Loop Chicago


Stats: Why we ACTIVATE

Earlier today, we announced some impressive statistics about our ACTIVATE event series; namely, that the program generated an estimated $393,120 in economic impact to Loop businesses to date. More than 14,000 people attended seven ACTIVATE events from September 2013 to October 2014, each of which transformed an iconic downtown alley into a pop-up urban celebration with art, music and interactive experiences.

On the creative front, the program engaged 143 Chicago artists for the series, with seven legacy murals remaining in Loop alleys. We are particularly proud of these figures.

As a result of this success, we're expanding ACTIVATE in 2015 with additional spaces and programming. We're excited to announce more details in the new year, but in the meantime, we wanted to share these numbers with you.


Heatmap showing where ACTIVATE attendees live. (click to enlarge)


  • 14,400 people attended seven ACTIVATE events.
  • The program engaged 143 artists. Seven legacy murals remain in the alleys.
  • 50% of attendees are ages 25 - 34 years old.
  • 36% of attendees visit the Loop infrequently (defined in the survey as once or twice per week or less).
  • 52% of attendees work in the Loop.
  • Attendees live in dozens of Chicago neighborhoods (see map above).

Chart showing the types of activities attendees enjoyed before or after the event.

Spending habits

  • The estimated economic impact of ACTIVATE is $393,120.
  • 78% of attendees patronized Loop businesses before, during or after ACTIVATE events, with the majority visiting Loop restaurants and bars.
  • The average amount of money spent by each person was $35 at these establishments.
  • 50% of attendees surveyed indicated they are more likely to spend money in the Loop as a result of ACTIVATE.


  • 93% of those surveyed are satisfied with ACTIVATE.
  • 79% of those surveyed indicated ACTIVATE positively affected their feelings about the Loop.
  • 97% of those surveyed are likely to attend a future ACTIVATE event.

Benefit to the local economy

“These findings indicate our placemaking efforts have tangible economic impact, and they are positively affecting the way people look at the Loop,” says CLA President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We’re excited about the results of our work this year. Placemaking and place management are key priorities for Chicago Loop Alliance, and we look forward to continuing to develop underutilized public space downtown. Vibrant spaces attract people and investment.”

Loop businesses such as the Palmer House Hilton and Vapiano are in support of the positive impact ACTIVATE events have on the downtown district.

“This is exactly the kind of initiative the area needs,” says Palmer House Hilton General Manager Dean Lane. “The ACTIVATE event series is resulting in a significant impact to the Loop by exposing a new, important demographic to it, as well as showing those already in the area its vibrancy. This exposure is absolutely essential to the growth of downtown Chicago.”

"Vapiano was thrilled with the response we got from our involvement in ACTIVATE,” says Vapiano Chicago Loop General Manager Guy DeFazio. “During the event, particularly when it was held in the Sullivan Center behind our restaurant, we saw a tremendous bump in foot traffic, both from new guests and from returning guests who'd come here for lunch but didn't know we were open for dinner and late-night. Capturing the after-work crowd has been one of our biggest challenges, but ACTIVATE gave us exposure to that exact audience. Overall we've seen an increase in guests coming in for happy hours, dinner and post-theater, and we feel that ACTIVATE had a lot to do with that.”

(Header Photo: James John Jetel for Chicago Loop Alliance | jjjetel.com)

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