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From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

GA
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From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

I am planing a roadtrip to Chicago from Alabama . The route will be like this

Montgomery, AL -- Memphis, TN--St. Lious--Springfield, IL- Chicago--Indianapolis--Nashville- Montgomery.

My parents and my two kids ( 6 and 9) will go together with me. My kids have no school from the last week of May to the middle of August. I know summer will be very busy for Chicago. So I checked the hotels in downtown Chicago. I can only find cheap downtown Chicago hotel at May 27-May 30 and June 30-July 3. May 27-May 30 is litter bit cheaper ( total $70) than Jun30 -July3.

Which time is better to do the road trip to Chicago from Alabama, in May 27-May 30 or Jun 30-July3?

About road trip, after doing some research on tripadvisor, here a rough schedule

Day 1, Driving to Memphis from Montgomery, visit Graceland in the afternoon. stay in Memphis

Day 2, We have a morning in Memphis, where can we take a look? We will drive to St. Louis and stay there

Day 3, Visit Gateway Arch in the morning, Saint Louis Zoo in the afternoon, then drive to Springfield, IL and stay there

Day 4, Visit Old State Capitol State Historic Site , capitol in Spring field in the morning, then drive to Chicago and stay there for three days.

Day 5, Museum campus, art institute of Chicago or the field museum

Day 6, Millennium Park and Michigan av.

Day 7, Navy pier . Check out and drive to Indianapolis, stay there.

Day 8, Hall of the fame museum of Indianapolis speedway, Children's museum, stay Indianapolis

Day 9, drive to Nashville. On the road, visit National Corvette museum and Mammoth Cave. Stay in Nashville

Day 10, what can we do in the morning of Nashville? then drive back to Montgomery.

How do you think about this plan? Is it too crazy? Do I miss anything? Any advices welcome! Is 10 days too short or too long for this road trip?

My parents don't know English. They are interested in famous tourist area, taking pictures.

Thank you very much!

Marina, California
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1. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

I think the plan looks fine. I would put the Lincoln Museum and tomb as a priority over the state capitol historic site, but that may be just me. The Lincoln tomb is certainly more famous.

Consider the City Museum in St. Louis as an alternative to the zoo. The kids would certainly enjoy it, but it's fun for adults as well.

May 27th is Memorial Day, so that's likely to be busier than other days. Then again, it may actually calm down quite a bit right after Memorial Day. Is that when you'd leave Alabama? Summer is definitely the popular time to visit Chicago. It can actually get quite hot and humid in July. Honestly, I would not trust a $70 per night hotel that's close to Downtown Chicago. Even Hotwire hotels rarely dip below $120 in the summer. You also have to consider the costs of parking the car there, as it tends to run $30-50 per night at the hotel itself, and at least $20 at the cheaper garages and lots. If you're trying to save money, you may want to consider staying at a hotel outside of Downtown but near public transit, so you can save money on the room and the parking. For information and decisions on that, I would post in the Chicago forum, as they're certainly much more knowledgeable about it than I am.

GA
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2. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

Thank you a lot! Very helpful!

We will stay in downtown Chicago for three days, on May 27- 30 or on June 30 -July 3rd. The hotel I pick is Embessy suite Chicago lakefront which is $ 141 per day during May 27-30 and $160 per day during June 30-July 3. This is the cheapest and comfortable hotel I can find in Downtown.

We will leave Montgomery on May 24th or June 28th. So which time is better for this road trip?

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

Day 1- on your way to Memphis you can stop in Tupelo and drive by Elvis boyhood home and church. Days inn is OK for hotel near Graceland but would recommend staying downtown- Marriott Residence Inn is good and there are plenty of other hotels too.

Day 2- you can go down to the river at Mud Island or Tom Lee park, go to the Memphis zoo, walk around downtown/Beale Street, see Civil Rights museum.

Day 10- you can visit Country Music Hall of Fame or go out to Andrew Jackson's home- The Hermitage and walk around.

Hope this info helps and if you have other questions please let us know!!

Chicago's North...
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4. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

just in case you're not in the Chicago forum anymore:

the chicago summer season doesn't really kick off till after memorial day... since you're from ATL or AL, you're accustomed to scorching, oppressively hot, humid temps in the summer....so, a coupla days in the hi 80's/90's should be no big deal for you..... so having said that, i think you're better off going on your trip in july or august.... also, lake michigan *should* be warm enough for swimming by then (i guarantee it will be too cold in may) because since you're taking your kids, you must spend at least a few hours at one of our fine downtown beaches......

regarding lodging, since you'll have a car, consider staying in one of the near northern suburbs such as skokie or evanston, which are easily accessible by CTA and METRA trains (or western suburbs--shorter drive if you're coming from the south and accessible by METRA)..... you'll see a bunch of subsequent posts screaming you shouldn't stay out in the 'burbs cuz it ain't really chicago.... but be advised, you will pay dearly for parking in the city, upwards of $40-50/day.....

GA
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5. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

To StrangeTripper, yes, we get used to 90F and even more during the summer in deep south. 80F is really not a big deal for us to travel. We all like beach, especially kids. According these, the end of June seems better. If we stay in Embassy Suites Chicago Lakefront, which beach is closest one and easy to access?

Yes, the $36 self parking fee and $15 WIFI in Embassy Suites Lakefront kill the hotel deal ($160 per day) at all. However, I don't know how to find suburb hotel which is close CTV and Metra trains. And it'd better be suites because we have 5 persons. If we book two hotel rooms , it will definitely add the total cost up. Can you recommend one or two suitable suburb hotels for me?

The whole budget is my concern too. With all admission fee for museums and parks for five persons, the cost of this ten-day road trip will be easily more than $2000. I wish I could control the budget below $2500.Is $2500 budget reasonable or too tight?

GA
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6. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

to PeachBelle8288, very helpful suggestions. Thanks!

Marina, California
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7. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

For questions specific to Chicago, I really do think it'd be best creating a separate post in the Chicago forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g35805-i32-Chicago…

A budget for a Chicago trip can really vary. I went with my wife last year on the same weekend as another couple from her work and they spent something like 3 times more than we did. But we stayed in the suburbs, did not visit any of the paid attractions, ate cheaply, and relied solely on the CTA trains to get into the city.

georgia
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8. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

I would budget a bit more considering that five people will be traveling. We travel to Chicago to visit relatives and so we stay at lodgings nearer to where they live but near public transportation so that we can visit the sights downtown. The Art Institute is on Michigan Ave. so you could visit there on the day you go to Millenium Park. I would also suggest a boat ride on the Chicago River to see the city's architectural sights.

In Springfield, the Lincoln Home and Lincoln tomb are the best sights. There is a tour of the home and the area around it. Mammoth Cave takes time to visit especially with timing the tours. So check the hours online.

GA
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9. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

Thank you for the responses. Now I think late June is a better choice. We will stay in Embassy suites lakefront at downtown Chicago between June 30 to July 3rd. Here is the revised road trip itinerary.

Thur. June 27, Montgomery to Bowling Green, TN, may stop in Huntsville, AL to take a look US space and rocket center, or stop in Nashville to take a look the Country Music Hall of Fame. We are not Country Music Fan, so I don't know if it is worthy to stop in Nashville for couple of hours.

Fri. June 28, Bowling Green to Louisville. On the way to Louisville, we will visit National Corvette museum

and Mammoth Cave National Park. If we arrive Louisville before 4pm, we will go to Kentucky Derby Museum. Then we will go to churchill downs to watch living race and enjoy Happy Hour there. Is it too busy today?

Sat. June 29, Louisville to Indianapolis, IN. I will bring kids to Children's Museum. I think my parents are not interested and will be bored in Children's Museum. Where should they go? They love sightseeing and window shopping. Any place recommended?

Sun, June 30, In the morning, we will take a look Indianapolis speedway and Hall of fame. Then we will drive to Chicago and check in downtown hotel. During evening, we will walk to John Hancock Center and take a look beautiful city view from the bar.

Mon. July 1, Chicago, Grant Park and Millennium Park, Architecture River Tour from Navy pier

Tu. July 2. Chicago, The art Institute of Chicago,

Wed. July 3. Check out. go to the museum campus, the field museum. Pick up car in the afternoon and driving to st. Louis. One the way, may stop at springfield, IL, take a look Lincoln home?

Thur. July 4. City museum for kids, Then Gateway arch. Drive to Memphis, TN.

Friday, July 5. Graceland in Memphis, TN. Then drive back to home in Alabama

How about this itinerary? Any suggestions welcome! Thanks a lot!

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: From Alabama to Chicago, which time is better. Detail plan.

June 28- I think you can do all of this if you take one of the short tours at Mammoth Cave NP- i.e. Historic Tour or New Entrance Tour- go to visitor center when you get there and sign up or see if you can do the next tour.