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Honeymoon in Chicago

Walton
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Honeymoon in Chicago

My fiancé and I will be honeymooning August 9-14 in Chicago. We wanted to stay downtown at a place where it is $120 and less a night but noticed that there are outrageous parking charges each night at all of the motels. We are now looking to stay at the Comfort Suites O'Hare in Schiller Park, IL or the Quality Inn O'Hare in Schiller Park. Both provide a 24-hour shuttle to the train station so we can get downtown. Do you think that this will be a better option? We are looking to attend a White Sox game (I think the Cubs game is sold out?) and go see Wicked the Broadway play, Sears Tower, and one of the Lake Michigan beaches. We will be getting a 7-day pass to ride the buses/trains. How do we figure out where we need to make the stops on the buses/trains? How do you actually "make the stop?" Does the buses/trains stop at every stop or do you pull a little cord like on the trolleys? Is the White Sox stadium area safe? I've heard that it is in the "south side." Thanks!

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1. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

Since it's your honeymoon, I would still go for the downtown hotel. There are several cheaper parking options downtown (try the garages at Millenium Park http://www.millenniumgarages.com/Source/Home.aspx) Other members know some cheaep parking options as well. The problem with Schiller Park is that you will spend an hour each way on the train getting into downtown and the Blue Line (which you'll be taking) is undergoing major rennovations and may even have to be transfered to a bus if the tracks are closed.

As for "making the stop" all CTA trains stop at every stop for that line (unless the stop is closed for consturction.) For busses, you will need to pull the chord to alert the driver that you want to get off. They do not stop at all stops unless asked or if a person is waiting at the stop.

For up to date CTA information (including closed stations) check out www.transitchicago.com

As for the area around the Sox stadium, it's not the best and there's not too much to do there either. People tend to show up, go to the game and go home. that said, there are one or two places around. An article on Metromix for bars around the Sox stadium can be seen here: http://chicago.metromix.com/user/playlist/780

I'd recommend Jimbos. It would be smart to go early to the game, go to a bar before the game, but once the game is over go back to the train and head north. You shouldn't have anything to worry about especially if there's a crowd around, but after the game (especially if it's a night game) and the crowd clears while you're in a bar, it can be intimidating alone at night.

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2. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

The trip from the O'Hare area to downtown will likely take around one hour each way. Keep in mind that there is a great deal of construction on the Red and Blue Lines and trains are rerouted on some days. Check the CTA site a couple days before you travel for current announcements.

You could very likely get one of the 3- or 4-star hotels downtown on the bidding sites such as Priceline or Hotwire for your price range. If you've never used them, check www.biddingfortravel.com or www.betterbidding.com for tips.

Parking at most hotels is in the $40-$50 range, but if you park offsite and walk a couple blocks, you can pay half that. The Millennium Park garage is close to the Hyatt, Palmer House, Fairmont, Monaco and Swissotel. There are other garages that are convenient to other hotels also.

The trains stop at each station. There is no signal. For maps and a trip planner, check www.transitchicago.com. It will tell you the closest stop to your destination and give you several combinations of train/bus/walking so you can choose the one that's best for you. On buses, you'll have to pull the cord or push the button to signal what stop you want.

You can take the Red Line subway to Cellular Field, and walk the couple blocks to the stadium, but you may not want to venture too far beyond that. You could stop in Chinatown on your way back for dinner. It's one stop north at Cermack.

Unless you have a specific reason for visiting the Sears Tower, the Hancock Building is more convenient to most things. You could go to the lounge at the Signature Room for a cocktail, then head to a nice restaurant for dinner one night. Don't eat at the Signature Room as the food is only ok and the prices are high for what you get.

If you want to see "Wicked," you should start looking for tickets ASAP. Your only option at this late date may be going through a broker who will charge a premium beyond face-value.

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pgo
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3. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

You'll have a much better time if you adjust your budget and get a hotel downtown or near north. The airport area is not romantic. See if you can stay somewhere cheaply on the road on your way to and from the city.

Parking at Millennium garage is about $25 a day. The easiest entrance is on Columbus Drive off of Monroe Street. Plan to park the car and leave it; most places charge for parking.

If Wicked tickets are not available, there are 100 other choices for plays and music. Look for free concerts, etc., on www.choosechicago.com and check plays on www.chicagoplays.com and metromix.com

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4. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

pgo's statement "the airport area is not romantic" is quite an understatement. If I was honeymooning and ended up at that Schiller Park area, I will be very, very upset at my new husband.

pgo
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5. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

Also, check Hotwire.com for rooms. If you arrive in the city on the 10th instead of the 9th, you have several options for under $120 in the downtown and Michigan Avenue/ Streeterville areas. You may not get the best room in the hotel, but the hotels themselves will be a big step up from the ones you were considering. Avoid the Museum Campus area - there are some shabby hotels there.

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Walton
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6. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

I think that we will be looking into staying downtown now since it is more romantic. Here are the hotels that we are considering and the total for our stay (rates are from Expedia):

Congress Plaza $724.24

The Tremont $721.62

Ambassador East $648.59

Hotel Monaco/Hotel Burnham $895

Hotel Allegro Chicago $895

Best Western River North $975.94 (With Free Parking)

Our budget is $1700. Our trip is going to be roughly 7 hours to get there and 7 hours back, give or take some minutes. With our budget, could we get to see Wicked, Shedd Aquarium, Lake Michigan beaches, White Sox game, and maybe some more attractions and be able to eat and get our room and parking? What are some parking garages near these motels that aren't too expensive where we could leave our car for 4 or 5 days? These motels want to charge $40 to park. No way we can afford that

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pgo
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7. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

You learn fast! What a great husband you'll be....

Of the ones you've mentioned, I would pick the Tremont, Monaco or Burnham. The Tremont is in a very classy neighborhood, with a ton of expensive shops, etc. The rooms are small, and it's an older property. The Monaco's location would let you walk to many sites (you wouldn't need the CTA visitors pass) and it is more modern. The Burnham is a very stylish hotel, but it is right downtown, and somewhat noisy. The Ambassador East is not bad, but parking is ridiculous, and you won't be able to walk to as many sights.

Your wedding is on Saturday, right? Think twice about driving the whole 7 hours after all that - weddings are exhausting, and you'll be paying for a room you'll be arriving at after midnight. If you can stay somewhere in Indiana, then drive the rest of the way on Sunday morning, you'll have a fairly easy time of it.

Be sure to mention that it's your honeymoon when you check in. Also, wear something nice when you check in - they'll treat you better.

White Sox tickets are not too hard to get. Wicked tickets are going to be budget-busters.

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8. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

Depending on which hotel you choose there are numerous parking options. Count on $25/day for a self-park garage.

Are you driving in on the 9th and home on the 14th? If you're driving home on the 14th and were planning to leave early that morning, you might want to consider leaving late on the 13th and staying someplace less expensive for your last night.

There are reasonably cheap hotels still showing up on hotwire. Someone who's more familiar with the options there can probably tell you what they likely are.

It sounds like you'll have maybe $700 left of your budget after hotel and parking costs to last the two of you 6 days, or whatever portion of those days you'll have in Chicago.

Wicked tickets if they're available will run at least $40 each and could easily be double that depending on what's still available.

You can get transit passes for the duration of your stay for around $20 each, so that makes for pretty affordable transportation.

The regular admission to Shedd is $25 each. I don't know what baseball tickets cost, but maybe count on $10-20 each for that depending on what seats you choose. You can use the beaches all you want for free right in Chicago.

So now you've got maybe $450-$500 left to buy food for two people for 6 days and whatever else you choose to see. There's lots to do and eat in Chicago for cheap, but you'll have to be prepared in advance so you know where to find that stuff.

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9. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

My fiance and I are heading to Chicago for our honeymoon too. We're heading there in 2 weeks. We really wanted to go to a cubs game and found that they were all sold out when I went to purchase tickets. I ended up going onto ebay and found tickets for the exact game we wanted. We got not to bad of seats and they weren't too much more than if we bought them through the cubs website. Maybe check into that.

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pgo
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10. Re: Honeymoon in Chicago

Beware of fake tickets. There have been several arrests and over a hundred cheated customers this year, according to the Chicago Tribune.