The Chicago Riverwalk extensions between LaSalle and State streets opened earlier this month, even after torrential rains flooded the city's newest waterfront attraction. The project will eventually expand to Lake Street, at which point Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes to turn the downtown riverfront into a tourist hotbed. Earlier this year, the mayor announced that he aims to increase Chicago's annual visitor numbers to 55 million by 2020. A large part of the draw would be a brightly lit Riverwalk in the ilk of Las Vegas, Times Square or Hong Kong. Small-town tourist folks love pretty lights, right?
In January, Emanuel's office launched an international design competition to bring more pretty lightbulbs to the city, starting with the Riverwalk. If all goes as planned, the riverbanks could look something like the rendering above.
This weekend the Riverwalk will host its first major events of the summer. On Friday, a party for Downtown Worker Appreciation Day will take place, along with a Hawaiian luau pig roast at 4pm. On Saturday, the Riverwalk will play host to Family Day, featuring face painters, yoga, and the Wiggleworms from the Old Town School of Folk Music. There will also be a big roasting, you know, just for fun.
On Sunday, an urban kayak river cleanup is set to take place.