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Amtrak..what can you tell me?

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Houston
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Amtrak..what can you tell me?

Looks like we will make Chicago our destination. Have looked at several downtown hotels and parking is EXPENSIVE (as high as $45 per day)!

Amtrak offers a 6:30am departure from Indy and a 5:30pm departure from Chicago. Roundtrip fare, coach, is $18pp. We can use public transportation, taxis and our feet when we arrive.

So, what can you tell me aboout Amtrak? Is it clean and comfortable. Hubby is 6'6". I've ridden EuroStar fast trains in Italy, but have never used the train in the States.

Houston's public transportation is all but non-existant; hubby is uneasy with the thought of being carless.

Thanks...

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

I believe Amtrack drops you off in a pretty convenient spot on the very near south side of the shopping/theater district. The cars are pure city utilitarian, and clean would be an overstatement, although they're not filthy. At least that's been my experience.

Dave

Houston
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2. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

Umm...not exactly a glowing recommendation. Thanks for the heads-up. Much appreciated.

Indianapolis...
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3. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

It's funny because before you asked, I was going to post the option for taking the South Shore Line into Chicago since the parking is so ridiculous. The South Shore Line isn't part of Amtrak, so you won't find it on their site.

The idea was that you could drive straight north from Indy to see some of Indiana Amish country, and then drive over to enjoy one of the beach towns on Lake Michigan that has a stop on the line (I can't remember the name right now) and then take it into Chicago. The line ends right by Millennium Park and has stops at many of the major museums. (ChiTownFriend on the Chicago forum recommended that to me.)

When I find the link, I'll post it.

Indianapolis...
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4. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

Here's the link for the South Shore Line. It's popular with commuters, and has historically been the line that people from Chicago would take to get to the Dunes and a few of the beach towns on weekends. You can even buy historic posters of the line.

I have yet to take it, but several people on the Chicago forum thought that would be a good idea. Hopefully the trains are pleasant as well as convenient!

http://www.nictd.com/

Indianapolis...
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5. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

A couple of websites:

Indiana Dunes

http://www.casualcoast.com/

Northern Indiana Amish Country

http://www.amishcountry.org/

Indianapolis...
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6. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

BTW: The Chicago forum regulars give great advice about using public transportation. Because parking is such a hassle and they have an extensive transportation system, I believe that is the preferred way for locals to travel downtown. I'd definitely ask for tips there!

Houston
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7. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

Lily...thanks for the info! We Houstonians are definately public transportation "challenged"; I think babies born in this area come with tiny car keys clutched in their hands.

The last time I was in Chicago (16-18 years ago)we paid $20 a day for parking at the Hyatt on E. Wacker.

We were like country bumpkins interpreting "upper" and "lower" streets. Here, "upper" means above street level. Lower Michigan Ave. was a little scary!

Hope Indy will be as gorgeous in early May as it was last April!

Indianapolis...
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8. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

MeMe,

I know what you mean!

I have read that the parking garage under Millennium Park has one of the best rates in the Chicago if you'd prefer to drive. Just $23/day! :-)

www.grantparkparking.com/Source/Rates.aspx

millenniumpark.org/generalinformation/direct…

I hope you have a great trip!

Lily

Indianapolis...
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9. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

I haven't done Amtrak, but my wife has. About fours years ago her and some friends did a weekender up in Chicago via train. She enjoyed it. We went up to Chicago two summers ago for the air and water show (it's worth going to), we stayed about 3 blocks from the lake and overnight parking was $34.00 a night. If you figure gas at $3.00 a gallon and that, the train is probably well worth it. Travel time is pretty comparable.

Bloomington, Indiana
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for Bloomington
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10. Re: Amtrak..what can you tell me?

Might also check out Megabus (www.megabus.com?) as an alternative way to get there. You can get fares for as low as $1 (plus a nominal service fee of $.50(?).

My wife recently did a round trip for something like $8.50.