my first Hospitality Hires Chicago (HHC) event at the Palmer House Hilton. The Magnificent Mile Association coordinated employer recruitment efforts with several other downtown partners, including Choose Chicago, the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, Illinois Restaurant Association, the Near South Planning Board, and the Chicago Loop Alliance, to connect high-demand industries with pre-screened job seekers. Our work paid off: more than one third of the employers at this retail-focused event were Association member businesses. Hats off to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership on a successful event.

By participating in workforce development events like HHC, we support Chicago’s hospitality and tourism industries, which are essential in driving economic growth for Chicago, Cook County, the State of Illinois and the Midwest region. A trained and prepared workforce helps our businesses provide outstanding experiences to millions of visitors and residents every year who come to The Magnificent Mile district to experience the best Chicago has to offer.

Speaking of residents and visitors, we welcomed hundreds of people to the Water Tower 150 celebration earlier this month to honor the sesquicentennial of the historic Water Tower – a beacon of resilience for the City of Chicago. The Association partnered with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Department of Water Management, Lookingglass Theatre, the newly-founded Water Tower Arts District and more for a day of free activities and pop-up performances. The special Water Tower cheesecake made by Eli’s Cheesecake was a big hit, too!

We were delighted to welcome Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her family, who added their fingerprints in bright, colorful paint to our mini-Water Tower replica. The five-foot statue now represents a mosaic of communities in Chicago and beyond, and we will proudly display it in the months to come.

We’ll be expanding our work in the public realm with more activation activities and art projects like the Water Tower 150. Looking forward to 2020, The Magnificent Mile Association will lead the centennial celebration of the DuSable Bridge. Formerly the Michigan Avenue Bridge, this vital structure was the impetus for our Association and the foundation of The Magnificent Mile. Today, it bridges our district to communities far beyond the Mile and bridges our illustrious past to our promising future.


Kimberly Bares

President & CEO, The Magnificent Mile Association