Welcome to the FAQ for Chicago Convergence 20: First & Last & Always!
Everyone of us is committed to providing the best C20 that could possibly be. Our dedication to & experience with Convergence and this particular special anniversary is across the board & our willingness to go above & beyond is unquestionable. We are available to answer any questions and to clarify anything, if necessary. Please peruse our site & use this FAQ at your whim. Our co-chairs may be contacted directly via email (or Facebook as well.)
All C20 Chicago queries: C20Chicago@gmail.com
William Faith - https://www.facebook.com/williamfaith13
Events:• Why did we want to bring Convergence to Chicago for a third time?
Congress Plaza Hotel / Bottom Lounge:• Why did you choose The Congress Plaza Hotel as the official hotel?
Sustenance & Spirits:• Is there a wide variety of restaurants within walking distance of the Congress Plaza Hotel?
Travel/Transportation To & Within Chicago:• What are good ways to get to Chicago?
Miscellanea• Is there an official online forum to discuss all things C20 Chicago?
Why did we want to bring Convergence to Chicago for a third time?
Chicago is a world class city with a wonderful & wide assortment of attractions for the goth-minded. Our core committee consists entirely of people with many facets of prior Convergence experience, from chairpersons to artists to DJs to event coordinators to performers to patrons and more. We all agree that the focus of a C20 Chicago should be on organizing & delivering a gathering where friends from far & near will be able to spend time together, enjoying events based in our community. Our experience with C1 and C10 here absolutely do add to our ability to throw an amazing C20. A lot has changed in Chicago over the past 10 (and 20) years and we've stayed apprised of this growth and never once strayed from the goth populace. Chicago's Convergence 20 committee has been planning this event since C10 & announced our intention to put in a bid on stage in Austin, Texas during C19.
It is our sincere hope that our city may continue the fine once-a-decade tradition of being your hosts for a weekend you'll never forget!
What constitutes an official event?
All official C20 events will be listed in the printed program and on the finalized Chicago C20 website and will be included in the cost for all C20 badge holders.
What are the official daytime events?
Registration, Meet and Greet, Vendor's Market, Art Show, Picnic, Panels, Elder Goth Cocktail Hour, AGF Shopping Trip, Artists Reception, Movie/Video Screenings, and most likely more. :)
What are the unofficial events?
Massive group photo at Buckingham Fountain & Millennium Park, clothing swap, city tours, brewery tours, cemetery walks, after C20 hours clubbing, pre-C20 Thursday night clubbing, post-C20 Monday breakfast, local bottle share event, and most likely more. :)
What are the official nighttime events?
A full weekend of: Bands, DJs, Dancing, Fashion Show, Late Night Chicago Style Pizza Party in the Hotel's 24 hour Hospitality Suite.
What are the age restrictions for all official events?
All the official daytime events are open to all ages. All the official nighttime events are open to 17+ (with the only exception being the upstairs of Bottom Lounge being licensed for 21+ only; though we have a special dispensation to allow 17+ upstairs in the Volcano Room & rooftop deck on Sunday only; the main room downstairs where the bands, fashion show & most of the dancing will take place is 17+.)
What do I get along with the cost of the C20 badge?
Included in the cost of the C20 badge is admission to all the official events; the laminate itself; a comprehensive printed program for the event; goody bag full of coupons/fliers/stickers/CDs/treats; a commemorative C20 button & 20 Goth Points. ;) Official Chicago C20 t-shirts will be available to order in advance for a very reasonable price, as well.
• Is there a FB discussion group for all things related to C20?
Yes! Official C20 Chicago FB discussion group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/583414341710670/
Congress Plaza Hotel / Bottom Lounge:
Why did you choose The Congress Plaza Hotel as the official hotel?
The distinguished Congress Plaza Hotel, which also had the honor of being the official hotel for C10, is a wonderful historic grand hotel, built for the World's Columbian Exhibition in 1893. They treated us like royalty last time & are looking forward to our return - and in case you wondered, their unfortunate & long strike is now officially over! The guest rooms of the Hotel are truly spacious by today’s standards. The hotel is centrally located in downtown Chicago within walking distance from many attractions & very near & easily accessible to all our planned official events.
The rooms we will be using for the Art Show and Vendor's Market are beautiful & we will have an official Hospitality Room open for C20 guests of the Hotel round the clock with coffee & tea service.
Does the Hotel allow smoking?
There are smoking rooms available if requested upon booking. Smoking is not allowed in any of the common areas of the Hotel, in compliance with city ordinance.
Does the Hotel have wifi?
Each room is wifi ready which is free to all rooms registered under the Convergence 20 rate code.
Is there an ATM in the Hotel?
Yes! There is an ATM in the Hotel. As the Hotel is located in a very central area, there are also at least three banks within a two block radius and at least eight other ATMs within a three block radius.
Is there a 24 hour hospitality suite for C20 guests of the Congress Plaza Hotel?
Yes! The late night pizza party & doubtless other mischief will take place within its walls!
How do I get to the Hotel from Chicago's airports, Union Station, Greyhound depot & Megabus station?
O'Hare Airport: Take the Blue Line (which has a stop located in O'Hare airport) to Jackson, walk to Jackson and Dearborn to catch the #7 Harrison or #126 Jackson bus towards Michigan Ave. The last stop will let you off across the street from the hotel. The Jackson Blue Line stop is only 0.5 miles from the hotel, if folks want to walk it instead of taking that last bus, too. The cost from the airport is $5. The cost to the airport is $2.25.
Midway Airport: Take Orange Line (located in the airport) to the Harold Washington Library stop. Walk eastbound (toward the Lake) on Van Buren to Michigan Ave. Turn right. Congress Plaza Hotel is on your right.
Union Station / Megabus: Take the #7 Harrison or #126 Jackson bus on Jackson at Riverside facing east. Take the bus to the last stop which is directly across the street from the Hotel.
Greyhound Bus Depot:
(Early weekdays:) On Harrison at Jefferson, catch the #7 Harrison bus towards Michigan Ave. Take bus to the end of the line, directly across the street from Hotel.
(Late week nights or weekend:) Walk to the Clinton Blue Line subway station, one block eastbound, 1 1/2 block northbound. Take it towards O'Hare but get off at the Jackson station. Walk to Jackson and Dearborn (eastbound) and catch the #126 Jackson bus towards Michigan Ave. and take it to the last stop, right across the street from the Hotel.
Track CTA Buses in Real Time:
Track CTA Trains in Real Time:
Our travel coordinator JV (aka The Evil Chemist/ Stevil Chemsit) will be putting up first-person view instructional videos on how to use the CTA fare systems! Here's a tip for inserting the fare cards/passes into the card reader, too: The card has a cut corner so that visually impaired people can determine how to insert the card. If you're able to hold the card on one corner and touch the notched corner with your index finger and it will always be inserted properly! :)
How far is the Congress Plaza Hotel from Bottom Lounge?
2.75 miles- nearly a straight shot east/west.
What are the transportation options between the Congress Plaza Hotel & Bottom Lounge?
Due to popular demand, we're pretty sure we're going to bring back the big yellow school bus FUN SHUTTLE (a hit at C10) which will be a very small extra fee for badge holders (most likely $2. per person again.) Also, taxicabs abound, there is Lyft car service (detailed in our proposal), bicycling (Chicago has the public bike share program Divvy), and it's not a long walk at all!
Hail A Cab *anywhere*: https://hailocab.com/chicago (or just wave one down on the street!)
Divvy bike locator: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mattkula.chicagobikelocator
How far is the Congress Plaza Hotel from most (if not all) of the planned daytime events?
Within two miles, plus there are an abundance of tourist attractions within that area, as well.
Why did you choose the Bottom Lounge as the venue for the evening events?
Bottom Lounge is one of the city's best music spaces and host to many goth & goth friendly events & concerts. They like us! The venue is arranged in a great way for Convergence, with three rooms each providing their own distinct character and function. The main room for bands & DJs/dancing boasts prime sound & lighting, a corner bar, the cleanest & most well-lit restrooms of virtually any concert venue and is open to 17+. The club upstairs, The Volcano Room, is 21+ only. It features another great dance floor, large bar & an amazing roof top deck (which allows smoking) with simply awesome views of the downtown skyline. The front room downstairs is open to 17+ and has a large full bar and restaurant (fuel for dancing!) which is open during the duration of the night. All three rooms (plus the rooftop deck) will be utilized for Convergence 20. Being only 2.75 miles from the Congress Hotel makes the location especially convenient, as well.
Is there parking for Bottom Lounge?
There is an adjacent free parking lot as well as ample free & legal street parking all around the venue.
Is smoking allowed at Bottom Lounge?
Smoking is banned in all bars, restaurants & clubs in Chicago, however the rooftop deck of Bottom Lounge is outdoors & thus may allow smoking. Patrons are also allowed to go outside to smoke & return without a hassle.
Are there pinball machines in Bottom Lounge?
Yes! At least four upstairs in the Volcano Room.
Sustenance & Spirits:
Is there a wide variety of restaurants within walking distance of the Congress Plaza Hotel?
An unbelievable amount! There are at least fifty(!) restaurants within a five minute walk of the Hotel, ranging from fine dining to casual to fast food and many cuisines.
Will you provide a list of restaurants within reasonable distances from the Hotel, Bottom Lounge, & around the city, including those which cater to specific dietary requirements such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, etc. & will the list designate the price range of the restaurants?
Yes! :) We did it for C10 and will have a comprehensive & current list for you again.
Are there restaurants in the Congress Plaza Hotel?
Yes! There are two, the Gazebo (casual American cuisine) and the Rafael Steak House, as well as room service, of course. More info: http://www.congressplazahotel.com/downtown-chicago-restaurants/index.cfm
Are there restaurants which deliver, including late night, to the Hotel?
Yes! The popular & comprehensive website GrubHub.com lists 27 restaurants which deliver late night to the Hotel (and an additional 600+ with delivery earlier, too!)
Are there restaurants within walking distance of Bottom Lounge?
Yes, and even more convenient, Bottom Lounge is also a full service restaurant which will be open during our evening events! There are at least 15 restaurants within a mile radius of Bottom Lounge. http://bottomlounge.com/restaurant
Is there a lounge with bar located in the Hotel?
Yes! The Congress Lounge is open Monday _ Thursday, 4pm - midnight; Friday, 4pm - 2am; Saturday, 2pm - 3am; Sunday, noon - midnight. The menu includes an extensive wine list, import & domestic beers, full bar, & appetizers. The Lounge features super plush seating as well as 2 pool tables & darts!
Are there worthwhile liquor stores near the Hotel?
Yes! The most talked about is the magnificent Binny's. There is a location *less* than one mile from the Congress Hotel, complete with the most amazing selection of booze from around the world, gourmet grocery & cheese shop, walk in humidor, wine cellar & tasting room! It's the "Chicago - South Loop" location.
Liquor sales at grocery & convenience stores are from 7am - 2am (3am on Saturdays.) The Sunday restriction is *only* from 6am - 11am (but who's up at that time on a Sunday, anyway?) There are at least five other liquor stores within a mile radius of the Hotel.
How well is the bar stocked at Bottom Lounge?
It's off the hook! At last count, they carried at least 95 beers (!) as well as a lovely selection of red, white & sparkling wines. One of the owners is a well-known whiskey connoisseur so the bar also has a very impressive inventory of this spirit.
Travel/Transportation To & Within Chicago:
What are good ways to get to Chicago?
Chicago is located centrally in the US and is home to two international airports, O'Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW.) Our city is a prime transportation hub for Amtrak rail as well. Naturally, major interstate highways go directly to Chicago and Greyhound and Megabus also have terminals and service here.
We have citywide and extremely affordable public transportation (CTA- Chicago Transit Authority.) Buses, subways, the "el" (elevated train); abundant taxicabs; car rental; ride shares; and city sponsored bike rental are just some of the options. Chicago's streets are based on a grid system and are very navigable.
Will someone from Chicago's C20 committee be available to help be a guide or give accurate directions?
Yes! We're bringing back the Ghoulie Guides! If anyone arriving in Chicago by plane would like a local to travel with them from the airport to the hotel, these kindred spirits will meet you & make sure you have a companion who knows the way along for the ride via our public transportation system. Instructions on how to request a Ghoulie Guide will be on our site.
Are the Hotel and evening venue wheelchair accessible?
Yes! Both are entirely wheelchair accessible.
Is there a group for people in the Midwest wanting to share rides to C20?
Yes! C20 Midwest Ride Share group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1378745975727485
Is there an official online forum to discuss all things C20 Chicago?
Yes! Please join our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/583414341710670
By the way, can you explain the design of your logo?
It's based on the Chicago flag, but with a goth twist (of course.) The third star in the official Chicago flag represents the Columbian Exposition (which is the same event the Congress Plaza Hotel was built for, in 1893!) Each of the four stars represents great moments in Chicago history- we added the fifth one in the middle to commemorate another great event for Chicago- Convergence 20! (The rest of the design is a metamorphosis of a classic goth band's album.)