From everything I have heard, all the Gatherings have been in very rural area’s thus far. I can see benefits to this, but I could also see a benefit to having some Gatherings in more urban areas. Not only is there a wealth of culture to experience, but it provides opportunities to interact with the world that being in a secluded area do not.
This will be the biggest issue with an urban setting, since there are really no big cabins to go hang out in. However, doing some preliminary searching, there are options. There are hostels of course, which may mean sharing rooms with a larger number of people, but the rooms are significantly cheaper, and there are often options for private rooms if anyone needed, that they could pay the extra. You could also go the hotel block option, find a hotel in the area, set up a block of 15-20 rooms and allow people to book their own rooms (again, the more people in the room, the cheaper it is, or people are free to have a more private room if they want to pay the extra). The drawbacks would be meals (which some provide breakfast but not other meals) and common areas. There were some options of hotels with suites or an apartment-type setting that have living rooms that could be used as common areas, it would just be a matter of access. There are also lobby’s of course, most hotel lobby’s having a common area where you can hang out (And I have done some 24-hour lobby chatting before). Without ACTUALLY trying to plan something with dates and calling for group rates, it is impossible to get a full grasp of prices, but it IS possible.
As I said, more difficult due to location, but still doable. I have heard the reason meals are included with venue now is because there were issues with who cooks/cleans before, but I think if this was set up in advance, it could work; and some of the options do include rooms with kitchens. Also, this would give options to try local cuisines in various locations, like a night of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, or an afternoon outing to a local Hot Dog stand for Chicago Dogs….or healthier things…why is Chicago so unhealthy?
SO many things to do in Chicago, it is more an issue of picking just a few.
Chicago is full of wonderful museums, you could have a museum day, or do one a day, or just pick one. Some of them are free, some of them have free days, or if a paid one is chosen, people can choose whether or not to go (since all activities should be voluntary anyhow). A few of the big ones:
- Adler Planetarium
- Art Institute Chicago
- Botanic Garden (free)
- Field Museum
- Lincoln Park Zoo (free)
- Museum of Science and Industry
There are some things you just have to do/see when you visit certain cities. Some of these are just stop and look type things, like the Bean; others are full day events. Some of the big Chicago attractions:
- Navy Pier
- Millennium Park
- Willis Tower
- Magnificent Mile
- John Hancock
- China Town
- Buckingham Fountain
Perhaps for the more culturally minded, a night at the theater? It would definitely up the price, but again, optional.
- Civic Opera
- An afternoon at the beach for swimming/meditating/morning yoga/evening Tai Chi….
- Many Fitness Studios will offer a free class, even for large groups. The group I am a member of is always scheduling events with studios.
- A run along the lake.
- And dozens of other activities could be available depending on when it were scheduled. Workout in the park events…Shakespeare in the park (which I really need to go see this year)…Taste of Chicago…ecc.