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Kimsgoingsomewhere

Priceline Hotel: loop/downtown 5/18 - 5/20

By Kimsgoingsomewhere,
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We have a reservation at the Fairmont from the 16th - 18th (HR meetings), then want the weekend for some sightseeing. The Fairmont (on the phone) says they're booked (plus, it was paid for through work, now we're on our own) I know theres a big restaurant convention going on, and prices are sky high! Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Kim

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The rates for 5/18-20 are ridiculous due to the convention. My best suggestion is the suburbs. It is a commute from the burbs, but there are several very nice burbs and there's plenty of reasonably priced hotels further out on these dates. Plus, it's really either spending $400+ to stay downtown at one of the few hotels left available or spending around $100-150 to stay at a nice hotel in the burbs. Given the commute of 35-45 minutes from some of the burbs, I think it's worth saving around $300.

Are you driving?

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HOTWIRE does have a 3.5* hotel in the NMA zone for $325/nite... but as you didn't mention your budget don't know if this is in the ballpark or not.

Please use our HOTWIRE link if you do decide to take this.

If not, give us an idea of your budget and/or your thoughts on the suburbs.

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Hi friends!

No car, we'll be using public transportation...

I'd rather stay in the city, girls weekend you know....but that extra money will cover a lot of drinks. I was hoping to keep it around 200/night, but I see that not really possible. Can the resident Chicago expert tell me how the public transporation is if we want to enjoy some night life in town? (Later on, maybe you can give me some suggestions!) Are we better off with the train or a cab? If we choose to stay in the burbs, are there some hotels that are closer to the train stations?

Thanks for all your help!

(Thereuare, you were a huge help with our trip to NYC last month!)

Kim

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In terms of the suburbs, you could stay out by the airport, but that's a pretty long trip in (the CTA Blue Line train from O'Hare can take as much as an hour) and while the CTA trains are fine for getting around the city, an hour on one isn't really how I'd like to spend my morning or evening unless I had to.

My favorite area to recommend is the North suburbs (Northbrook, Glenview, Deerfield), as these are really nice, upscale suburbs that are safe day & night. Plus, they are near Metra stations. Metra trains do not run as often as CTA trains (once an hour during weekdays and more frequently during rush hour; every 2 hours Sat/Sunday), but they do offer $5 unlimited rides on Saturday/Sunday and they are much more comfortable, with nicer seats, bathrooms (which the CTA trains do not provide), 2 levels and conductors. They're similar to Amtrak, but not meant for longer distances.

It's about a 35 minute Metra trip to Union Station downtown. Additionally, Union Station (huge, historic and busy) is a much nicer place to wait than a CTA platform if you find yourself having to travel back later at night (the last Metra leaves at about 12-12:30A.) Additionally, if you are traveling alone, you may feel better coming back on the Metra train later at night, as there's conductors on-board walking through the train.

You could also stay in Skokie, but that's a 20-30 minute bus trip (and the suburban Pace busses may have limited or no hours on weekends, depending) to either the Howard St. "L" (and it's another 25 minutes downtown) or downtown Evanston (where it's another 30-32 minutes by "L" or Metra). I'd have suggested downtown Evanston for hotels (as there are CTA and Metra stations in downtown Evanston, but the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Evanston is booked and the Orrington (which gets some pretty terrible reviews) is a ridiculous $349.

In terms of hotels near a Metra station further out, there's the Hilton Northbrook, which is $87.20 non-refundable via the hotel website. That's about 3.5-4 Miles from the Glenview Metra Station, which the hotel shuttle may be able to take you to (I'd call the hotel though, first) or a taxi.

Closer to a train station would be the Courtyard Marriott Deerfield, which is $79 and at 800 Lake Cook Road in Deerfield. The nearest Metra station is at 601 Lake Cook, so the station is just down the street a little ways. There's also a Residence Inn Marriott that's closer to the train at 530 Lake Cook. For $139, you get a 2 bed/2 BR suite with full kitchen that, according to the website, is 1000 Sq. Ft.

There's also the Wyndham Glenview Suites ($109), which is about 3 Miles (call regarding a shuttle) from the Glenview Metra Station, as well. The Courtyard Marriott Highland Park (also in the same general area) is a reasonable walk (about 1/4 a mile to the gate of Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe (chicagobotanic.org; free for walk-ins and beautiful this time of year) and has a shuttle to the Braeside Metra station. However, that's more expensive at $159.

None of the options are perfect, but all of them will be cheaper than downtown.

The Skokie area would be near the Old Orchard Mall, but getting from there via Bus to either the "L" or Metra is a more complicated trip and add a few minutes in-between to catch the bus or "L"/Metra, plus weekends may have limited or no schedule for the suburban busses. If you plan to stay out late and do stay in Skokie, you may want to take the Metra back to Evanston and cab it back to your hotel, as I'm personally not a huge fan of riding the "L" late at night.

The Northbrook/Glenview/Deerfield area is very nice, although there may not (depending on the hotel) be a great deal around the hotel. There's a lot of nature areas around the Hilton, for example (there's a stargazing presentation in one of them on the 19th), so it should be peaceful at night. The Metra will be a more comfortable ride into downtown and will be a nicer ride if you stay downtown towards Midnight - but has more limited weekend schedules.

The O'Hare area will be close to the airport if you're flying in/out of ORD and that area has a wide selection of hotels (some closer to "L" stations than others), but it's a long ride on the "L".

Any questions, please ask.

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