Jun 18th, 2017, 05:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 3

Dear Fodorites,

this is my first post ever in this website! Thank you for reading this.
I am from Europe
Next summer I will be visiting the Indianapolis area. After that I would like to see Chicago and the great lakes (specifically lake Michigan), but I only have 4 and a half day, at the end of which I have to go back to Indianapolis and fly back to Europe.
I will be travelling by car (with one or two other people). What are the best spots on Lake Michigan nearest to Chicago / Indiana that I could visit in a couple of days? What would cheap accomodations there be?
Also, where could I find cheap BBs in Chicago?
If someone would like to offer suggestions on what to do in Chicago in 1/2 days that would also be appreciated.

Thank you anybody for any help you could give me!
Greatlake is offline  
Jun 19th, 2017, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,829
Given the choice, I'd spend the time in Chicago. See my trip report here:

and scroll down for details of what I actually did. Also, see my report for an Indianapolis visit:
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 20th, 2017, 11:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2017
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Thank you!
Other interesting spots to visit on lake Michigan, which are not too far from Chicago?
Greatlake is offline  
Jun 20th, 2017, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,145
There is daily train service from Indianapolis into Chicago.
The biggest HI Hostel in the US is in Chicago on a corner of Congress.
By all means visit the Navy Pier, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium.
You do not need or want a car in Chicago. Walking, bus or the El will get you everywhere you want to go.
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 21st, 2017, 02:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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"Other interesting spots to visit on lake Michigan, which are not too far from Chicago?"

Not especially. I'd stick with Chicago unless you want to head a good ways away from there (well up the Michigan coast). There's plenty to do there.

East of Chicago are places like Gary and Hammond, which are decidedly not good spots for tourists (Gary is infamously bad, one of the worst cities in the US, a real dump). North of Chicago are various suburbs and Milwaukee.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 21st, 2017, 02:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2017
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Thank you all for your answers!
Tomfuller,what is the 'El'?
How long does it take by car(or bus/train) to reach a nice spot on lake Michigan?
Greatlake is offline  
Jun 21st, 2017, 03:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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The "El" is Chicago's version of the subway, mostly running above ground (short for "elevated"). Very useful for getting around.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 21st, 2017, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,167
Hi, Greatlake.

You and your friends may want to just stay in CHicago for those days--unless you really don't want to go to the city that much. If that's the case, and you want a rural/lakeside experience, maybe look at Travers City, Michigan.

I'd recommend taking a Megabus from Indianapolis into Chicago because you can have many different Lake Michigan experiences, and also enjoy the city. It's 3-4 hours. And you don't want to drive and park a car in CHicago. It's expensive to have a car there (parking), and not needed. If you need the car, you can maybe find free street parking in Lincoln Park, on Stockton Drive or Cannon Drive, but it will take you a while to find a free spot, so you'll have to be patient.

Holiday Inn Express/Hotel Cass is in a really good location.

Or maybe the Inn of Chicago

Or the Hostel on Congress is a good location, too.

The Days Inn in Lincoln Park is more north, but is a great neighborhood.

You can have different experiences on Lake Michigan, as Chicago stretches along it for miles.

But for views of the city skyline on Lake Michigan, going to Olive Park/Olive Park Beach on Navy Pier will give you a great view--but it will be full of other tourists.

Oak Street Beach is also right near the Gold Coast. Very pretty, and again, full of visitors. Further north, you'll see more locals at North Avenue Beach, and the areas around Fullerton, Belmont and Irving Park. Those areas all have lakeside spots to linger.

If you want to have a less-city lake experience, you can take a Metra Train to Glencoe. It costs $5 or so to go on the beach, but it may be a nice diversion from the city.

And on the other days when you're not on the lake, you can see the city, like the Architecture Boat Tour, the Art Institute, a White Sox/Cubs game, Chicago improv (like Second City or ImprovOlympic), go to incredible restaurants, etc.

Have fun planning!
ChgoGal is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2017, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,167
Also, greatlake. If you didn't want to stay in Chicago that long, I understand St. Joseph, Michigan, is a nice lakeside community to stay in.
ChgoGal is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2017, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 43
With a car you can drive to Indiana dunes national lakeshore.
Millennium park has a number free evening concerts/movies during the summer. Bring a blanket, food, wine and enjoy.
Navy pier usually has fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

The Chicago lakeshore is open to the public for most of its entire length. To get to it you just have to find a crosswalk or underground walkway to cross lakeshore drive. The nearest beaches to downtown are Oak st (north end of michigan ave), Ohio St (near navy pier) and there is a beach near the Adler planetarium. I recommend renting a bike and exploring the lake)

Parking in Chicago is difficult. It is usually cheaper to park the car and take uber/taxi/bike/walk/bus/el the entire trip.

Unless you have to return to Indianapolis, look into flying out of Chicago.
bjgchi is offline  

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