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  1. #1

    Default chicago cheap hotel/motel

    my wife and i are driving from pennsylvania to chicago on the 23rd. we are on a tight budget so i'm asking if anyone knows a cheap hotel/motel in downtown chicago where we could stay. we'll be spending our christmas there and be back on the 28th. thanks!

  2. #2
    imported_LAURA Guest


    It is unlikely to find a cheap hotel in downtown chicago. 100 dollars/night is probaly the lowest you'll find if you are lucky. If you are willing to stay 30-60 minutes outside of the downtown area, you'll have much better luck.

    Have you considerd hostels?


  3. #3

    Default Laura's right, but I have suggestions...


    I'm afraid that the previous poster is telling the truth. Lodging within the city of Chicago is AWFUL, to the point where the city government should consider SUBSIDIZING THE INDUSTRY!!! There is good reason for it though. Traffic in, around, and through Chicago is ridiculous. You lose half a day sometimes when you try to drive through it from end-to-end. (Ask anyone who has ever driven from Detroit to Minneapolis.)
    Thus, hotels and motels can pretty much charge whatever they want from tourists because traveling even ten miles into Chicago can be a tremendous pain in the butt.

    My first suggestion is to take a look at the website for Chicago's mass transit system. See if there are outlying cities that are along the various train lines that could serve as better means of transport. I noticed a train line running near the highway that was west and north of the city (towards Elgin, about thirty miles north of the city), but I'm pretty sure there will be lines running south and east as well. That would be your best case scenario, so long as motels in those areas don't overcharge because of the access (thinking about it, I'm sure they do)

    Other than that, your best bet is to stay east of the city, but be aware that you can run into problems with some of the local suburbs if you try to stay too close. Gary, Indiana - which is only 15 miles or so from Chicago -is a notoriously bad area for street crime. The lodging prices are quite reasonable there, but make sure that your motel has a secure parking area. (I'm not kidding. Gary's reputation for car vandalism and break-ins is as bad as it is in New Orleans)

    There are plenty of safer areas east of Gary and South Bend (Portage and Mishawaka are both very decent "motel/restaurant towns") but you'd have to leave yourself plenty of extra time to get to and from your motel into the city center. Whatever you do, don't stay north of the city. The traffic into the city from there is the WORST-- (Picture tollbooths, EVERY FIVE MILES, into which you have to throw EXACT CHANGE into a coin drop, sometimes for as little as FIFTEEN CENTS!!! And it goes on and on just like that for MILES! Now picture this being the number one political issue for area residents for the last forty years and the local and state government either not giving a you-know-what or not being able to do anything about it if they did.)

    For those of you who live in Chicago and feel that this rant was anti-Chicago, I apologize. I'm sorry for both the diatribe and the fact that you have to deal with what I've described on a daily basis.

    But as far as the original poster's trip goes...Good luck and safe driving.


  4. #4

    Default thanks AB

    good post. that really helps.

    now i really have much work to do based on what you suggested.

    thanks to laura as well.

    have a good holiday season to all.

  5. #5
    imported_LAURA Guest


    The other poster is right. CHicago traffic is horrible. I live a little over an hour outside the city, and dread driving into the downtown area. Finding a parking spot can be a chore. One thing to keep in mind if you are parking in the city is to watch out where you park. IF you see an empty lot with no signs, it's too good to be true. My boyfriend had his car toed from parking in an empty lot with no signs. Your best bet is to suck it up and pay the 10-20 dollar a day fee. Better that than paying 150 to have your car released from impound. And now there is alternate side street parking, even if there is no snow. So be careful about that.

    Chicago does have a fairly decent subway/EL system. Go to the CTA webpage and look for the train maps. I'd recommend finding a hotel on the outskirts of town near a train stop.

    Good luck

  6. #6
    imported_Brandon Guest

    Default Cheap Hotel

    I Visited Chicago last January and found the Cass Hotel located just a few blocks north of the loop on Wabash Ave in Downtown Chicago. I stayed there 2 nights and had no complaints. It was cheap, and that was pretty much all that mattered to me. From the Cass an easy 10 min walk and you can be anywhere in Downtown Chicago. Or hop on the Red Line @ Grand and be there in a few minutes. 640 N. Wabash Ave I'm lookin at rooms right now and they start at $59 and go to $89.

  7. #7
    imported_Brandon Guest


    Note: I'd still leave your car at a train station and take the Metra in. Chicago traffic is the worst and parking is not much better. You have to stay in downtown Chicago though, it's the best. Just get rid of your car. Park at any station west of South Bend, Indiana, or in South Bend itself, But just know the closer you get to Chicago, the more industralized and run down it gets. Hop on a northern Indiana commuter train and it should catch the Metra line once in Illinois and take your right into downtown.

  8. #8

    Default thanks brandon

    yeah, Cass Hotel is on top of my list although they don't have a free parking.

    thanks to Laura as well.

  9. #9
    imported_Transplanted Midwesterner Guest

    Default Chicago

    If you're looking for a cheap place to stay, you might want to consider a hostel. I believe there are three of them in Chicago. I stayed at the Arlington House for $20 a night back in October. That one is up near Wrigleyville, but there are others closer to Downtown, and they may offer private rooms for less than the cost of a hotel.

    I will agree about every bad thing that has been said about traffic in Chicago. It gets my vote as the worst city in America to drive in. However, it does have an excellent transit system and I would highly recommend it for any travel through the city.

    Good Luck and Merry Chirstmas!

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