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best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

Queensland...
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best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

hi, two Aussies going to be in Chicago around Thanksgiving. We will have a car and from what i have read Chicago is not the best place to be driving around if you don't know your way around.

So, I thought we might stay in a near city suburb and train and bus our way around to see the sites. We want to see the Chess studios on Sth Michigan and Maxwell st etc(Buddy Guys, and whatever else is recommended).

any suggestions for somewhere easy and close to see all?

ps we have 3-4 days in town.

Thanks in advance.

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Illinois
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1. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

You don't need a car in Chicago. Parking is very expensive and public transit is cheap and abundant.

Use www.hotels.com or similar site and check rates for properties in Skokie. All are close to the CTA yellow line train station. From there, it's a 45-60 minute train ride downtown.

www.transitchicago.com for public transit information. There's a trip planner tool on the homepage. A 3-day CTA visitor pass might be a good option for your visit.

pgo
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2. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

Is this a situation where you have hired a car for the whole trip, and Chicago is somewhere in the middle? You may find downtown hotel packages that include parking, or you can park at some lots for $25 a day or less.

Dave's suggestion of Skokie is a good budget choice. You can deal with the traffic in a couple of ways: take public transportation on Monday through Friday, but drive down on weekends to see the sites that are less accessible. As far as I remember, Chess Studios' site is just a building; there's not much to keep you interested.

Chicago, IL
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3. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

Assuming you have a car because Chicago is just one stop, stay somewhere there is public transport to get you downtown, driving in Chicago is not a picnic, it could be snowing by then and you are used to driving on the opposite side of the road which makes it even more hazardous. In addition to Skokie, Evanston, Oak Park, near Midway and O'Hare airports are all accessible to downtown via the CTA (bus and/or el).

Maxwell Street isn't the Maxwell Street of days gone by, it's been gentrified and is now more or less of the UIC campus. The Maxwell Street market was moved twice and is now on Des Plaines on the other side of the expressway, I wouldn't go out of my way to see the old or the new.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_Street

Queensland...
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4. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

Thanks to you for your replies(all of you). We planned about 4 days in chicago including the Thanksgiving parade. Yes Chicago is around the midpoint of our trip. We will definitely take on board what you lovely people have to say and keep the car out of the city(safer for you locals as well). Skokie and the other places sound fine so we will make our choice from them.

thanks again

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

I believe that Millenium Park Garage is still under $20. You could drive into the city and park the car there for the duration of your visit. It is often more fun to stay in the city and not be tied to the train schedule at night. You could time your arrival into the city for a non rush hour time. Get there, stash the car in the garage, enjoy the city....then head out again at a non busy time. Just a thought.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

As you do your research, don't overlook the idea of having a car in the suburbs and driving it to the train to go to the city. If you can rent one cheaply that might be ideal.

Chicago
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7. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

Millenium Park garage is still a good deal but is around $26-28 dollars a day now. O'Hare area is another one to consider, make sure your hotel has a shuttle to the Blue Line or drive to the Cumberland park and ride. I think you would really like staying downtown/River North and not have to commute back and forth, but you obviously know what you prefer best. I wouldn't bother staying in the Midway area.

Swartz Creek
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8. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

you have alot of options, and cities like Northbrook, Arlington heights, elk Grove Village, Palantine, Wheeling, Glencoe, Skokie even Schumburg could work if you have a car. Your basically going to do what the locals do. Either take the METRA Train, park near the station, or take the Subway aka El or "L" from somewhere around Ohare. There is a big parking structure at Rosemont near Ohare. You can park for the day. Get a CTA card or visitor pass for ease of hop on hop off and not having to hassle with cash. If you use the METRA, you have to plan a schedule, it doesn't run as frequently as the subway train. But it is a very nice train, like Aamtrak. You buy a ticket at the station or on board if the station office is closed. The suburbs offer a ton of options. I was at the Westin Northshore a coupla years ago in Wheeling, and they offered a courtesy car free of charge to the local METRA stop and would pick you up with a phone call. Im sure many other hotels offer that service free or for a small fee. Way cheaper then parking downtown. It is POSSIBLE to park downtown, but its verrrrry expensive and during the week the traffic is a serious challenge. Unless a driver is familiar with downtown, I dont think its worth the aggravation to drive downtown. Take public transportation, like you asked, and bank on it taking a hour. ... Good luck!

Swartz Creek
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9. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

ps the metra runs thru all those towns and have their own train stations. See the website for more details or ask the motel/hotel.

10. Re: best place to stay in the suburbs to get around Chicago?

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