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Need some Chicago planning advice

Earth
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Need some Chicago planning advice

I am considering a weekend trip to Chicago this fall in conjunction with a football game. This will leave me some sightseeing time on Saturday and Sunday. I will avoid questions that I can find out from Fodor's, etc. but ask for your help with the following:

1. Are there any neighborhoods surrounding Midway or O'Hare that would raise safety concerns? I am leaning toward flying into Midway.

2. How bad is weekend traffic on I-294 getting to/from the Evanston area if I rent a car? How much is the toll? Is a taxi a better option than a car?

Thx for your replies!

Chicago, IL
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1. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

Are you going to a football game at Northwestern and staying downtown? If that's the case, skip renting a car and take public transportation up to Evanston on game day. Evanston is served by both the el and commuter trains.

If you are staying in Evanston, I'm not sure how I-294 factors into your plans, I wouldn't take it to Evanston from either airport so no tolls.

The neighborhoods surrounding both airports are fine, if you are staying downtown, the options are taking the el ($2), a taxi or an airport shuttle. Nothing that you have said so far regarding your plans warrants renting a car.

Illinois
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2. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

If you're flying into MDW, take a look at - http://www.midwayhotelcenter.com/.

From MDW to Northwestern, you can take a CTA orange line train to Roosevelt. Transfer to a northbound CTA red line train to Howard. Transfer to a purple line train to Central. It's $2 each way.

There's not much from a tourist standpoint around MDW. I wouldn't venture too far out from the MDW area.

To drive from MDW to Evanston, I-294 is out of your way. Instread, take I-55 towards downtown. Then take the Kennedy Expressway I-90/94 to the Edens Expressway (I-94). No tolls and more direct.

Flat rate (no meter) taxi from MDW to Evanston is $43. From ORD to Evanston it's $24.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

Assuming you are just flying in and then staying elsewhere, there are no safety concerns at either airport.

That being said, I would not venture too far from Midway except to get on the expressway. In certain directions there are outstanding family communities. However, if you go north you get into some rougher areas.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

It would probably be more helpful if you described what you plan to do.

Are you planning on flying in, staying downtown Chicago and driving to Evanston? are you planning on staying in Evanston and coming downtown to sightsee? Are you planning on staying at the airport and driving to the game and downtown?

Unless you have friends in Evanston, I would personally recommend staying in downtown Chicago. You can take the red line up to the purple line to get to evanston. the orange line goes from midway to downtown and the blue line goes from Ohare to downtown. Even if you are staying in Evanston, depending on your priorities you may want to take the train downtown to save money on parking or drive to save time. The CTA will take an hour and a half. the metra is fast, but you'll get off in the West Loop and it only runs every two hours on the weekend.

If you're driving, Lakeshore Drive to hollywood to Broadway is your best bet. From Ohare you will take 294 and get off at Dempster. On weekends it isn't too busy. It'll take you about 45 mins to get to Evanston from Ohare. It's a short drive, but Dempster gets crowded. From Midway I'd recommend takign I-55 to I-90/94 and taking that to Dempster which will take you right into Evanston. Probably take you an hour.

Earth
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5. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

This has been very helpful.

I'm still in the early planning stages of my trip, so I can't tell you what I would plan to do. I know for sure Evanston would be a day trip in/out, leaving me however long I have left to sightsee.

Pittsburgh...
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6. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

If you are going to Northwestern for a football game be aware that there is basically NO PARKING anywhere near the stadium. In fact, you are advised by NWU to use public transport or park away from the stadium and use their shuttle buses. As others have pointed out, you can get to NWU from downtown via the el.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

The neighborhoods just east of Midway where some of the hotels are can be pretty iffy. But as has been said elsewhere, if you're traveling up to Evanston, that's going to be way over an hour on the train so staying by Midway wouldn't really be an option anyhow.

Stay downtown and you can take the purple line express all the way into Evanston only stopping a couple of times in the city.

8. Re: Need some Chicago planning advice

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