In June 2011, the City of Chicago created the first apps competition in the nation open to anyone in the community, but especially local app developers, by providing access to more than 125 State of Illinois data sets, 48 Cook County data sets, and access to Metro Chicago data portal and other support.
[pullquote]The idea behind the Metro Apps competition was to encourage apps developers to take some of the 125 state data sets and the 48 Cook County data sets offered by those entities, and combine data sets from multiple governmental agencies and regional planning organizations to make apps that serve the people of Chicago.
More than $60,000 in prize money from the MacArthur Foundation and Motorola Mobility, the Chicago Community Trust, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and other organizations was offered to the app developer community.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, “When I was sworn into office in December, I said that this is the time to open Cook County government to its citizens, to make county government work for its residents. This competition puts information in the hands of people who can help government operate more transparently and efficiently and make our communities a better place to live.”[/pullquote]
This December, you can check out the results of one of the winning apps, SpotHero, if you are doing some holiday shopping or celebrating, and a parking space figures into your plans. SpotHero is a parking reservation company founded by Jeremy Smith, Mark Lawrence, and Larry Kiss, to take the pain out of parking and remove the hassle for drivers finding a parking spot.
Drivers use the mobile app to find, compare and reserve spots from the web and their mobile phone. Parking lot owners offer discount rates on unused inventory, e.g. vacant parking spaces, to drivers using this app. Check out how you can find bargain rates on parking spaces downtown. Avoid those $20 for two hours of parking blues.
SpotHero prepared a top ten list of events so if you can’t take public transportation, use SpotHero to cut your parking costs and save money for Santa.
1. Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo – Beginning Nov. 29, The Lincoln Park Zoo hosts the free annual Zoo lights holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and seasonal activities. To avoid crowds, reserve Lincoln Park Zoo parking now so you don’t miss out on photos with Santa, holiday crafts or exciting animal encounters.
2. Ice Skating at Millennium Park – The rink officially opens on Nov. 12. Chicagoans can skate the night away under the stars in Millennium Park. Grab a friend, date or family member for a memorable outing. Don’t forget a hat and gloves – it’s cold out on the ice. But to keep your fingers and toes warm a bit longer, reserve Millennium Park parking ahead of time.
3. Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker – One of Chicago’s most beloved holiday traditions and arguably the best production of The Nutcracker in the country. Shows performed by the Joffrey Ballet run Dec. 6 through Dec. 28. It’s the theatrical event of the season.
4. Dinner at the Walnut Room at Macy’s On State and Window Displays – Have a memorable meal at the historic Walnut Room at Macy’s, a Chicago tradition since 1907. Choose from delectable menu selections including Mrs. Hering’s 1890 Original Chicken Pot Pie and Frango Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Pie.
5. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival – On Saturday, Nov. 23, Chicagoans will flock to the streets for the annual Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade. The city will light up the night and celebrate the start of the holiday season. More than one million spectators will line the parade route to see the twinkling lights, and while the crowds make for a magical experience on foot, they make finding parking near impossible. Don’t stress about finding a spot, reserve Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in advance.
6. A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theater – A beloved holiday tradition, Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption comes to life on stage. The perfect outing for the entire family. Shows begin on Nov. 16. When you book your ticket, reserve a spot for the show Goodman Theater parking.
7. Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza – The annual open-air event where you can find one-of-a-kind gifts for loved ones. Admission is free. Reserve Daily Center parking in advance to avoid the crowds.
8. Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier – Families can experience a real “winter wonderland” at Navy Pier’s annual Winter WonderFest event. From rides and slides to indoor ice skating, families are sure to have a magical time. New this year to the fest is the snowman bouncer and arctic plunge. Reserve a spot ahead of time since there are limited Navy Pier Parking options.
9. Michigan Avenue Shopping – Michigan Avenue is your one stop for all your shopping needs this holiday season. Parking can be highly priced due to the high demand to park near the mag mile. Shoppers don’t fear, SpotHero is here! Reserve Michigan Avenue Parking.
10. The Art Institute of Chicago – The museum embraces the holiday season with new exhibit openings, art-filled events and mistletoe. Get your art on at the museum’s annual Wreathing of the Lion’s ceremony on Nov. 29th, 2013. Reserve Art Institute of Chicago parking now.