Chicago Family of Five

Jul 2nd, 2009, 09:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
You assumed that this OP was asking for budget accommodations. S/he never mentioned it.

Yet you also presumed that anybody just comes into a big city and within an hour know all the ins/out of public transportation.

I'm a seasoned world traveler and I found very quickly that no travel book, no travel site advice on public transportation helped me in the long run. Sure, it was always nice to know how to get from the airport to my hotel because it usually involved detailed info, but it usually took few days to actually learn that there was a better train system or taking a bus (always scary in a big city and I don't mean in a bad way, just the lack of knowledge of the routes) was a better idea. It took me couple of visits to get really comfortable with London bus system, while it took me just a minute to get around the city on the Tube. Once I did the busses I hardly ever went back underground. I got to see the daily life of Londoners, not just a dark tube and the final destination at the end of it. I found the little hole in the wall pub, or restaurant that I would have never known about it and that was great, but it didn't happen on my first morning in London. It also took me couple of visits to actually get very comfy with the metra type train service around London.

These things don't happen in 5 minutes, so you have to realize that just because you know all the ins/outs of your local public transportation, most tourists will never even KNOW about it, or be willing to try it. There is always that fear that you may go through wrong neighborhood, that you may end up in the wrong place, etc... In Chicago the L and the bus system is fairly easy to learn but suggesting Metra or Southshore trains for a first time visitors and a family of 5 during their short stay is pushing it, don't you think?

and please don't tell me that they could always ask at the hotels. The ones you mentioned earlier, you know the $35-50 ones have mostly teenagers working at the front desk that don't know where is the nearest Starbucks is. How will they know about the extensive public transportation system if many of the major hotel concierge don't even know sometimes and have to call and get info? Most of these employees never left their suburbs and if they did it was in their cars toi a downtown concert or dinner.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,253
AA, I've tried along these lines before.

I've lived in Chicago or Chicagoland area (both and Chicago proper for 28 years)and STILL don't know bus routes. Especially upon downtown streets that sometimes have 3 to 5 different routes picking up all at the same places.

Chicago is vast. Truly, vast.

Neighborhoods are NOT perceived by visitors (even to know what they are looking at- and OH do I know this about D.C. especially)- the same way that locals perceive them.

And the prime central point is that first time or third time visitors WANT TO SEE THE CHICAGO- which is humongously downtown-LOOP- Michigan Ave- Water Tower to Soldier Field area. They do.


And exiled princess has excellent, excellent specific information- but still feels the need to dis anyone else who disagrees or has an opinion that is not on the same exact track as hers. That's the part that really chaps my hide.

As a person who has been bus stranded, and is constantly getting around construction, even as I type. STAY DOWNTOWN and do. Don't spend 1/2 your time commuting or following maps which dodging foot traffic and dealing with anxiety. It just ISN'T simple.
JJ5 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 355
It’s nice to read I’m not the only one who is sometimes bothered by the way exiledprincess writes her comments.

She almost always has excellent advice (although I don’t always agree – I would never recommend staying at an airport hotel.) I think what rubs me the wrong way is when she starts a paragraph “with all due respect to previous posters.” For some reason when she writes this I imagine her thinking “all these people are morons, why can’t everyone be right all the time like me!” Now I know this is probably unfair, I don’t know her and of course I don’t know what she’s thinking. But often that phrase is followed by an explanation of why she disagrees with what everyone is saying.

There’s just something about her writing style that can often be irritating. If JJ5, AA, sf weren’t expressing irritation too I never would have said anything, I would have thought it was just me. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years (reading more than posting) on the US, Europe, Asia and South America forums and don’t remember ever being irritated by anyone else in quite the same way.

Personally, I sometimes disagree with other posters advice, or think hmmm, that’s not what I would advise. But I don’t find it necessary to go after them. If I have a differing opinion I think it’s more courteous to start off with something like “you may also want to consider.” Leave it to the OP to consider all advice and sort out what is right or wrong for them.

Again, just want to say that exiled almost always has excellent, detailed recommendations. I’m very encouraged by her comment above saying it’s “really up to the visitor to decide what is best for them.” Because sometimes this thought doesn’t come through in her writing.

About now poor lselmek2 is probably thinking she should have chosen a different city for vacation! All these hostile Chicagoans!

I guess what it comes down to is that we’re all just very passionate about Chicago!
bniemand is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885

I couldn't have said it any better.

That condescending statement "with all due respect to the earlier poster(s)" is getting a little old. Used once it's fine, over and over again, and I started feeling the same way you did. JMHO.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 08:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 805

The Embassy Suites and Hampton Suites are certainly in convenient locations, with pretty easy access to where you want to go. Don't know about the rooms, but location-wise, they're good. If you want to get a bit away from the tourist hub, there are some smaller hotels in Lincoln Park/Lakeview (the Willows, Days Inn, Best Western Hawthorne) that'll put you among the locals and within easy train or bus rides of downtown and within walking distance of Lincoln Park and Wrigley Field. The Science Museum would be a bit of a hike, though.
andrews98682 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,403
Iselmek2 - I hope you enjoy your trip. I live in the River North Area of Chicago - not too far from the Hampton Suites, Embassy Suites. Lots of us live downtown. Definitely stay downtown - your kids will love it.

There is a site called VRBO which has apartment rentals - several here have rented apartments in Chicago and had good success.

I also will suggest_Lincoln Park Zoo - great zoo, and its free. Its right in Lincoln Park

Millenium Park - just walk around - lots to see on a nice day

If you go to Navy Pier - there is a Cirque Du Soleil show there all summer. Less expensive than the normal ones. Also - fireworks every Wednesday night.

If you go to MOSI - there is an unbelievable permanent UBoat exhibit and also a great OmniMax theatre. Each is an additional cost but very cool.

Go to the Top of the Hancock - very close to American Girl Place. I like it better than Sears Tower cause its right on Michigan Ave with lots of other stuff to do. Although now Sears Tower has opened up the outside 'balconies" - but I still like Hancock the best.
chicagolori is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,403
Here is the Vacation Rentals By Owner site. Its a well known site. You could look in Gold Coast, Old Town, South Loop to start. They all appear to be very well located, safe, and nice places.
chicagolori is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,499
Now that I've been bashed...

I use the term "with all due respect to previous posters", because when I originally came on this board many years ago that is the exact term which several others used when they were trying to *politely* illustrate a differing option or opinion. It was my understanding that was the correct etiquette when using these forums. I might mention that some posters here have not been so gentle in their expressed thoughts.

Secondly (and I still don't know why), the general opinion here is that I recommended that the OP stay at the airport. Did I say this? No, I didn't. I didn't recommend staying there or downtown or in the outlying neighborhoods. But I did mention those options to the OP because it is only right someone should.

I don't know if the OP has a limited (or extremely limited) budget from their original query, although that *is* the general trend nowadays. I don't know if the OP is driving or not. And neither did any of the other posters.

But I *do* know that the OP will either have to get a suite or at least two rooms with having 5 people involved, due to city fire codes. And I *do* know that Hotwire limits the occupancy of the room even further.

Tell the people their options and let them make their own decisions based on their circumstances.

Using the CTA is very easy. The system is extensive. If anyone checks, they'll see many reviews and trip reports stating this time after time - just in case you think I'm a little biased. The CTA's website even gives a person the tools to find several routes to any given destination - by train or bus. All a person has to do is type in the starting point and destination and they give all the information to you.

Lastly, giving everyone the same general advice is just, IMHO, bad advice. Chicago is a big convention town and has several major events which cause the hotel room rates to fluctuate a great deal. On top of that, parking downtown is very, very expensive - and, IMHO, should be mentioned *every single time by someone recommending a stay downtown*. If you are going to give advice, give the people the *full story* so they don't get an unpleasant surprise when they drive up to park at the hotel or elsewhere downtown.
exiledprincess is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:02 PM.