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Mr.Marc

Need Advice on Chicago Trip

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I plan to visit Chicago for the first time during the Taste of Chicago. However, I am unsure as to whether I should rent a car or not. I heard and realize that the immediate area and probably all of DT will be very crowded. I looked online and saw that there are hotels near O'Hare Airport that have train stations within walking distance. My question to Chicagoans and all who know the Chicagoland area is: Does it make more sense to just stay at a hotel near the airport and just take the train to go to DT? Some things that I have on my Chicago to do list are: Taste of Chicago, Millenium Park, Sears Tower, John Hancock building, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile and maybe one of the river/architectual tours. Now with that long list of things I want to do, does skipping the rental car and using mass transit make more sense? As I said, if I opt to take mass transit my hotel will need to be near O'Hare airport and the train stations would also need to be close by. Any advice?

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Being a former downtown Chicago resident and a fairly frequent visitor I advise you to stay away from getting a rental car. Also, O'Hare is an extremely busy airport and I'd advise against staying at one of the cheap hotels there. If you can afford it then stay downtown. Sometimes you can find a good deal on a smaller room at the Red Roof (off of Ohio I think?) or one of the hotels facing Grant Park on the northern part of Michigan Avenue.

When I lived in Chicago I didn't have a car, I took mass transit everywhere. The Chicago transit system is extremely well put together IMO and will get you where you need to go without hassle and without guessing if you're on the right bus or train IMO. I would suggest that you get a pass for the amount of days you'll be in the city ahead of time from the CTA's website: http://www3.yourcta.com/product.asp?catalo...product%5Fid=vp

Trains to downtown run from both airports (Midway and O'Hare). The trip from O'Hare takes around 45 minutes (blue line) and the Midway one (orange line) takes around 30. Once you get downtown it sounds like you'll just need to take the red line subway which runs under State Street or just take the buses that go up and down Michigan Avenue.

A car just really isn't necessary in Chicago unless you want to go far out of the city and even then they have an extensive train system that can get you to where you need to go without a car.

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Thanks Neo. The reason I wanted to stay at a hotel near the airport is b/c most of the hotels I looked at near the airport have free concierge serivice. Also, I didn't want to pay high fees for a cab to take me from the airport to a hotel DT.

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Also, does the CTA pass work for all bus and train lines? I know they have different lines (and this may seem like a dumb question) and label them by color (red, blue, etc.).

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Also, does the CTA pass work for all bus and train lines? I know they have different lines (and this may seem like a dumb question) and label them by color (red, blue, etc.).

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I plan to visit Chicago for the first time during the Taste of Chicago. However, I am unsure as to whether I should rent a car or not. I heard and realize that the immediate area and probably all of DT will be very crowded. I looked online and saw that there are hotels near O'Hare Airport that have train stations within walking distance. My question to Chicagoans and all who know the Chicagoland area is: Does it make more sense to just stay at a hotel near the airport and just take the train to go to DT? Some things that I have on my Chicago to do list are: Taste of Chicago, Millenium Park, Sears Tower, John Hancock building, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile and maybe one of the river/architectual tours. Now with that long list of things I want to do, does skipping the rental car and using mass transit make more sense? As I said, if I opt to take mass transit my hotel will need to be near O'Hare airport and the train stations would also need to be close by. Any advice?

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If you are not able to get a hotel in the city, always consider north Chicago. Evanston is about an hour El ride or a 20 minute METRA ride. I stayed with a friend when I visted in June and was very impressed with the METRA system.

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Hamm:

I would suggest NOT getting a rental car. Driving and especially parking is very difficult in all the areas you expressed interest in seeing. Plan on $25-$40/day for parking, without in/out priviledges. Take the blue line in from OHare, stay downtown (try orbitz or travelocity), walk around carefree and have a blast.

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Thanks everyone. I still have an unanswered question though. As a guy who has never rode a train/subway of any sorts I still wonder how weird it would look for a visitor to lug around his suitcases on a train from the airport an to a hotel DT. Maybe it's just me and my naiiveness but I am still thinking that it's weird to ride a subway with luggage.

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Thanks everyone. I still have an unanswered question though. As a guy who has never rode a train/subway of any sorts I still wonder how weird it would look for a visitor to lug around his suitcases on a train from the airport an to a hotel DT. Maybe it's just me and my naiiveness but I am still thinking that it's weird to ride a subway with luggage.

The blue line subway terminates at O'Hare so quite frankly anyone getting off or on at this end point will have luggage. It is EXTREMELY common to see luggage on the subway system in Chicago (primarily blue and orange lines though I've seen it quite a lot on the red line since it transfers to the blue line via a tunnel). I guarantee you won't be the only one with luggage.

As a side note, I went shopping all the time via the subway and would come back with my arms completely full of grocery bags. I wasn't the only one and once I figured that fact out I didn't feel as stupid as I originally had. The only time I felt really stupid is after I had first moved to the city and took a trip to K-Mart via the subway and bought a vacuum cleaner. Imagine carrying a big box with a vacuum inside down the street, down the stairs, through the gates and onto the subway. :P

You and your lugggage will be fine. Go and have fun and don't worry about how carrying luggage on the subway will look, it is extremely common and no one is going to give you weird looks about it (unless you just have way more than you can carry). One more thing, if you have a ton of luggage and carrying it on the subway isn't possible then just get a cab ride, I've gotten rides for a $20 flat fee from O'Hare to downtown, just negotiate a flat price with the driver before getting in.

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Thanks Neo. I think I found a deal on a red roof inn DT which states that it is one block away from Magnificent Mile. It didn't say anything about being close to rail but I'm pretty sure it is. Most reviews on it claim that the rooms are too small but I'm not going to Chicago just to sit up in a hotel. I did find a service called GO Airport Express which would be a second option if I choose not to do the train into DT.

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Thanks Neo. I think I found a deal on a red roof inn DT which states that it is one block away from Magnificent Mile. It didn't say anything about being close to rail but I'm pretty sure it is. Most reviews on it claim that the rooms are too small but I'm not going to Chicago just to sit up in a hotel. I did find a service called GO Airport Express which would be a second option if I choose not to do the train into DT.

I've stayed at this hotel before and I assure you it will be just fine unless you're planning on lounging around in the hotel room all day long. I just stay at a hotel to have somewhere to sleep and there is plenty of room for that. That particular hotel is close to the Red Line (Grand Sation) if it is the same one (I know of no other Red Roof Inn downtown that close to Michigan Avenue).

Here is a map of the area you'll be in denoting the Red Roof Inn location and the closest subway station (Grand/State):

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=l&hl=en&...p;z=16&om=0

You may also do better by taking one of the many buses that run up and down Michigan Avenue for the events you want to attend. The Red Line subway runs under State Street FYI. So when coming in from the airport you'll take the Blue Line and get off at Jackson to transfer via the underground tunnel to the Red Line and go North (Howard) and get off at Grand. You could ordinarily transfer at Washington but it is undergoing renovation on the Red Line side so don't get off there. :P

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Hamm:

That hotel is in a great location to experience Chicago. You will be close to all of the things you wanted to see. Have a blast!

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One of the great things about riding the Blue Line to the airport is a little trick I found out about from a family member who works in the travel industry, if you just have carry ons. When you get off the train at O'Hare and enter the airport, head to the left to check in for your flight. Don't go to the main terminal/check in area. They have automated check in kiosks there, and then the security checkpoint has virtually no line (because most people drive to the airport). It's also where a lot of O'Hare employees go in, but you don't have to be an employee to check in there. It's awesome! :thumbsup:

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I recommend the Inn At Lincoln Park. I stayed there for just over a $100 dollars last February, and it's in a very nice neighborhood north of downtown, and close to one of the lines (I think brown?).

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Since we're on the topic: does anyone know anything about the Essex Inn - 800 S. Michigan? The reviews seem to be fine, the location great, and the price is moderate in comparison. We don't need a lot of service or swank, but we do need clean and good location.

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Since we're on the topic: does anyone know anything about the Essex Inn - 800 S. Michigan? The reviews seem to be fine, the location great, and the price is moderate in comparison. We don't need a lot of service or swank, but we do need clean and good location.

I have stayed there couple of times in the past and would have no problem recommending a stay there to anyone. I don't care to pay a premium price for a hotel, especially not in a city as great as Chicago where I'll spend most of my time walking around the city. It is a decent establishment in a safe location IMO and they have excellent rates.

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Just an update; I found a great deal at the Hyatt on Wacker (near Mag. Mile), so I'll be staying there. From what I saw on the map, this location is pretty great for all the things I want to see and do. Only thing is, it looks like I'll have to walk about 7 blocks from the nearest blue line stop (or take a taxi).

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Just an update; I found a great deal at the Hyatt on Wacker (near Mag. Mile), so I'll be staying there. From what I saw on the map, this location is pretty great for all the things I want to see and do. Only thing is, it looks like I'll have to walk about 7 blocks from the nearest blue line stop (or take a taxi).

That will be a much better location than staying around the airport. It will be a small hike to get to your hotel and because of that I would just suggest taking a cab from the Washington/Dearborn Blue Line station to the hotel. It won't cost much of anything and will save you the headache of lugging all of that luggage several blocks. You'll only need to take the taxi twice though, once to the hotel from the station and then when you leave to go back to that station to head to the airport. For the remainder of your visit you'll be close to all kinds of transportation options in that location that is easily walked without luggage (and enjoyable I might add). Have fun!

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That will be a much better location than staying around the airport. It will be a small hike to get to your hotel and because of that I would just suggest taking a cab from the Washington/Dearborn Blue Line station to the hotel. It won't cost much of anything and will save you the headache of lugging all of that luggage several blocks. You'll only need to take the taxi twice though, once to the hotel from the station and then when you leave to go back to that station to head to the airport. For the remainder of your visit you'll be close to all kinds of transportation options in that location that is easily walked without luggage (and enjoyable I might add). Have fun!

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Thanks. Do taxis frequently stop or line up at rail stations?

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Sorry for the late reply but I'd love to walk. I'm only carrying a small duffle bag and a rolling suitcase.

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I have a question. I'll be visiting the city here in a few weeks, I'm driving up, but plan to leave my car once i get there. I'm staying at the Westin on Michigan Ave. However, the hotel parking is $46 per day! So, where can i find free or cheap parking that i can leave my car for a saturday-tuesday.

I know there is some free street parking, but is most of that time restricted?

help!

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I have a question. I'll be visiting the city here in a few weeks, I'm driving up, but plan to leave my car once i get there. I'm staying at the Westin on Michigan Ave. However, the hotel parking is $46 per day! So, where can i find free or cheap parking that i can leave my car for a saturday-tuesday.

I know there is some free street parking, but is most of that time restricted?

help!

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thanks alot. that give's me quite a few options. how risky is "risky" to park 4 nights in the Kingsbury area. If i don't leave anything out in view, or in my car period, is it still likely to be broken into? would that are be any more risky than leaving it at a park&ride for 4 nights?

edit; thinking i don't really want to take that risk, do you have any favorite garages/secured parking near the Westin that is near or below $20 day? is that even possible? my hotel is asking $46 per/day(no way im paying that!), but i could do $20 or so, if it's worth it(secured).

also, if i did take commuter rails in from Univ. park, what would the fare be?

THANKS!

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