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InstaGreet Me: Tourism service aids Lakeview, Lincoln Park

By Clarissa Fidler
On April 21, 2012

Chicago Greeter is opening a new neighborhood InstaGreeter location this summer at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. Visitors will have the opportunity to take free, one-hour tours with local volunteers in the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods of Lakeview, Boystown and Wrigleyville starting May 26.

"Chicago Greeter uses volunteers to highlight Chicago for guests. It's like having a friend or family member showing you around," said Katie Law, manager of greeter and volunteer services for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

The Center on Halsted said they are excited to be partnering with Chicago Greeter. "Our goal is to serve as a good resource and a good neighbor in the community. Having this service is a huge opportunity for us," said Sitraka, the center's community outreach manager.

Center on Halsted is located in the heart of Boystown, the first officially recognized gay neighborhood in the United States. It is the largest community center in the Midwest dedicated to building and strengthening the LGBT community. Every day more than 1,000 community members visit the center to utilize its many services ranging from recreational sports to group therapy.

"All of our Neighborhood InstaGreeter Services are located in a cultural or community facility that is an important part of their neighborhoods," said Law. "Not only is it a resource for the LGBT community but also for the neighborhood and its residents."

Ben Kelner shares his enthusiasm and knowledge about the Windy City as a Chicago Greeter volunteer. "I find it rewarding that I am able to show visitors to Chicago the city through my eyes. I get to be their friend showing them around and not a guide reading off a script," said Kelner.

"I'm excited about the new InstaGreeter service in Lakeview/Boystown/Wrigleyville because it gives the service an opportunity to enrich the experience for the numerous visitors to those neighborhoods during the summer months," he said.

InstaGreeter tours will be offered every other Saturday throughout the summer and into early fall, beginning May 26 and ending Oct. 6. Guests decide with their greeter what area they would like to explore. Tours are unscripted, allowing for easy conversation and a relaxed atmosphere. Groups are generally comprised of six or fewer people.

The Chicago Greeter program is a free service offered by the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. To find out more visit chicagogreeter.com.


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