Chicago experts, please help

Apr 30th, 2006, 06:24 PM
  #1  
P_M
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Chicago experts, please help

I am asking a question on behalf of a friend and her husband who are traveling on a tight budget. They are planning a trip to the Midwest which will include 2 nights in Chicago from June 9-11. They plan to visit the Field Museum during this time, but they were shocked at how expensive the hotels were in that area. I tried to help them w/a Priceline bid, but we went all the way up to $90/night for a 3* and we still couldn't get anything in that area.

They are flying in to Midway, and we discovered that airport hotels are less expensive than the ones in the city. Would it be feasible to stay at an airport hotel near Midway and use public transport to get to the Field Museum? They will not have a car during their stay in Chicago.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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If you're visiting Chicago, you really should stay in the city. Try hotwire or hotels4less.com. You're bound to find something a little less than $90. Even a little bit away from downtown would be better than the Midway area, and I wouldn't recommend staying near midway without a car.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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Those dates are the overlap of the Candy Expo with about 18,000 people and the AMA with another 5,000.

Usually, hotels hold rooms for groups until about 30 days before the meeting date, so something downtown may open up in the next few days.

The hotels around Midway are less expensive but they're difficult to get to. The Orange Line only goes as far as Midway, then they'd have to take a cab from there to the hotels.

There are several hotels on the north side of the city which may work for your friends. The Days Inn on Diversey, Best Western Hawthorne Terrace, Willows Inn and Majestic Hotels are all around Wrigley Field about 4 miles north of downtown. There are several restaurants in that area and it's easily accessible to downtown via train or bus.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 07:01 PM
  #4  
P_M
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My friend and I had a feeling that some type of convention was in town, hence the high price and lack of availability of downtown hotels. I just called my friend and passed along that news. She is now considering staying a little further out and getting a rental car for her visit, or perhaps using the Orange Line.

Thanks a million, traveladdict and citylghts, this is exactly the info that was needed.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 07:13 PM
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Listen to Citylights. They do not want a car in the city. Parking is expensive and they won't enjoy it. Check out cityinns.com. I just checked Expedia and Inn at Lincoln Park is $140 a night which is worth it for what they'd pay for parking. I'd stay in Evanston and train down vs. by Midway. Lots to do in Evanston and the Purple line hooks right to the red line to get to the museum area.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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I understand the International House at the University of Chicago occasionally rents rooms out. That would be a good location. You can find it on the internet. If they don't have room, ask about other accomodations at the university.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 07:21 PM
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The rental car idea is a TERRIBLE one. Parking in the loop is a pain and it's expensive and traffic, especially at rush hour, is awful. Also, the Orange Line shuts down at 11, I think, which means staying near midway is a bad idea. If the loop's too expensive, Citylights had some good suggestions. Those hotels are in a great neighborhood (Lincoln Park, Lakeview) with lots of restaurants, bars, and are near transportation and Wrigley Field. Another suggestion is the City Suites hotel on Belmont, right by the El stop (Red, Brown and Purple lines -- and a short ride to the Loop and Michigan Ave.). Again: NO CAR!!!
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Apr 30th, 2006, 07:32 PM
  #8  
P_M
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Thanks, andrew. My friends and I spoke on the phone again and they will wait a day or so to make a final decision. I appreciate all input.
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Apr 30th, 2006, 08:58 PM
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I agree that renting a car is a terrible idea. In addition to the rental charges and gas, the least expensive parking downtown is around $16-$20 per day. Then there's the problem of navagating a strange city and hoping nothing like tomorrow's immigration rally takes place during their visit.

If they're not able to find a hotel, another option could be a B&B or unhosted apartment. Check www.athomeinchicago.com or www.chicago-bed-breakfast.com.

They can get a 3-day transit pass for $12. Complete transit info is at www.transitchicago.com. The site also has a travel planner where they can enter beginning and ending points and get possible routes via buses and trains.
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May 1st, 2006, 05:05 AM
  #10  
P_M
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Thank you all once again, all of this info will be passed along later today.
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May 1st, 2006, 05:29 AM
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There are 7 hotels adjacent to each other in what is called the Midway Hotel Complex.
go to http://www.midwayhotelcenter.com/
for list and reservations. There is a shuttle van that will take you to the airport/ orange line stop for a speedy 36 min ride to the loop. If you can get decent rates then go for it. By the way, you can exit the orange line at Roosevelt road for a short walk to the museum campus which includes the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planeterium. Enjoy your stay in Chicago.
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May 1st, 2006, 08:05 AM
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P_M, if your friends do wind up having to go with a Midway area hotel, they need to be prepared for the fact that it's a very dreary, industrial area. Certainly not my idea of a vacation spot! But I understand that with the convention situation, staying downtown just may not work. And they won't be spending a lot of time at the hotel.

I think the western suburbs (Oakbrook, Downers Grove area) would be much more pleasant. There are lots of restaurants, etc. out here. And there's train service to downtown. But it is a 45 minute commute and I don't know how easy it is to get to the train without a car. Offhand, I can't think of any hotels that are close to the train. I'm sure they'd be able to take a cab but don't know how expensive that would be. I also agree with the others about not driving into downtown.

I really wish I could offer a better alternative than the Midway area. I hope someone else will.

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May 1st, 2006, 08:14 AM
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I sort of skimmed the other responses before I posted. Just read through them more thoroughly. Citylights has some great suggestions, particularly the places around Wrigley. I think they would enjoy that so much more than staying near Midway! In fact, my husband and I often go to that area on Sunday afternoons 'cause we enjoy the quirky little shops and the bars. Whereas I can't imagine ever willingly going to the Midway area for anything other than to pick up my daughter at the airport!
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May 1st, 2006, 08:17 AM
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JJ5
 
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Do not get a car.

As a Southsider I could think of all kinds of ways to do this, but this is the essential problem with Chicago summer time travel. In this time frame it gets difficult. But I do know you CAN find something downtown or South Loop. For two nights they would be much better to just bite the bullet and book something on hotwire for more.

Commutes just will not be advisable, IMHO, for any 2 day stay, and that goes from any direction. It's my opinion only, but they don't have much time here to begin with.

I'll look up some recent rec's for some new hotels that are South and may not be booked.

Check back here for a future post- if I find the one I think may be possible- it will be here.

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May 1st, 2006, 08:21 AM
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It's Hotel Blake on 500 South Dearborn. It would be much more than $90, but worth it.
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May 1st, 2006, 09:37 AM
  #16  
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hotwire.com has 4 star available mid LOOP for $159. I would grab that. $90 on May 1 for a June 9-11 stay may jst be too, too little.

Otherwise I would go to priceline and bid 4 star anywhere LOOP, M.Mile Michigan Ave. etc. in the neighborhood of $110 and start bidding at least that amount. Bidding 3 star oftentimes gets refused more than 4 star. Try 4 star absolutely.
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May 1st, 2006, 09:55 AM
  #17  
P_M
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Thanks again to everyone for this good info. Perhaps we'll give Priceline another go, and if that doesn't work, we'll look for a Plan B, not involving a rental car.
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May 1st, 2006, 10:23 AM
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Said it before. I'll say it again. Check into the possibility of space available at the University of Chicago. The location is great. It's a nice neighborhood. The campus is beautiful. You can walk to the Museum of Science and Industry, where you can pick up a bus to the Field Museum complex. You can walk to a lovely park at the lakefront. You can also walk to a bus stop that zips you downtown in less than 20 minutes, right up Lake Shore Drive.
If staying at International House isn't for you or at another on-campus facility (they used to house people in the School for Social Services Administration), check at the Wooded Isle Suites. It is also in Hyde Park, right across the street from the Museum of Science and Industry. The units are like little apts, with kitchenettes, so it might cost more.
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May 1st, 2006, 10:28 AM
  #19  
P_M
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I will look into that Orcas, thanks.
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