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Top Tours

 
Private Guided SUV Tour for up to 4 Guests
"Your expert local guide and professional chauffeur arrive at your hotel in a luxury SUV with comfortable seating for 1-4 guests plus the guide and driver. Bring your camera!Your guide will give an overview of the options for your 3-hour tour. Let Marina City Willis (Sears) Tower Merchandise Mart Harold Washington Library Board of Trade the Rookery
From $650.00
 
Private Guided SUV Tour for up to 4 Guests
"Your expert local guide and professional chauffeur arrive at your hotel in a luxury SUV with comfortable seating for 1-4 guests plus the guide and driver. Bring your camera!Your guide will give an overview of the options for your 3-hour tour. Let Marina City Willis (Sears) Tower Merchandise Mart Harold Washington Library Board of Trade the Rookery
From $650.00
 
Private Tour: Chicago Highlights
"Join this private 3-hour city tour in Portuguese English or Spanish. Visit the main tourist areas in Chicago. See places such as the Magnificent Mile River North South Loop Streeterville Gold Coast
From $99.00

Driving/Parking Tips (56)

Parking Tips in Chicago

Chicago street parking can be a nightmare for travelers who don't understand how it all works. The city is famous for its efficient towing services and fast ticket writers. Public parking meters are different from most other cities in the U.S. Instead of the traditional, single-space meters that once lined the streets, the city installed several multi-space solar powered units to free up the streets. These meters also offer drivers the opportunity to pay with credit cards or debit cards in addition to coins. It helps to know where and when to park and to plan accordingly. With all the congestion and crowds often found in downtown areas, parking spaces are limited. If you are planning on parking on the street, be sure to check around for signs and meters. Careless parking in tow zones or permit spaces can lead to hefty fines and tickets, and can even get your car towed away. Also make sure that you leave your car with enough space to avoid other cards from dinging or bumping your vehicle.

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machomikemd
Nov 03, 2010

Parking Rates In Chicago

Chicago is a very expensive city and the parking rates are no different and parking rates at parking garages in various areas of the city like in navy pier or grant park or millenium park offer daily flat rates of $ 15 for the whole day. There's metered parking on most downtown streets, but it's difficult to find one open. They only let you park in two hour increments. do not let the time elapse. You'll get a ticket faster than you can say "wait, I'm right here" while running towards your car with a quarter in your outstretched hand since chicago is notorious for it's efficient towing service and fast tickets hehehe.

Again for Public Parking Meters:

many of the Pay Boxes offer FREE PARKING from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. As some Pay Boxes do vary, please check the machine you are using for specific rate and hour information.

Inside the Loop (from Lake Michigan to Wacker Drive and the south side of Congress Parkway), rates are $4.25 per hour and most are 24-hour meters.

In the Central Business District outside the Loop (bounded by the south side of Roosevelt Road on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, the north side of North Avenue on the north, and the west side of Halsted Street on the west), rates are $2.50 per hour.

In all other areas of the city, rates are $1.25 per hour.

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machomikemd
Nov 03, 2010

Park Where It is Good-Where?

A couple of years ago, the city needed money so it sold the parking rights to a group for $1 billion. Welllll-little did they know, or maybe care, the overall cost of all parking skyrocketed. there were cap limits over some years, but now it is full fare everywhere. Meter parking is $2-4 per hour. Off street near Grant Park is $19-40 for the day, and by the museum area. $19 if over 4 hours, or $14 if under that. It gets "rich" and a real disappointment for me to return to New York prices.

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BruceDunning
Apr 17, 2010

thanks to D for some great driving in the rain

Chicago is well served by mass transit but we were traveling around the US for six months with all our camping/backpacking gear so our car was the best option. We hit Chicago on our way "back east" after touring the National Parks of the western US.

We drove in from New Glarus after visiting the brewery there and having a big lunch at the Glarner Stube. This 150 mile trip should take about 3 hours but we hit major traffic in town due to a White Sox playoff game so it took more like 4.5 hours. Since we left New Glarus after lunch, it was nearly dark by the time we got to Chicago so the brewpub was our only “sight.”

After dinner and our beers, D was nice to drive and surely I was in no condition after trying even small samples of nearly all the Goose Island beers. To make matters worse, we hit some rain once we got into Indiana and it was tough finding a room for the night though eventually did just that about halfway across the state. Thanks for driving D. I promise a much better look at Chicago next time. But the Stilton burger was great, wasn't it? :)

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richiecdisc
Dec 30, 2009
 
 
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No More Free Parking

It was just announced today (May 16th, 2009) that the last of the free parking in various spots near the Lake were now going to cost about $1 per hour to park.

Several months ago the City of Chicago privatized their parking meters around town and since then it costs more to park even at the spots with meters, if you are even lucky enough to find one.

The picture in this tip is one of the new parking meters. At least they take credit cards so you don't have to wear a hole in your pocket carrying your piggy banks worth of quarters.

Be sure to get the timed receipt after you put your money in and place it the driver's side window.

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riorich55
May 16, 2009

AviStar Offsite Parking

In Chicago as well as other cities across the United States there are a number of offsite parking options which will save you travel dollars.

On our most recent trip for 5 days to Las Vegas I parked our vehicle at an AviStar lot. They offer both covered or non-corvered parking. You will pay more for covered parking, but if you leave a car there in the Chicago winter it is worth the couple of extra dollars per day. AviStar's are a chain and located at a number of major US airports.

Do an internet search before you go to check on coupons and pre-pay options. Using both the coupon and pre-pay (which makes it quicker when you pick up your vehicle) we ended up paying about $8.00 per day which included all fees and taxes (these are often never listed with the initial price.)

Usually a little walk to where a shuttle picks you up at the airport and you are typically back at your car within 5 to 12 minutes after you leave the airport.

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riorich55
Apr 23, 2009

Tolls galore

Yes, there are a lot of freeways around and in Chicago. And they have tolls on them every few kilometres! For my family to pick me up and drop me off at the airport, they paid about $12 US. Make sure you have lots of coins in the car, cos some of them only accept correct coin change.

kelhan
Apr 17, 2008

Lake Shore Drive

Driving along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, especially on a nice spring, summer or fall day and you will see sail boats on the Lake, people running, jogging, biking and skating along the Lakefont. Do yourself a favor, after you drive the LSD get out and walk by the Lake yourself to get the true beauty of our magnificent lake front.

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riorich55
Mar 31, 2008
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Dabs

"The place I call home"
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deecat

"Captivating City of "The Big Shoulders": Chicago"
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yooperprof

"Never A Lovely So Real"
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shrimp56

"Chicago!"
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rmdw

"Chicago - My Favorite City in the United States!"
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Cool, helpful parking map

There's a really great interactive website that I use called www.chicagoparkingmap.com

You just type in your destination and an area map showing all the nearby parking pops up. Then you can click on the desired garage and it will display the exact address, website, phone number, and entrances/exits.

Definitely saves time, energy, and stress. Check it out!

ParkingGuy
Mar 17, 2008

Kennedy Express (I-90-94)

Chicago has named it's freeways. When listening to traffic reports, they use the names because it helps identify which part of the interstate is involved.

John F. Kennedy Expressway
This is I-90 and I-94 on the northwest side. It runs from downtown out to O'Hare International Airport. The only major connector is the Edens Expressway (I-94), which runs north from the Kennedy to join the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

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Toughluck
Oct 25, 2007

Edens Expressway (I-94)

Chicago has named it's freeways. When listening to traffic reports, they use the names because it helps identify which part of the interstate is involved.

Edens Expressway
This is I-94 running from the Kennedy north. It provide access to the north side suburbs of Skokie, Morton Grove, Glenview, Wilmette, Winnetka, and Northbrook. To continue northward to Highland Park, Lake Forest, or Waukegan, use US 41 or I-94 as the Tristate Tollway.

I-94 continues south into Chicago as the Kennedy Expressway.
I-94 continues north towards Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the Tristate Tollway.

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Toughluck
Oct 25, 2007

Tristate Tollway (I-294)

Chicago has named it's freeways. When listening to traffic reports, they use the names because it helps identify which part of the interstate is involved.

Tristate Tollway
This is I-294 around the west side of the City. It begins down south on the Kingery Expressway, I-80-294 outside Lansing and Harvey. It turns north around the city service Oaklawn, Burbank and then crossing the Des Plaines River and meeting I-55 (5bStevenson Expressway). It continues northward pass Hinsdale, Westchester to Elmhurst and I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway) and I-88 (East-West Tollway). Swinging a bit east around O'Hare International Airport, it crosses I-90 as it changes from the Northwest Tollway into the Kennedy Expressway. Running still northward through the northern/northwestern suburbs, it serves Park Ridge, Niles, and Des Plaines. In Northbrook, it joins with I-94 (Edens Expressway) and drops the I-294 designation for the I-94 title. From there it runs to the Wisconsin border.

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Toughluck
Oct 25, 2007

Things to Do Near Chicago

Things to Do

Chinatown

I lived in China for 2 years, so I had high expectations. I went to Chef Bao for lunch (used to be Lao Hunan), which is food from the Hunan region (where I lived), the food was spot on authentic so...
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Things to Do

National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

Chicago's Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, located on the Riverwalk between Wabash Avenue and State Street, is one of the largest in the nation outside of Washington, D.C. It features a fountain and a...
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Things to Do

Monument to the Great Northern Migration

This moving fifteen foot tall statue stands at the northern entry into historic Bronzeville. Encouraged by reports from those who went before, as well as the influential Chicago Defender newspaper,...
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Things to Do

Adler Planetarium

Opened in 1930, this is the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and it is a wonderful place. It has several different shows, a collection of astronomical and location-finding instruments, and...
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Things to Do

Soldier Field

Attention sports fans! This is a must-see for all of you. It's one of the most famous stadiums in the world. Like most things in Chicago, Soldier Field has a grand style of architecture that reflects...
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Things to Do

Buddy Guy's Legends

If you are fortunate enough to be planning a trip to Chicago for January, check Ticketmaster for Buddy Guy's annual headlining weekend events at his own club: Legend's. It is the best $30 that you'll...
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Getting to Chicago

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