Chicaago for an overnight from the airport?

Apr 24th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Chicaago for an overnight from the airport?

OK, here's a thought I'm having. Planning for next summer's European trip, and already dreading the usual flight back to Miami from Paris, where we sit for four to five hours waiting for a horrible American Eagle flight to Ft. Myers which is cancelled or delayed as much as it runs. I see an option is to fly from Paris to Chicago where we'd arrive about 4:30 in the afternoon and then fly from Chicago to Ft. Myers the next day leaving at about 10:00 AM. And since our FF Business Class tickets will include First Class from Chicago to Ft. Myers, it all sounds so much more "civilized" than the wait and hope at Miami.

Since we never seem to get to Chicago, it would be a great opportunity to get together with a "long lost" friend for dinner. So how easy is it to take the el into the city and then back out in the morning? Any suggestions for where is a really convenient place to stay -- midtown or downtown? Any comments about the plan?
Or is heading into town and back out in the morning too much to make it all worthwhile?

Don't suggest we stay a couple of nights -- that would cost a small fortune as it would become a separate flight. They only let us stay the one night as the Paris flight arrives too late for the last flight to Ft. Myers that day.

I'm also unclear if we can go ahead and check our bags in for the flight to Ft. Myers after claiming them and clearing customs, or if we would have to keep them with us for the night.
Patrick is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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Don't you hate it when someone mispells the city name in the title?
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Apr 24th, 2005, 03:05 PM
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yes
seetheworld is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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It's do-able, Patrick, definitely. But kind of a lot of 'schlepping.' You'd be heading into town on the el probably at 530 or later....putting you in your hotel room about 630 or 7 (rough guesses). Then, you'd have to really get yourself up and out pretty early in the morning.

Maybe an alternative would be to stay at a hotel near O'Hare and have the long-lost pal come out and meet you for dinner? Lots of Chicago's 'name' restaurants have outposts in the suburbs, many in the O'Hare area.

(ANd Chicago doesn't really have any 'midtown' - your choice is basically: suburbs near O'Hare or the Loop/Michigan Avenue area.)
tuckerdc is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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Forgive my ignorance about Chicago. I was thinking of that area north of downtown where there are also a lot of theatres as a "midtown". I'm not sure what they call that area.

Actually my friend is in Evanston, so going into the city isn't all that important. If her schedule permits it (or if she is even in town at that time) she'll come to us wherever we are. Any other ideas of where to go?

And for what it's worth, this will also probably be a Saturday we arrive and fly out on Sunday morning, so I was assuming traffic to and from the airport won't be so bad?

By the way, I called American, and we will need to keep our luggage with us for the night, unless we can find lockers or someplace to check it at the airport. Not that we'll have a lot of it, but we were hoping just to have a carryon for the night.
Patrick is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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ChicAAgo sounds like an American Airlines hub, definitely!
JohnNewOrleans is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 05:13 PM
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First of all, it's never safe to assume that Chicago traffic won't be bad. Saturday night in the summer you'd want to check for night ball games, either Cubs or Sox could screw up the Kennedy or the Blue Line trains from the airport. If you stay out by the airport your friend could easily pick you up and take you back to Evanston, where there are many fine restaurants.

The immediate vicinity of the airport has a nice array of the usual hotel chains.

You should really try to arrange to come to Chicago for "real" though!
pegcook is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 05:57 PM
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Traveling into Chicago from a suburb near O'Hare on a Saturday late afternoon/evening in early November took us 2 hours. It took only 30 minutes to do the reverse trip on that same Saturday morning. I'd definitely avoid that drive if possible, at that time on a Saturday!
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Apr 24th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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I totally agree with the inability to predict Chicago traffic. Staying near the airport in a hotel with shuttle service would save a lot of hassle and it's cheaper than heading into the city for an abbreviated stay at a more expensive hotel that you won't have time to enjoy anyway. Dump the bags and then if you want to take the train or cab it down to Michigan Avenue or something like that, you can enjoy the evening and still be set for a sane morning before your flight back to Florida because you'll already be back in the airport neighborhood.
Flyboy is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Good one, JohnNewOrleans! Never thought of that, but that sounds better than the other AA.

jlm_mi, I'd never consider getting a car and driving it or even doing a taxi. I just always thought it was quick and easy to take the el into Chicago from O'Hare, which is the only reason I brought this whole thing up.

Pegcook, I know you're probably right, and what will probably happen is when I tell the friend that we will be in town over night, she'll insist she pick us up and we'll stay with her -- was trying to avoid that by saying "hey, we are staying downtown at the _____, come in and join us for dinner!"
And we had planned a week in Chicago this month, but when I got drafted into directing a play here, we had to cancel that out. Something like that seems to happen every time. Haven't been to Chicago in 10 years.
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Apr 24th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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And Flyboy, you sure know how to spoil all the fun by giving a totally logical and sensible answer to the whole thing. LOL
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Apr 24th, 2005, 06:28 PM
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It takes about 45 minutes to get downtown on the el. But keep in mind you'd be coming into the international terminal (T5), which doesn't have direct access to the el. Once you clear immigration/customs, you'd have to take the inter-terminal train to T3, then make your way down to the lower level to the CTA transit station. Not a big deal if you are traveling light - but add about 15 minutes. If you have much luggage, this (plus hauling it up and down stairs from the el stations downtown) could get a little cumbersome.

Staying near the airport would be easiest, and would definitely save you some time in the morning.

If you do decide to stay downtown, look for a hotel that is within a block or two of a blue line el stop. The Renaissance (Clark/Lake stop), the Burnham (Washington), and the Palmer House (Monroe) are three that come to mind.
ms_go is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 06:46 PM
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Patrick, and here I thought you were making fun of how the locals say She-caaaaa-go.
Jocelyn_P is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 07:00 PM
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I did something similar in London and regretted staying at the airport, by the time I got the shuttle to the hotel, dropped my bags and took the shuttle back to the airport to catch the tube I had wasted something like 2 hours. If I had gone directly into London to a hotel near a tube station it would have been more efficient and I would have had more time to spend in London.

O'Hare is kind of the same thing, unless you get the one hotel that is within walking distance of the terminals (it's either a Hilton or a Hyatt, can't remember). If you grab the el directly you can be downtown in 45 minutes and there are many hotels within a short walk or cab ride of the el station. You could even bid Priceline and get a deal on the hotel and pay for the cab with the money you save.

Once downtown you could grab a fine meal, if it's a nice night you could go to the top of the Hancock for a drink and a view
Kristi is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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Patrick,
There is no really "convienent" place to stay downtown since your in for such a short time.

If seeing the city is not important to you, stay out by the airport. Sofitel, Hyatt, Doubletree are all walking distance from Gibsons and Mortons steakhouses. The Hilton is the hotel at the airport. Sheraton Gateway Suites has Harry Carry's and Shaws Seafood. Marriott has Carluchi's Italian to name a few.



weimer is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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There are also a couple of chain hotels in Skokie--which is kinda-sorta in between Evanston and the aiport--there's a Doubletree at the corner of Golf and Skokie blvd with a restaurant downstairs, plus its right next to a shopping mall with several nice chain restaurants. There is a suburban-brand taxi (North Shore, I think) that specializes in runs between the north side suburbs and the airport. You could host your friend, she wouldn't have to travel so far herself (getting downtown from Evanston is no picnic).

If yo do theater then you have to come back! Which I'm sure you know!
pegcook is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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The O'Hare airport hotel is a Hilton. It is connected to terminals 1-3 (American flies out of 3, even international flights). Super convenient, it would be my only choice for a 10 a.m. flight, but I have unmoveable teenagers.

Downtown is easy on the train, and certainly more exciting than Skokie, but either plan is doable. Try American taxi; we always use them and have had no complaints. The Skokie Doubletree has a nice restaurant, the Daily Grill, with good martinis. It's also right next door to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, a high-quality suburban theatre. Metromix.com or chicagoplays.com would have their coming attractions.
patg is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Thanks, patg, for pointing out the North Shore Center, I meant to and forgot!

I just thought Skokie would be in the middle for Patrick's friend.
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May 1st, 2005, 09:08 AM
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Patrick -- thanks for posting the question I was going to post. We're doing an overnight "connector" flight this summer into Chicago, before heading out to SF in the morning and I was wondering where to stay too. My father-in-law lives in Chicago and he'll be meeting us for dinner.

I do have an additional question though. After reading this thread the Airport Hilton sounds like a good choice. We're flying in on United -- does anyone know which terminal they arrive into? We'll be arriving from Washington DC (our flight plan is more annoying, as we're going from Edingburgh to London (overnight in London), London to DC, DC to Chicago, and Chicago to SF. We're using FF miles and those were literally the ONLY flights we could get that entire week where we could fly together and keep our first class seats). So even though our origination point is overseas, I'm pretty sure the DC to Chicago leg is considered domestic (if that makes a difference).
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May 1st, 2005, 09:49 AM
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my2cents - you'll clear US immigration and customs at Dulles. Your flight from Dulles to Chicago will be domestic and will arrive in Terminal 1. Yes, it does make a difference. If you were arriving at O'Hare directly from Europe, you would arrive at the international terminal, Terminal 5.

http://www.flychicago.com/ohare/terminals/terminal.shtm
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