Rent car for stay in Arlington Heights? Visiting downtown Chicago. (Naperville: rental car, coupons)
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Rent car for stay in Arlington Heights? Visiting downtown Chicago.
How is the public transportation from Arlington Heights to downtown Chicago? Am I better off renting a car for a 4-day stay there?
I plan to fly to Chicago to do some sight-seeing, so I'll be spending a lot of time downtown. I found a deal for a hotel in Arlington Heights for $48/night. I can rent a car at the airport for $47/day. After adding gas and parking, I'm thinking that it will still cost less than staying downtown.
I plan to go to the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, Museum of Science & Industry, Lincoln Park, Millenium Park, etc.
I've never been to Chicago, so I don't know much about the METRA, CTA, and parking downtown. I would appreciate opinions from those of you who live there. I don't mind doing a lot of walking within the city once I find a place to park (if I rent a car).
Well, it depends. How do you plan on getting to your Arlington Heights hotel? Metra has at least two stops in Arlington Heights which makes getting downtown on the train very easy. Make sure you check for return times because Metra can get seldom at night. The web site is: Metra - Welcome to Metra
If you're gonna do most of your sightseeing downtown, a car is a nuisance. The downtown places are attainable by walking or by cab and it is only one express bus to the Museum of Science and Industry. Lincoln Park also is a short bus ride from downtown. My advice is that if you are not going to a restaurant outside of the downtown area or doing any sightseeing in the suburbs, then forget about renting a car. That is, if you can get the ten miles from O'Hare to Arlington Heights some other way.
Thats a tough call, really. A car is nice in case you want to do a little more exploring. For instance, hailing a cab all over the city can get as expensive as renting the car, easily. And forget about walking. If you plan to walk to the Museum of Science and Industry, Id say youre completely out of your mind. There are some cheaper garages around town, take advantage of them. Dont park anywhere along Michigan, itll cost you an arm and a leg. I park at a garage near the House of Blues, its a $15 flat rate, all day. There are many other garages, you just have to find the cheapest one and walk from there.
As for the train? I dont know where the Metra stops from Arlington Heights. The line I take from Naperville ends up at Ogalvie (or Oglesby???? I forget the name LOL) Transportation Center on Madison. From there I walk, but trust me, its a hike, particularly to North Michigan/Oak St/etc. By the time you get back to the train that night, youll be so exhausted from walking that youll probably pass out on the train ride home.
Thanks for your help! Manigault, thanks for that web site. Steve-o, I won't park along Michigan.
I was thinking of taking a cab to my hotel, which I'm sure would be at least $25. Or taking public transportation, which would mean a bus + train. But since I found such an inexpensive hotel room and I'm not sure of everything I might end up doing during my trip, I think I'll rent a car.
Since it's my first time to Chicago and I'll want to take in as much as possible, I may end up spending more than I think on cab fare + METRA/CTA.
I guess the Rosemont CTA is either in Arlington Heights or close to it, but having a car will save me time.
The Rosemont CTA stop is basically O'Hare. Remember, if you get a car that the commute times from AH are at least twice as long in the rush hour periods. You could leave the car at the CTA and take the el downtown but you have to get to the CTA first. There can be long backups on the NW tollway between AH and O'H. Take Higgins Road in to O'H. That street is south of AH and Golf road (check out the rental map for directions). That way you will avoid the dollar toll on the NW tollway, too, because I think you don't have a tollway pass. And, if you're gonna take rapid trans, why not just take it from Arlington Heights? Metra stops in downtown AH and at the raceway. By car, O'Hare is just halfway to downtown from Arlington Heights.
I know! Drive east down Golf Road from Arlington Heights all the way to the lake front in Evanston. You can then look at the big houses in Evanston and take Sheridan Road south to the downtown and marvel at the lake shore. This way takes much longer but is very scenic.
Thanks Manigault. I've still been debating about whether to rent a car. The Rosemont CTA is a 22-minute bus ride from my hotel. I've been thinking about canceling that hotel and booking one closer to Rosemont...if there's a closer hotel in my price range. Trying to save money doesn't seem to be a good idea in this case.
*sigh*.......I actually called to cancel my flight, but unfortunately I have a non-refundable ticket. I've been stressing myself out trying to figure out hotel cost vs. location and public transportation vs. renting a car. If I go to Chicago again it will be during the "off season".
I'd look in to downtown hotels. People get $100 or even better at times deals all the time, priceline.com and other ways. It is double range of your Arlington Heights Hotel, but you would save money on other costs, and save transportation time and hassle. Deals can be had if you are diligent and search etc..
Unless you are tied to Arlington Heights, which it sounds like you aren't, I would at least explore some other downtown options for a little more money but imo worth it. If you are stuck later at night in Chicago and need cab out to Arlington Heights, it'll cost you. One from O'Hare to downtown is approx $35-$40. Atmosphere will be better for you in Chicago. Arlington Heights is a nice but non-descript suburb you could find anywhere.
You could find other ways to cut on your costs, such as breakfast at a hotel or a bagel or something, etc...or make one of your lunch or dinner meals more casual etc....tons of variety and options in the city for any costs. Plenty of free or less expensive sites too.
If it were me, no brainer, I would stay in the city, and alter other costs in my trip. It isn't worth it to stay in burbs and come in everyday imo.
If you do stay in burbs, get a car rental reservation early with cheapest one, in case you want or need one. If you do wind up with car, you can either park at a garage all day and pay, or park close to but not in downtown on side street for free and either take "el" or cab or bus to your destination. NEVER rent a car from the airport in any city. Go to an Enterprise or something near but not in an airport and save a ton more money, or rent your car in the burbs or city somewhere.
Someone was just on here quoting $95/night at Embassy Suites downtown....also the Wyndham, Palmer House Hilton and some others have been had for $100 a night on priceline. Why spend $100 a day on a car and burb lodging when you can spend similar downtown, no car, in center of action?
You have never been to Chicago, part of the experience would be an inexpensive "el" ride from downtown to say Wrigley Field or wherever.(It'll be a $5-6 cab ride, no traffic). Most of your interests are in or near downtown Chicago, so you wouldn't really need to drive anywhere anyway, several public transportation options, some of which are inexpensive.
You could stay in Rosemont and take the train in to town. Rosemont has zero character in many people's opinions. Just some hotels and restaurants near the airport, ...few people actually live there, non-descript etc...not a fan of staying there unless I HAVE to be next to airport for some reason. Hotel prices there vary.
Fishtacos more or less sums up my opinion: stay downtown. It's cheaper than you think, especially on weekends -- this is a business travel town -- whereas parking is more expensive and difficult than you think. Use Hotwire or Priceline for a hotel deal.
If any of the Arlington Heights hotels were within walking distance to a Metra stop, I might recommend it -- but no, none are, and once you get downtown you'll probably transfer to CTA to get anywhere besides the Sears Tower. Just take it easy and get a hotel room downtown.
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