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Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Eau Claire...
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Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

I've been trying to do this on my own, but I'm just getting more confused. This is will be our first trip to Chicago, me (Mom) and 22 yr old son. We will be arriving on Tuesday 05/28 and departing on Sunday 06/02. The only definitely scheduled activity is The Book of Mormon on Thursday 5/30 at 7:30.

I am completely confused about hotels, areas, trains. We can't afford to stay downtown so I have been looking in areas like LaGrange or Schaumburg where apparently we would drive from the hotel and park the car at a train stop? We have never been anywhere that uses trains, subways, etc.

Other than the Book of Mormon, we plan to go to Navy Pier, Field Museum, Science & Industry, China Town, and a river architecture cruise. I'm not sure what else. My son is not interested in the aquarium or the planetarium.

Is there a safe area with a hotel like Country Inn & Suites that would be a logical place to stay with the transportation we would need to access?

I will likely be asking many more questions in the next two months, so thank you in advance for any assistance.

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Lagrange and Schaumburg are perfectly safe but very far out. Plan to spend 1hr each way commuting on the train. You can do it but it is far. And I'm not so sure it's less than some of the more inexpensive downtown options. There are inexpensive chains in river north area, which is where most tourists stay. You can stay there without being in a fancy hotel.

Check that there's not a major convention when you're here which would drive up hotel prices.

Edited: 1:25 pm, March 18, 2013
Eau Claire...
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2. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Thank you - that's very helpful. I had no idea it would be an hour train ride from those locations.

West Michigan
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3. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Dont know about a convention..but it is Memorial Day weekend, and you are right..the prices are sky high!

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Also, maybe look at Evanston and Skokie or Rosemount. If you stay there, you're closer to downtown and, honestly, if you'll have a car, as long as you avoid rush hour, you could just drive. It would take more like 1/2 hr to get to where you want to go. And Parking for less than a full day at MSI or the Field is probably something like $25-$30, which may be cheaper than staying downtown.

Part of the problem with the Metra train from Schaumburg or LaGrange to downtown, is it'll drop you at Union Station or Oglivie Station a little west of the loop and none of the tourist stuff is walking distance. From there to Navy Pier, Field, or architecture cruise, you've still got to take a bus or cab. MSI is several miles south of downtown from there. Chinatown is a couple miles. It's all do-able by cab or bus, but adds to the commute time.

Saint Charles...
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5. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

I agree with the previous post that a lot of your trip for a commute from Schaumburg or somewhere near will cost you a lot. I suggest that you look at Days Inn Chicago. It's north of downtown but still in Chicago. If you call the desk directly that's usually better because the website is not always accurate for room availability. I'm not familiar with the brand hotel that you mentioned, but I know that there's a Candlewood Suites next to O'Hare airport if having a kitchen available is important for you in your room, but commuting from O'Hare on the blue line further into Chicago could be another 45 minutes for you, so that's not really the best thing I think. There's a Howard Johnson's near downtown, with free parking, and there's a Red Roof Inn really close to Michigan Ave. Both of these places are nothing fancy from what I've heard. I've stayed at the Best Western in River North, a neighborhood mentioned in the previous post. That Best Western was quite good, and not too expensive. I think that parking is free there.

Chicago, IL
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6. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

There will be 31,000 oncologists in town while you're here. Generally, hotels release blocked rooms about 30-days before the convention date. So, you may be able to find deals in about a month.

The Evanston/Skokie area would be much better. They're closer to the city and downtown Evanston has several restaurants and activities in itself. The Orrington Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn in Evanston are around $150/nt. The Doubletree in Skokie is around $120/nt and the Extended Stay is $89.

From Evanston, you'd take the CTA Purple Line to Howard and transfer to the Red Line downtown. From Skokie, you can drive about a mile to the Yellow Line station at Dempster, then take that to Howard.

Check www.transitchicago.com for complete transit info, maps, fares, a trip planner and how to track buses and trains with a smart phone. Transit passes may also be a wise investment. They allow unlimited rides on all CTA trains and buses. A 3-day pass is $20 and a 7-day is $28. They're available at most Walgreen's and CVS pharmacies or Jewel and Dominick's supermarkets.

Illinois
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7. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Hotwire's got availability in the Evansotn/Skokie area below $100/night.

Check rates at the Hampton Inn in Skokie. They have free parking/free breakfast/indoor pool. Right off of 94 and a quick ride to the CTA yellow line station. You'll be downtown in about an hour.

Eau Claire...
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8. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

We don't want to be an hour from downtown. I will need to find something closer. From what I have read I thought it was better to park the car at a hotel and use public transportation, but if it's easier to drive then I will do that. I was just concerned about the parking charges at the downtown hotels.

Chicago Suburbs
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9. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Go to google maps to for point-to-point directions via car or public transit to get a better undertanding of how long it takes to get places in Chicago. Plan on bad traffic if you drive to commute via car from the suburbs.

Chicago, IL
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10. Re: Assistance with 5/28-6/2 trip

Most hotels are in the central city. There are very few in the neighborhoods until you reach the subrubs like Evanston, Skokie and Rosemont /O'Hare which are all about an hour from downtown via public transit.

I would not recommend driving into/out of the city in rush hour traffic as it can take much longer than an hour from those areas. In addition, parking at most garages downtown is expensive and gas right now is around $3.90/gal in the city.

If you let the posters know what your budget is, they can help steer you toward hotels that match. You may do well to book something you can cancel now, and keep looking until the end of April when the blocked rooms open.

If you find a hotel downtown, most charge around $50/night for parking. However, in most parts of the city, there are independent garages that will only be around $30/night. You can find garages near whatever hotel you choose at www.chicago.bestparking.com or www.chicagoparkingmap.com