McCormick Place Convention Center
As it turned out, the IEEE exposition and convention I attended in Chicago was being held along the Lake Michigan shoreline not very far south of the historic skyscraper area in and around the Loop. The four large buildings that make up the complex, joined by either the Grand Concourse or two separate Skybridges over highways have a combined area of 2,670,000 square feet (248,000 m²), making this the largest centre of its type in the United States and 3rd largest in the world. I can believe it after wanding around aimlessly a few times in the vast open spaces with levels and escalators seemingly going in all directions! Only the little map in my 5th photo and the well marked room and floor levels kept me from possibly disappearing forever.
Although McCormick Place can trace its roots back to 1960 when a newspaper magnate built the first building, it had a set-back in 1967 when that building burned to the ground. The City of Chicago then took over the task of rebuilding it to its present stature with a replacement East building opening in 1971, North building in 1986, South building in 1997 and finally the West building in 2007.
I never made it past the North and South buildings because that is where the IEEE action was taking place. The convention centre has numerous restaurants scattered throughout and also the attached Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel. An efficient fleet of full-sized tour busses had been arranged to run regularly between the downtown hotels to deliver we delegates to the bowels of the complex each day.
Beautiful view, great service
We stayed at this hotel, and we were very pleased with our visit. Our room was very clean, and everyone at the hotel was incredibly helpful and nice. The food in the restaurant was excellent. We had an amazing view from the 31st floor that overlooked both the city skyline and the lake. While the hotel is a little away from the sights downtown or by the lake, the lower price we paid for our room ($110) compared to a downtown hotel made up for this inconvenience. And since the hotel is attached to the convention center, you can walk across the pedestrian bridge and easily get to Lakeshore Drive. We ended up walking back from the aquarium to the hotel which was just a couple of miles, and on a nice day, isn't a bad walk. We will definitely stay at this hotel again.
The only drawback is the price of parking, but we think the price of parking around any part of Chicago is outrageous! We paid $24 to park in the hotel garage and then took a cab or walked to the places we visited.
Just a tad too far
If only...if only the Hyatt was just closer to the downtown action...if only the front desk staff were as forthcoming with information on transportation, places to eat, or shortcuts to the lake as the janitorial staff...if only the shuttle started running a bit earlier and ran a bit longer...if only the pool was a real pool..the Hyatt would get a much higher rating. As they say, it's all in the details. Check-in was fast and simple, the room was comfortable, although the products used for cleaning left a hospital-like smell. I was a bit put off by the fact that our room only had 3 towels, despite the reservation being for four. I did appreciate the water conservation program in effect. The gym was a big plus and the walk to the lake front through the convention center was perfect for a solo walker venturing out before 6am. Room service was actually better than expected but the hotel cafe is not worth a visit. As whole my experience was okay, but if you have kids or if you want to be around the heart of Chicago this place is not for you. We got the room for less than $85. I wouldn't pay more for it than that...don't forget to add the $24 to $30 for daily parking.
Booked this hotel through priceline (roughly $76 with all the taxes) this was way cheaper than booking off the hotel site. It is an upscale hotel that would be best for convention goers (located right next to McCormick Place.) But this was also very close for us as we were attending an event at Solidier Field and going to Shedd Aquarium.
The hotel was very clean and the service was very good, the only complaint that we had was it was hard to reach the vallet via the phone in the room, but when you went downstairs they were very prompt. The room also had a good view of the city skyline and you could see the lake.
Nice hotel, not the best location
We stayed at this Hyatt last week for one night.
Pros - Close to Midway Airport, friendly and helpful staff, nice room with great view of Chicago, didn't have to pay for parking which was big considering 99% of the hotels we checked out did charge quite a bit, decent price.
Cons - although the room was really clean, I was not all happy to see spots on the comforter. Location - several miles south of where the action is but they do offer a complimentary shuttle (one way only) to get there.
All in all, fine for what we needed.
good food and service except for maid, scary spiders
This hotel is OK for business customers who need to be at the Convention Center next door, but not for pleasure or children. We were on the 28th floor with a great view of the White Sox field and saw a good fireworks display both nights that they won. The problem with the view was that there were a half dozen big live spiders hanging out in front of the window, which was odd given that we were on the 28th floor! Of course, I was not about to open the window. You can open the windows, although there is a sign not to open the window. But I would not like to have any children with me who just might actually open it.
The service was good except for maid service. We started out with 3 towels, 3 wash cloths and a bath mat. The next day we had 3 towels, 2 wash cloths and a bath mat. The last day we had 3 towels, 2 wash cloths and no bath mat. The other thing is that the bottom sheet is not fitted and kept coming off the bed. It was only tucked in at the top and sides and left about 2 feet of the bottom uncovered. So your feet were on the mattress pad or on the mattress itself. Very weird.
There is a shuttle to downtown but the windows are painted over so you can barely see where you are going, and the shock absorbers are non existent so the ride is very jarring. Also, the shuttle will drop you off but not pick you back up, so you need to find your own way back to the hotel. Cabs in Chicago are easier to find than any city I have ever been in; so take cabs. Make sure you specify the Hyatt Regency "at McCormick Place" to the cab driver or you may end up at the wrong Hyatt.
The restaurant was too cold for my 83 year old mother, so we usually had room service. The food was very good. There is smoking in the lounge which is only separated by the dining room by a partial wall. If you do not like smoke while eating, ask for a table away from the lounge.
Nice hotel, great deal
I booked 2 rooms on the "Game Day Special" for 99/night. Yes, as other reviews stated, it was a little out of the way. Walking anywhere, other than the Lake through the hotel, was not an option. However, the free shuttle takes you up and down Michigan Ave and to Navy Pier. That, combined with the free trolley service, got us to Navy Pier, then from there to Sears Tower for free. We also cut down our cab ride to dinner that night by taking the shuttle to the water tower then a cab from there, which was 5 bucks. Of course, the service is only one way. But, we were hardly ever more than a $10 cab ride home, so overall, the location was fine. No matter where we would've stayed wouldn't have been next to EVERY place we wanted to go, so cabbing it was necessary no matter what.
In terms of the rooms, they were really nice. Not the best I've ever stayed at, but the bed was GREAT. Pillowtop, with down comforter and pillows. The rooms were decorated modern and I really didn't have any complaints. The rest of the hotel was nice as well.
The only negative thing I will say about it was the prices of drinks and breakfast. Drinks were 9 bucks each and the breakfast buffet was 16 or so and absolutely horrid. It had sub-par variety, but what they did have was so bad I couldn't handle paying that much. A breakfast at a gas station would've been better. I complained, and got one breakfast taken off, which in the end, was OK.
All in all, this was a nice hotel for the price. Its close enough to be within a $10 cab ride home, the rooms were nice, and the price was right. I'll stay there again.
A nice stay in a Convention Centre Hotel
I stayed in the Hyatt with my husband for 3 nights last week. I was attending a Conference in the Hotel. We found the staff to be very efficient, friendly and polite.
The room was clean and modern and we had a great view of the lake from our 30th floor room.
We ate in the hotel 2 nights. The first night my main course was cold so they took it back and when it re-appeared it was still cold so I just abandoned it at that stage. Our waiter was very nice about it although it was a bit disappointing. The following night we ate in the bar and as a vegetarian they facilitated me with a lunch time dish of 'lentil chilli' - highly recommended. Ray the waiter was also really pleasant & efficient.
There was a little shop in the foyer that sold Starbucks coffee (a great treat for those of us from overseas) and their Danishes/pastries/Bagels were really fresh and delicious.
My husband used the shuttle service into town to do his sightseeing and the found the driver to be really pleasant.
We took a taxi into town one night for dinner and it worked out at about 10dollars each way, which was fine.
We paid c.150dollars a night for the hotel and while this sounds more expensive than a lot of the deals other guests obtained, I felt it was a good price for the standard of the hotel. The hotel was also ideal for attending the Conference in the Convention centre and I would happily recommend this hotel if you are attending a Convention in McCormick Place.
chicago: a buisness trip turned fun
This morning I woke up around 8 and did last minute packing and printed out my map of Chicago. This is a special trip because it is just going to be my mom and me. My mom has a conference starting on tomorrow, Wednesday until Friday afternoon. I get to explore Chicago on my own! I have a tour booked on Thursday to help me get to know Chicago.
Well, today before we even got to the airport we went to turn in some movies, pay my brothers daycare bill, mail letters, go to my mom’s work so she could sign some papers and went to one of my mom’s client’s work so she could explain something to them.
We finally got to the airport for our 1:44pm flight, we parked at park SFO, our favorite long term parking place, checked in our bags and went through security. We got some food since they won’t be serving food on the plane. We walked to our gate and as soon as we got there they were already boarding. Perfect timing! The flight was 4 hours long and I watched Definitely, Maybe and wrote up to here. We arrived 20 minutes early and got our bags. Then I went to the bathroom and there was a rotating seat cover. Cool!?!? We took the hotel shuttle to our hotel the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. We checked in and the lady at the front desk was super helpful. And gave us lots of tips on how to into Chicago and some tours we should do. We told her some of our plans and she said she was jealous. We found our hotel room and settled in. My mom was a little hungry and wanted to explore the hotel a little bit. We looked around and I saw a sports bar that I thought Jay D. would like, and then I spotted a really cool chair that had a really deep seat and swivels. I spun around a lot and even took one of those 360 degree view pictures of the lobby with my camera.
We ate at O’H American Grill. We just wanted some desert since my mom ate some leftovers from the airport while I was taking pictures, but I ended up getting mashed potatoes with cheese and my mom got a basket of fries. For our desert we got a chocolate cake. Then we went back to our hotel room and I finished writing this and got ready for bed. Even though it was 11:45 pm here I wasn’t tired (because of the time difference) but I had to go to bed.
There was a baby in the next door hotel room that woke us up at 6am by crying. We both fell asleep for an hour. When we woke up for the second time we got up and ready for our day. We went down for breakfast at O’H American grill. We packed up the little we took out because today we had to go to the Hyatt Regency Chicago. We had to change hotels because the only way for my mom to get to her conference was to come the night before. We realized this too late and there were no more rooms left at the Hyatt Regency Chicago so she booked a night at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.
Getting to our new hotel was an adventure. We checked out and walked about five minutes to the Rosemont train station. It is kind of like a subway. We got off on the Washington station. When we got out we were a bit disorientated and started off in the wrong direction to our hotel. Luckily we realized this rather quickly and we were soon on our way in the right direction. It looked a lot shorter on the map but the walking was good exercise. My mom got all excited when she saw New York & Company, her favorite store. But we didn’t go in because we had our luggage with us. We found our hotel and amazingly we were able to check in and they had a room ready for us. Originally we were going to ask the hotel to hold our luggage because we thought we arrived too early to check in. Apparently not, that’s ok with me.
Our room got upgraded to a river/lake view. It cost 20 dollars a night extra but apparently we will be able to see fireworks tonight and Saturday. Our view from our room was nice and I took a lot of pictures. We looked around the hotel some and then walked a bit to Bockwinkel’s which is a deli/ store type place and I picked up a macaroni and cheese and the deli people were able to heat it up for me. We got back to the hotel and caught the bus that was going to take us to my mom’s conference at the McCormick Place. I ate some of my mac n cheese on the bus. The McCormick Place is Huge! And it is all convention rooms. We checked in and I even got a name tag, just so I could come into the convention area to meet my mom.
My mom went into the convention and I was on my own. I went to write a little in this, then explored a bit and went to The Hyatt Regency McCormick (it’s connected) to see if they have a pool because the hotel we are staying at now doesn’t have one. The hotel here has a pool! Maybe tomorrow I will come and swim. I took the bus back to the hotel to take off my contacts at 5 and had plenty of time to do so and be back at 6 to meet my mom for the cocktail party, but no; the bus driver didn’t know where he was going and we got stuck in rush hour traffic. My mom got a little worried even though I texted her and she knew where I was. Sorry mom. The cocktail party was not so good.
We went back to our hotel and went out to find the Hard Rock Café. We looked at our map and thought we knew where we were going; apparently not, because we ended up at the Hard Rock Hotel. I ended up buying some pins and joined the Hard Rocker Club or something along those lines. It entitles you to discounts and the first available table at a restaurant even if there is a wait. We got the correct directions and were on our way. On the way there, we passed through some of the Mag Mile, the main shopping area. I didn’t realize it until I looked at a map; it looked like any other street.
The food at the Hard Rock as always was delicious. And our waitress was very nice. After dinner we went to Walgreens to look for glue stick but they didn’t have any, can you believe that? They had some nice Chicago t-shirts and souvenirs so we bought some, it was very inexpensive. We got back to our hotel and got ready for bed, I was tired from all the walking I did, 19,736 steps!
I woke up at 6 and we ate leftovers from last night for breakfast. Then my mom left for her conference and I was left to wait for my 9 o’clock tour bus. I had about an hour and a half before the tour bus would be coming so I went to the room to organize everything I would need; camera, money, phone, and then I watched TV. I went down to wait at 8:30 so I wouldn’t miss the bus but, I didn’t need to worry about that since the bus didn’t come until 9:30.
The bus took us to a hotel called Palmer House because that is where the tour actually started. They took our tickets and we were off. I signed up for the Grand Tour which is a combination of the North Side Tour and the South Side Tour. On the north side we saw all over the “Loop”, we saw the whole length of the Magnificent Mile, we passed Wrigley Field (where the cubs play) it was busy because the cubs had a game that day. We stopped for 15 minutes at the Lincoln Park Conservatory which is by the zoo. The zoo was free and I was able to walk around a little bit (I saw camels, rhinos and penguins) we went back on the bus to go back to the Palmer House but not before driving past Navy Pier. We dropped off and picked up the people for the second half of the tour; South Side. We went by Solider Field, Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago. We stopped at the Museum Campus, by the Planetarium to take pictures of the Skyline. Then, the tour was over and they took me back to my hotel.
The tour was good and informative, but I liked the north side part of the tour better, on the south side tour the guide kept saying “ to your left is a factory turned into a apartment complex” Plus, I would have liked to go into the museums. Also it is hard to take pictures from a moving bus.
I walked to Bockwinkels, a deli like place, to buy some lunch. I wanted to go to Navy Pier so I asked the concierge how to get there, he said I could walk for 15 minuets or I could take the free trolley. I picked the trolley. I was waiting and I realized I needed fancy clothes for a dinner later so I went back to the hotel room to get them. I came back and the trolley was there but as soon as I go to the doors they shut and left. I guess it’s walking for me. The walk was nice except for the part by the freeway. But I got to Navy Pier safely and that’s what counts. I didn’t really like Navy Pier; it was kind of a miniature not as “advance” Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I walked there so I had to do something so I rode the 104 foot high Farris wheel by myself for $6. I took lots of pictures from the top. When I was on the ground again I went to where the trolley picked you up because even though it was a nice walk it was hot. The trolley guy was funny, he sang some random songs; it must have been hot because others on the trolley sang along.
Back at the hotel I noticed my mom’s bus to the conference center was there so I went to my mom’s conference. At one of the booths a guy asked me to pick the winner of an IPod nano. I accidently picked my mom’s card and she won the IPod. (I swear I didn’t mean to pick her card)
I changed into my fancy clothes and met up with my mom so we could go to dinner. Dinner was on the 95th floor of the John Hancok towers. The views were beautiful, but the food, not too good. (I’m a vegetarian) everyone talked a lot. Then my mom and I went back to the hotel and feel asleep immediately.
This morning my mom woke up at 6 and left before me. I slept 2 hours more and ate some chips for breakfast. I spent 1.5 hours writing yesterdays entry because yesterday I had no time to write.
I walked down to Millennium Park and saw the Bean but I think the artist named it the Cloud. (It looks more like a bean to me) I liked it and took a lot of pictures. The bottom/ under it intrigued me, especially the reflection of the art. I watched the Crown Fountain. It was cool because it is a slab of rock projecting faces and one of the pictures shows a person spitting.
I went to my mom’s conference place to go to the connecting hotel for a swim. I was lucky to be able to; because you need a card key from the hotel to get in. lucky for me someone opened the door for me. I swam for an hour and a half and just waked around the conference center until 12:45 when I met my mom and the conference people gave us sandwiches, an apple, cookie, chips and a drink.
We took the free trolley to Sear Tower. The elevator made my ears pop. The views were better then the Hankock Tower and I took so many pictures. After we stopped by Bockwinkels, I got a potato salad and unknown to me, there was bacon in it. I don’t eat meat. I ended up giving it to a homeless guy outside the store.
We had a Wendella lake and river tour so we went to check in. I loved it. It lasted an hour and a half and we went through the Chicago Lock into Lake Michigan. (Smaller then the Panama Canal I saw 7 years ago) I saw where the city is building a building that will be done in 2-3 years and will take the title of tallest building in North America from the Sears Tower.
After, we went to TASTE of Chicago, where local restaurants have samples of their foods. It was very very crowed and my mom didn’t like it. I was able to try some food still. We then went to see if New York & Company was open, it wasn’t. Man, I wish I the pedometer was working today because I think I walked more then yesterday’s 10,006 steps. As soon as we got back to the hotel we watched some TV and went to sleep.
Today we woke up and decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. We ate breakfast at the hotel first then went to the bus stop. We took the #6 bus to 56th street. And it only cost 2 dollars. We had to walk about half a block to get to the Museum. My mom had a City Pass so with her ticket came a ticket to an IMAX theater show. She picked the Grand Canyon Adventure. I am a member at LHS so I got in free to the museum but I also had to buy the IMAX ticket for $9. I loved the museum. My favorite part was the IMAX. It opened my eyes to the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Before, the Grand Canyon didn’t interest me; it was just a hole in the ground. But now, I want to see the Grand Canyon in person, before humans dry it all up. We got to the museum at 10:30 am and left at 5:30 pm. We also wanted to go to the Field Museum today but we were so entertained by the Museum of Science and Industry that we decided not to go. Maybe we will go tomorrow before our flight. We took the #10 bus back to our hotel. My mom was hungry so we went out to look for food. My mom wanted Japanesse food. I thought that is she wanted a specific kind of food she should have asked the concierge. We couldn’t find one so we ended up going to an Italian Restaurant, Rosebud. I got cheese ravioli which was very good. We walked back to our hotel and on the way back we stopped at Fannie May to get some chocolate. We got back to our hotel and waited for the fireworks that were supposed to happen at 10:15 pm and apparently have a view of. Yup, right at 10:15 off went fireworks and I took some pictures from our room. They lasted for 10 minutes. I was falling asleep so when the fireworks were over I went to bed. Oh yeah, the pedometer is working again, my mom wore it and she walked 31,000 steps and I was with her the whole time so, I walked more or less the same amount. WOW!
We woke up and walked to the 8:15am mass at Holy Names Cathedral. When we got there it was closed for renovations and mass was in the parish hall. The parish hall was huge, it hade enough room to hold around 500 people! After mass there was a cardinal; Fransis Cardinal George and I shook his hand. Then we went to the Hershey store. It smelled good but not that special. We took the trolley to Navy Pier so my mom could see it. We looked at the stores there. Then we caught the trolley and rode it around town until we passed our hotel for the second time. My mom saw the Japanese place she would have liked to eat at yesterday, it was in a health center. Sadly it was closed on Sundays so we couldn’t eat there today. We went to Bockwinkels to pick up some food and we ate it in our hotel lobby. Then we caught a taxi to O’Hare airport for our %:28pm flight. The flight was 3 hours and 56 minutes. I slept a lot and read all the seatback magazines. The flight was uneventful. We landed and went to the baggage claim. It took forever to get our luggage. The sign over the baggage carousel said our flight was still in Chicago. It took so long that people started complaining. Finally our bags came and we caught the ParkSFO tram back to our parking place. Our car was super clean because my mom got our car a carwash and detail work. I loaded the car while my mom paid the bill and we were on our way home.
Advice on Transportation
I am staying at the Hyatt Regency on East Wacker and was wondering if you have advice on the best way to get to the US Cellular field for a ball game. The game is in the evening and although we have a car, we would prefer not to drive if possible. Precise directions or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for your help!
RE: Advice on Transportation
Cab rides are cheap in Chicago. Take a cab.
RE: RE: Advice on Transportation
Yeah, I know cabs are cheap, but how difficult is it to catch a cab back to the hotel? I would imagine there are a lot of people trying to do the same thing? This is my first try at going to a ballgame in Chicago so I am just a little anxious in finding my way back to the hotel. Thanks for the prompt response!
RE: Advice on Transportation
Red line train from the loop will take you right there. Only two bucks each way. Don't worry about safety - you won't be alone!
RE: RE: Advice on Transportation
Cheap taxis in Chicago? I think the VTer who said that has a money tree growing in his backyard... It would cost $30 for a taxi to the stadium. Take the Red Line. If you really want to take a taxi on your way back, I believe you will find one... not 100 percent on that, however...
RE: Advice on Transportation
You have 2 options- the El (Red Line) or Cab. From the Hyatt Regency you will need to walk a few blocks south (take Wacker Drive with the water on your right hand side) and make a left down State Street. You will want to go down to the El (it is a subway in this area of town) and take the Red Line train South towards 95th/Dan Ryan. You will need to get off at the Sox/35th Street Station. The El costs $1.75. You will need to buy a MetraCard at the machines before the turntable to use the El. As for the return trip, I tried (and finally did) to take a taxi from the ballpark on Tuesday night. I was with 3 out of town colleagues and I have to admit that we had to walk far into a not great part of town (35th near the Green line El) to catch the taxi. If I had not been with them I would have taken the El back with the throngs of other people.
RE: RE: Advice on Transportation
Oh. And the taxi will not cost you $30. It cost me $25 plus tip to go from the stadium up to Lincoln Park (much further than your hotel) and that included stops at the Hyatt McCormick place and Palmer House Hilton. Even with traffic it would be between $10-$15.
RE: Advice on Transportation
Cab to stadium is $10.00 plus tip.