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Old 08-29-2007, 08:39 AM
 
21 posts, read 70,331 times
Reputation: 15

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Thanks for all the great Chicago info so far. I have a couple quick questions which may sound a little stupid, but ...

I want to buy a car when I arrive, I have always had a convertible. I don't know the weather well enough to know if there is enough time to enjoy(I'll drive top-down when it's pretty cold!), between the wintery , snowy season, and the milder months, or am I better off without. I hate to think of those nice Chicago evenings without a ragtop!!

Also, are taxi's a reasonable form of transport within the Loop/GoldCoast area and downtown offices? Expensive, easy to hail...please let me know.

Cheers,

SJ
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:31 AM
 
1,464 posts, read 5,485,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saint_jack View Post
Thanks for all the great Chicago info so far. I have a couple quick questions which may sound a little stupid, but ...

I want to buy a car when I arrive, I have always had a convertible. I don't know the weather well enough to know if there is enough time to enjoy(I'll drive top-down when it's pretty cold!), between the wintery , snowy season, and the milder months, or am I better off without. I hate to think of those nice Chicago evenings without a ragtop!!

Also, are taxi's a reasonable form of transport within the Loop/GoldCoast area and downtown offices? Expensive, easy to hail...please let me know.

Cheers,

SJ

Some people are adventurous enough to buy convertibles in Chicago, but the sad truth is that the climate here is rather harsh to the point that "rag tops" are not practical. Winters are long and either rainy or snowy where temps hover in the upper 20's -lower 40's from Thanksgiving through about March 15. Springs are a long shot at best where it may be 80 degrees until winds turn off the lake and then temps plumet into the lower 40's within an hour! Summers are pleasant, but can get brutally hot and humid as we just experienced over the past month, and falls are very pleasureable but short.

Over salting on the roads in the winter months eats away at everything on cars including those nice rag tops and tends to die them some sort of ugly brown/blackish grey. My advice would be to reconsider getting a convertible and maybe going with some sort of car with a hard top that recesses into the car. I think the Scion and Pontiac offers a top like this, or just get yourself a car with a moon roof.

Cabs are everywhere downtown, but it is not like NYC where cabs are even in the neighborhoods as well. If you are in the Loop area or around the Mag Mile you will have no problem finding a cab and the fares are comparable with other cities like NYC, Chicago may be a little lower with it's fares.
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Old 08-29-2007, 02:58 PM
 
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I have a convertible. I had it before I moved here. It's fine. It's not ideal, obviously, during the winters, but Chicago summers are great for ragtops. I was headed up Lakeshore Drive just last night on my way back from a nice dinner in the Mag Mile thinking about how beautiful this town is on pretty summer night under an almost-full moon.

If you have a garage you're golden. I street-park mine, and even that's fine, if not ideal.

Cabs are affordable in moderation. They're definitely easier to find the closer you are to the loop, but most neighborhoods east of, say, Ashland (on the north side, anyway) are pretty cab friendly. In my experience, anyway.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,707 posts, read 102,687,747 times
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Convertibles aren't exactly a rarity in Chicago, so obviously a few people think there's enough warm months to make it worth their while. You can have the best of both worlds by getting a convertible with a folding hard top. They are becoming increasingly common and available on entry-market cars such as the VW Eos and the Pontiac G6. Absent that, there's always a removable hard top for many ragtops if you have the storage space for it during warm-weather months.

Cabs are plentiful in pretty much all of the busy nightlife spots right up through 4am. I have little trouble getting a cab as far out as Irving Park Rd. and Pulaski (4000N, 4000W) during the daytime. After hours outside of nightlife areas though, it's a crapshoot.
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Old 08-30-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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another thing to think about is the ROAD CONDITIONS in chicago. If you get a car that's really sporty, as many convertibles are, it may only come with rear-wheel drive and/or be super low and you'll be so screwed in the winter. You will slip and slide everywhere and get stuck in the snow. I'm not saying you can't have a car in chicago...just keep those factors in mind.
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:30 AM
 
145 posts, read 641,654 times
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I'll give you a different take but the upshot is "bring the ragtop if you have no kids and no plans to go out the 'burbs on a regular basis." I've got 2 cars, one of which pretty much defines the sports car world, so it is utterly impractical in most situations, but great fun in small doses that add to the experience of living in downtown Chicago. So, I think a ragtop, even if impractical, will add to your experience here.

Since you work downtown and want to live in the highrises, about the only time you * may need* to drive anywhere is when you are headed out to 'burbs or going to Home Depot/CostCo/Target run or if you have kids, take the kid to day care. The 'burbs are not doable without a car but since you have a ragtop, most likely 'burbs are not doable for you if you want to visit them in winter months. The home depot/target/etc are very do-ables with cabs unless you prefer to drive yourself or make a day out of it, in which case you definitely need a car that can go year round. Taking the kids to daycare will require an all weather car, so if you have kids of that age, my advice will be to add another car or trade the ragtop for something more practical. Lastly, downtown streets are plowed continuously after any snow, so driving on them is no big deal but they do salt the heck out of them!
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:19 PM
 
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Yeah, I guess it depends what kind of convertible you have. I have a Sebring and I drive it all winter. I drive to the burbs and Rockford and wherever else. I have no problems that anyone in a standard car wouldn't deal with, really. The main problems would be low ground clearance, RWD, and draft/top maintainence. Only one of those is unique to convertibles.
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:24 AM
 
21 posts, read 70,331 times
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Thanks for all the input! No kids, and a very occasional need to go outside of downtown. Covered parking, so maybe I'll keep my ragtop dream alive! It'll be funny though, as I'll be re-locating in the fall, just as Winter creeps in! As for the salt, better to buy a car from outside Chicago?

Cheers,

SJ
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:09 AM
 
7,330 posts, read 15,313,077 times
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Always better to buy a car from below the rust belt. Somewhere warm and away from the oceans. Rust kills.
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Old 09-03-2007, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Born + raised SF Bay; Tyler, TX now WNY
8,325 posts, read 4,568,071 times
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How about the salting in winter? I didn't know anybody even still used salt - up in the Sierras in California, we started using sand instead.

Anyway, just how badly would this affect a car? I have a rather rare car and although I don't have a huge emotional connection to it, I am somewhat paranoid about preserving as much of its resale value as I can...
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