Chicago hotel: what area

Old Apr 5th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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Chicago hotel: what area

We are 3 ladies planning a long weekend in Chicago. None of us have ever been there. We won't have a car. Can you tell us what areas we should look for hotels in? we'd like it to be in walking distance or public transportation distance to museums, restaurants, etc.

Thank you
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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Most hotels and tourist attractions are around the Loop or North Michigan Avenue. Together, the two areas are about two square miles.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 09:07 PM
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I like the North Michigan Avenue area more than the Loop.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 04:46 AM
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If you want shopping, get closer to Michigan Ave and Water Tower Place, what is designated as North MI Ave in some databases. If you want museums, plays, historic, Grant Park, Printers' Row, State/Madison, Millenium etc. then pick the LOOP.

My favorites are all on the Chicago River, or very close to the Chicago River. Do a search here for more information. There are many, many threads on hotels, pricing, time of year etc. etc as it all makes a difference.

Do not forget that you need to park a car, if you are driving in, and that the costs are very considerable, (most hotels are $40 a day) and that the hotel added on taxes are 17%.

For attending plays like Wicked or Jersey Boys, if they are in your itinerary, along with a museum, Art Institute or Shedd-I suggest that you pick one of the boutique type hotels like Hotel Allegro or Burnham or one of those near the theaters. Or some of the big giants on the River are good too, for both areas, easier- if you want to spend.

Swissotel is a walk into Michigan Ave. and sticks out into the lake on a landfill pennisula type of arrangement. So if you pick that one you get fab views but it's more of a walk back to Michigan Ave. and the bridge. There are underground connection venues with stores that connect, Hyatt, Swissotel, Intercontinental and more all the time.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 06:44 AM
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We like the Homewood Suites on Grand. You can walk to all the Michigan shops and there is a trolley nearby to take to the Navy Pier. Homewood Suites has breakfast included and wine and snacks on weekeday afternoons.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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nlg and I had the same good experience at Homewood Suites (by Hilton). Great dining and a big supermarket are nearby.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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A hotel on or just off of North Michigan Avenue would provide the most options - you can walk to great shopping, restaurants, the Lakefront, etc. Consider The Drake (famous for afternoon tea), The Westin, The Penninsula, Park Hyatt, The Tremont, The Ritz ... try to stay between Oak Street & the Chicago River for the most centrally located.
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 08:40 AM
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Throwing in my 2c here -- you've received some excellent recomendations.

But you mentioned you wanted a hotel close to public transportation since you won't have a car. It's easy to catch a bus on Michigan Ave., so any hotel near there -- whether in the Loop or the N Michigan Ave. area, will give you good access. However, if you are interested in using the subway, the Loop is a better choice. The NME area is served only by the red line, and it's several blocks to the Grand St and Chicago St. stations. Not an impossible distance, but not exactly convenient, either.

The Loop is served by all of the subway lines, and most Loop hotels are very close to the stations, as well as to multiple bus lines.

Something to think about -- depending on your plans.

Have fun and best of luck!
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Old Apr 6th, 2008, 03:01 PM
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JJ5, not to get OT, but in Chicago, a really large portion of the area east from Michigan Avenue from Oak to Roosevelt is built on landfill - not just around the Swissotel.

Streeterville began when Cap Streeter's "Reutan" ran up onto a sandbar. Then the silt, flotsam and what have you from Lake Michigan and materials from various north side builders accumulated until the area was 186 acres in size. Cap called the area the "United States District of Lake Michigan" and claimed he owned it since this was "found" land. He enjoyed selling liquor on Sundays in his little kingdom, you see.

About 5 acres of the land south of the Chicago River (in Grant Park) was built up from the debris from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

As you go north into Lincoln Park, there are markers about 1/4 block east of Stockton which show where the lakefront previously was.

You can take a look at the map of Chicago at the time of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (which was really 9 fires, not one) and you'll see how much it's really changed.

Teener, to answer your inquiry, it just depends on what you can get at this later date. If you've never been to Chicago before, you could settle for N. Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile), Loop, River North areas. You'll find a lot of chains here (both upscale and not) and if you were looking for the ultra luxurious accommodations, that's where you would find them.

I think that there are some very nice properties in the Gold Coast neighborhood as well, such as Hotel Indigo Chicago, Flemish House of Chicago (an apartment-type B&B) and the Gold Coast Guest House. These all get good to excellent reviews on TripAdvisor (best reviewed is the Flemish House of Chicago).

Transportation in Chicago is easy and fairly inexpensive and you shouldn't have any trouble traveling to where you wish.

Please note that you will have to travel to most of the museums from any of these locations. Keep in mind that the best restaurants tend to be in the neighborhoods, although there are a few that are located on the Magnificent Mile, in the Loop and River North. Please, please do not limit yourself to just these areas when dining in Chicago. Since Chicago is one of the pre-eminent dining destinations of the US and world, don't cheat yourself.

Likewise, we are pretty good on the theatre front. And I'm talking about the true Chicago theatre experience here. You'll usually find it in the neighborhoods, though - although taking in a performance at the Goodman Theatre in the Loop is one that I definitely think you should consider.

For example, take at look at the thread here in the US forum regarding current Broadway show recommendations. "August: Osage County" is a Steppenwolf production which garnered rave reviews here (and many awards), went on to Broadway after the initial run closed here - and now has the same effect in NYC.

Another production, the House Theatre of Chicago's "The Sparrow", started as a store front performance and then went on to a larger venue (the Apollo). Again, this great show received many well-deserved accolades.

I know that a long weekend is not even enough time to scratch the surface of a vibrant city such as Chicago, but sincerely hope you keep some of these suggestions in mind.
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Old Apr 21st, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Thanks for all the input; we will be making our plans, hopefully soon.

Teener
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