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Do I need to rent a car?

TN
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Do I need to rent a car?

Traveling with my 16 year old daughter to Chicago for a fun long weekend in early December. Is it better to stay downtown and avoid rental cars, or stay out of the city and drive in? We are budget conscioius. Found a good deal on a hotel 22 miles from the city, but I don't know if the savings will be worth the driving time.

Illinois City...
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11. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

In terms of clothing, you'll definitely need jackets (huge down jackets probably not necessary, but a warm wool jacket or something that isn't too light.) In terms of shoes, sturdy tennis/running/hiking shoes will probably be fine.

Illinois City...
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12. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

Throwing out some ideas:

Expedia.com has the Hilton Garden Inn downtown for $192. The hotel gets very good reviews and is in a great location a short walk from Michigan Ave. shopping. There's a grocery across the street and a refrigerator in the room if you want to bring some odds/ends back to snack on. Little likelyhood of much in the way of views, due to location.

Expedia also has the Buckingham Athletic Club for $200. That hotel is in the South Loop area on the 40th floor of the Stock Exchange Building. It's a private club that rents rooms to the public. Guests get use of the club's athletic equipment and free breakfast. There are regular rooms, but expedia only has lake view rooms (1 king bed; I don't believe there are 2 bed rooms at the hotel) available. Everest, a luxurious restaurant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everest_(Chicago_restaurant), is also located in the building. The location would not be far from museums, the Sears Tower and State St., but it would be a considerable walk to Michigan Ave. (or you could walk to the nearest Red Line train and then take that Northbound.)

You can see the Club's website here: www.bac-chicago.com/buckingham.asp…

The Amalfi Hotel, which is in the River North area not far from the Hilton Garden Inn, has rooms for $229, either on their website or on Expedia. That hotel does offer free breakfast on each floor, although again, with the location and buildings around it, views are unlikely.

Hotrooms.com has the Sutton Place hotel for $199 for your dates. That hotel is in the Gold Coast neighborhood, just a couple of minutes North by foot from the North end of the North MIchigan Ave. shopping area. The 4* hotel is located across from the popular Original Pancake House, which fills up quickly during breakfast hours.

In terms of outside the city, the Hilton Garden Inn in Evanston is $150 a night on Hilton.com. Evanston is a very nice college town (Northwestern) on the North border of Chicago with plenty of restaurants and shops. The Hilton is a block from both a CTA station and a Metra station, giving you a couple of options on how to get downtown.

In terms of Hotwire, there is a listing for your dates for a 4* in the Mag Mile/Wacker Drive area with the amenities: fitness, business, pool, spa, high-speed internet, restaurant. The price is $197 (you may see a slightly different rate.) While not guaranteed, that listing is likely the W Lakeshore.

I'll keep looking, but wanted to throw out these suggestions first.

pgo
Chicago
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for Chicago
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13. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

Early December has some bargain hotel rates downtown - check expedia 's map of what hotels are where. You should be able to stay downtown for just a little bit more than the suburbs. You don't want or need a car downtown - there is a train called the Orange Line from the airport to the Loop for $2 apiece. A cab will be at least $20 more.

Nothing wrong with good looking boots and a purse! You'll get better service if you are dressed up a bit. We could easily have a damp or slushy week, and athletic shoes can get soggy. You will want comfortable shoes for walking. Check the weather just before you go at: weather.wgntv.com/US/IL/Chicago.html?main=1

Be sure to pack gloves, a scarf and a hat. Tights or pantyhose under your slackas can add a layer of warmth. You'll be out in some cold weather, that's certain, but, aside from that, it is a fun time of year to visit.

Chicago, IL
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14. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

Chicago Card is for use on the CTA, both buses and el (subway), if you use for single fares you save .25 every time you ride. I think they require a deposit now. Maybe you meant to ask about a CTA visitors pass? Or the City Pass or Go Chicago Card which are for admission to museums/attractions?

The City Pass or Go Chicago Card make sense for some people and not for others, you really have to sit down and do the math based on which places you want to visit.

People in Chicago wear a wide variety of clothing, when I travel I'm much more concerned about being comfortable esp. if I'm walking a lot. It's possible that we could have snow on the ground in early December so pack at least one pair of shoes that can get wet and still be warm. And since I tend to be taking photographs and am often not paying attention, I never bring a purse on vacation. Chicago is no more dangerous than any other big city but the risk of being pickpocketed or having your purse snatched exists.

I've used Priceline probably 10-15 times and have always been satisfied with the hotel I get. Hotwire tends to be a little more expensive than Priceline but you get more information about the hotels on Hotwire. Both carry the same risk regarding non refundable rooms and not being able to change the dates. The websites I gave you have a huge amount of information on how to bid, what to bid and the risks associated with doing so.

Illinois City...
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15. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

Actually, in terms of the Hotwire deal I mentioned above, search for 1 adult and 1 child (which is what your party will be anyways) instead of 2 adults. The price should be around $175 instead of nearly $200.

Illinois City...
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16. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

In terms of the Go Chicago Card (and the similar City Pass), they're a good deal if you think that you are going to see enough of what they offer to justify the price. For example, admission to the Shedd is $23 per person alone.

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17. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

Regarding what to wear, I'd say look at the weather forecasts. Weather in Chicago can change quickly. Perhaps bring both walking shoes and boots. As far as renting a car, I'd say no. You'd be money ahead to take a cab. I can honestly recommend either of the Embassy Suite hotels downtown. They include a hearty breakfast and cocktail hour as well as central locations.

18. Re: Do I need to rent a car?

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