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Old 08-27-2009, 08:13 AM
 
5 posts, read 11,072 times
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We are a young couple, trying to do a budget Chicago vacation this Labor day weekend. We are driving in from Michigan.

1. We want to save money by staying at a airport hotel, instead of the big buck ones at Mag Mile. The toss up for hotels is between O'hare and Midway area. From another thread, I found that many of you preferred Midway to O'hare (considering transit times to Downtown). Do you recommend any hotels near Midway close to transit lines?

2. Is it dangerous to be on the Orange Line from Downtown to midway after 9 pm?

3. Is there no free weekend street parking in Downtown anymore?
4. There are a few companies offering segway tours of the city. Which do you like?
5. Best company for cruise experience from Navy Pier?
6. Which is a better tower experience for a couple: Hancock or Sears?
7. The car is going to be parked at the hotel, so will we miss it while getting around downtown or are all major attractions accessible by public transport?
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,537 posts, read 29,012,317 times
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IF you are going to go to the clubs one night, you'll probably be better off taking a cab back to the hotel. I used to get good rates on hotels that faced the Eisenhower Expressway (I-90 West). The hotel driver would take me to into Chicago and not charge. I have not been to Chicago for a while.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Chicago
4,684 posts, read 9,705,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
IF you are going to go to the clubs one night, you'll probably be better off taking a cab back to the hotel. I used to get good rates on hotels that faced the Eisenhower Expressway (I-90 West). The hotel driver would take me to into Chicago and not charge. I have not been to Chicago for a while.
That's the Kennedy Expressway.

I'd try bidding on priceline first to stay downtown. If you have to stay by the airports, O'Hare is actually probably the better bet. There are a number of hotels that are walkable to the 2 blue line stops in the O'Hare area. That isn't really the case at Midway. Try to stay at a hotel near either the Rosemont or Cumberland blue line stop.

Other things:

- No, there's no free weekend parking. If you're looking to save money, use public transit. Parking can be expensive.

- Chicago Architectural Foundation cruise

- Hancock has better views, Sears has the glass ledges now. Its a tossup.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:53 AM
 
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The Midway hotels (one compound with four flags, or brands) are a mile south of the Orange Line terminal. Some O'Hare area hotels are only a couple of blocks from the Cumberland or Rosemont stations. The ride downtown is half the time on the Orange Line, so if you don't mind starting and ending your journey on a connecting bus, that will save you a little time. But there are a lot more hotels in the O'Hare area.

Have you checked hotrooms.com, priceline.com, and hotwire.com for downtown hotels? You might be surprised, and it will save you 90 minutes each day.

Both Orange and Blue lines are perfectly safe at all times. The Orange Line quits running at 1 am, though.

No free parking downtown, but weekend rates near the Harrison or Roosevelt Red Line stations are less than $10/day. That might be worth it if you're saving big money on the hotel. It is possible to find free street parking near rapid transit stations outside downtown, but look very carefully at the posted signs. Parking may require a special permit for neighborhood residents only, or be forbidden that day for street cleaning. It's unlikely you would visit anything for which driving would be the most convenient way to get there. Just don't overlook the buses, which are an integrated part of the transit system. The 146 from Michigan Avenue to State Street in the Loop to the Museum Campus, for instance, or the 29 to Navy Pier, or the 6 or 10 to the Museum of Science & Industry. Because the museums are out on the lakefront, they are a long walk from the rapid transit stations. Your CTA farecard is good on both trains and buses.

The Segway tours are expensive, and only take you into Grant Park. They are not really tours of the city, but of a few park paths (from which you can admire the skyline). One is at the north end, on Randolph, and one is at the south end, starting at Jackson.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation tour doesn't leave from Navy Pier, but from Michigan/Wacker. It is the most expensive and helps support CAF's other educational efforts, but Wendella and Shoreline offer competing tours with knowledgeable guides (some of them trained by CAF). Tours leaving from Navy Pier are outside the Chicago Lock, so are primarily tours out in Lake Michigan. Shoreline Tours leave from River East, a block west of Navy Pier, but that puts them on the inside of the lock and so they can cruise right into the Chicago River.

Last edited by Mr Downtown; 08-27-2009 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:27 AM
 
25 posts, read 63,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swaroopb View Post
1. We want to save money by staying at a airport hotel, instead of the big buck ones at Mag Mile. The toss up for hotels is between O'hare and Midway area. From another thread, I found that many of you preferred Midway to O'hare (considering transit times to Downtown). Do you recommend any hotels near Midway close to transit lines?
There is a Days Inn in Lincoln Park that is reviewed favorably on Trip Advisor. I'd check that out for the days you plan to be there. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express at Midway on Thursday night before flying out early Friday morning and it was way more expensive than I thought it would be - I have gotten rooms downtown at nicer hotels for cheaper. Might be worth checking out.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:34 AM
 
1,325 posts, read 4,011,576 times
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I would go to priceline and use their "bidding" function. Ask for a 3 to 5 star hotel on N Michigan Ave area or downtown/Loop. Unless the city is really sold out on your dates you may get a deal (however, you will have to pay for parking at most hotels in the city). You can't pick the hotel when bidding, however, you can pick the area and number of "stars".
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:53 PM
 
Location: South Side
6,895 posts, read 10,852,815 times
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1. Do you recommend any hotels near Midway close to transit lines? -- I would do priceline and bid. However, there are motels near Midway which are decent.


2. Is it dangerous to be on the Orange Line from Downtown to midway after 9 pm? -- No. Not if you are urban savvy.


3. Is there no free weekend street parking in Downtown anymore? -- You can find a free space but they are few. Often you still have to pay for street parking.

4. There are a few companies offering segway tours of the city. Which do you like? -- I have no preference. Make sure the company offers helmets, too.

5. Best company for cruise experience from Navy Pier? -- Where you gonna cruise to? You want to see buildings through a glass awning then go with Wendella. You like to be out in the weather, go with the Sea Dog.

6. Which is a better tower experience for a couple: Hancock or Sears? -- My vote is for Big Willie for a skydeck experience. But I like Big John better to visit the shops, etc.


7. The car is going to be parked at the hotel, so will we miss it while getting around downtown or are all major attractions accessible by public transport? -- This is the big city. Unless you are going north of Chicago avenue or south of Roosevelt, leave the car at the hotel.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:15 AM
 
Location: USA
5,626 posts, read 5,111,477 times
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2. No.

4. I doubt that many Chicagoans have been on a Segway tour!

6. I would get the view from the Sears Tower, but stop over by the Hancock center to enjoy the ground floor and the surrounding streets.

7. I definitely wouldn't drive to the more popular Chicago attractions. Spending most of your time on your feet is a great way to sightsee as well as get a feel for the city, and the central region of Chicago is very pedestrian-oriented. Take public transit to the city center with a map and take a walking route to see as many attractions as you feel like, and take transit back at the end of the night. I recently visited a city and hiked around for 8 hours a day doing just that, it's completely free and it's the best way IMO to enjoy a dense city like Chicago.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,479 posts, read 11,677,645 times
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What about hotels in Evanston within walking distance to the purple line?
I like the bar on the 95th floor of the Hancock. Instead of spending $ to go on a sky deck, go have some drinks and/or munchies on the 95th. Lot cheaper than the restaurant too.
You might even be able to take Amtrak in from MI and leave the car parked at the train station.
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:02 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6,359 posts, read 8,212,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubssoxfan View Post
What about hotels in Evanston within walking distance to the purple line?
.
with the downtown Evanston purple line station (Davis) about 20 feet away from its Metra station, the advantage is increased. And when practical (like a west loop location like Sears Tower which is a fairly easy walk from Ogilvie), Metra offers a very quick trip into the city.
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