Yep, another tourist wanting to know about parking

I am planning on making my first visit to Chicago soon. I know that I don’t want to see Chicago by car, but I am driving to town because we’re combining it with a visit to relatives in Kentucky. It will stay parked for most of our time in Chicago. We plan to stay at the Tremont, so that area is where I’m looking.

Now, here’s the wrinkle: I don’t want to disparage an entire city or profession, but I’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. My car’s not a classic Ferrari, but if I worked at a parking garage, I’d be tempted. So, in the interest of not recognizing my car in a youtube video, I’d really like to find some daily covered parking where I park it and take the keys myself. I’ve thought about such things as parking at the airport and taking a train down-town, but if I can avoid extra commutes in a strange town, I will.

If you know nothing about parking, but know of an extensive list of places to have good sausage and italian beef at, I’ll take that instead. But, you will have it on your conscience that I may be eating it on a worried stomach.

I offer no help, except that my dad never thought twice about parking his Mercedes downtown, metered or garage. (They used to live in Aurora.) My step-aunt and uncle live on the south side of the Loop and I never saw my dad quake in fear when he couldn’t borrow one of their parking spaces.

Where are you coming from that you’re visiting both Kentucky and Chicago on one trip?

From Texas. I grew up a couple of miles from a billboard advertising Carlsbad Caverns. It’s directions: Take the next exit, turn around, drive 472 miles. It probably warped my idea of what’s nearby, and how to get there. My first idea for a trip we could tie into the Kentucky trip was a visit to the Rockies =).

I’ve never heard of anyone using a parking garage and having problems anything like what you are talking about such as in the Ferris Bueller movie. I can’t imagine parking being risky in any way at a nice place like The Tremont.

There are multiple self park garages throughout downtown as well. I don’t know how long they allow you to leave your car. Most of them I have used run $25 - $35 per day and you take your keys with you.

Having considered this while writing I have to say your best bet is going to be letting the hotel park your car. After all, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off isn’t a documentary.

BTW, the Tremont offers valet parking for $54 a day. (Yikes! :eek:)

I think your best option is in your OP. Long term parking at O’Hare lot F is $9/day.
Downtown is’t gonna be a small fortune.
How long are you staying?

$9 a day? On second thought I am going to agree with zoid. The Blue Line will get you downtown and you said you don’t plan on driving around while visiting. Honestly, you could take taxis to and from O’Hare and still save a good size chunk o’ change.

Yes, I know it’s not a documentary. That was really just a coincidence and an attempt at comedy. On the other hand, I used to be a state inspector at an oil change place, and I worked at an auto auction. Both places taught me that giving young folks access to cars that aren’t theirs is at least asking for hair raising tales. Making that a small car with decent power, a manual, and awd is almost guaranteeing some fun will be had.

I wasn’t an angel myself when given access to a cars that I knew were owned by a car dealer at the auction. We didn’t even leave the lot, and had a blast. Nothing was done to the cars that you would outwardly notice, but I know the future owners would not be happy if they knew how the cars were used. I am pretty sure a few of the car’s useful lives were shortened. I know it’s unlikely, but I also know it’s not impossible. I know I’d sleep better if the keys were with me.

Thank you for the info on O’Hare, Zoid. Really, I knew that storing a car, covered in Chicago was going to be pricey. Garage A at $31/day looks to be the cheapest covered parking that they have, still a sight better than $54/day at the Tremont for valet (yikes, indeed!). I’m going to be there 3-4 nights, so any savings I could make would add up.

Kolak, the self parking is really what I am looking for. I found that (duh) has info on who allows self-parking when you click on individual locations, and who is open 24/7, but the site has no way to filter or search on those criteria :smack:. There seem to be quite a few that are both. Either way, Scabpickerina read some bad reviews on the Tremont, so it doesn’t look like we’re staying there ( I thought it looked nice…). So, when we’ve settled on where we’re staying, I’ll click around and find a place.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. Now, I need to figure out where to eat! That’s a much more satisfying subject.

There are relatively few attendant parking garages any more, and the majority of them are in residential buildings and easy to spot and avoid. The parking at the 900 North Michigan complex, for instance, right behind the Tremont, is an enormous self-park garage. When the valet at the Tremont takes your car, chances are that’s where he takes it.

Rather than paying $31 a day for the garage at O’Hare, you could use the garage at the Cumberland Blue Line station (2 stops away from O’Hare) for $12 a day. All but the top floor are covered.

That’s a good thing to know, Mr. Downtown, thank you. If we end up staying at the Tremont anyway, I’ll probably use that building just out of convenience.

The Cumberland Station parking seems to be the cheapest covered parking I’ve seen in Chicago, Alley Dweller. Heck, I could buy the whole month for less than 3 days of valet parking. If I decide to park it further than walking distance from the hotel, that’s probably where I’ll put it.

What’s worked for me is to look for hotel deals that include parking. Yes, they’re few and far between but I’ve lucked out a few times and just happened to see this deal on Travelzoo that might work for you.


I’ve also used a public ramp across from the Macy’s on E. Randolph. It’s been a few years but I think it was $24/day. I used that one while staying at Swissotel, which was maybe a 5-6 block walk. Just pulled up to the hotel, declined valet, checked in and ran bags up to the room quick and then went and parked.

Thankya, SmellMyWort. I love that hotel’s name. It’d be more fitting if there was a 1 ton weight hanging over the beds =). I think we’ve decided on a similar deal that includes self-parking near the Hancock building.

Slightly O/T: You’re a brewer, right? Any suggestions on Chicago or Illinois specific beers I must try (or even better, can bring home)? I can carry about 300 lbs in the car after people and luggage. It’d be a shame to go home empty. <hums> East Bound & Down</hums>

Untill SMW returns…

Goose Island
Half Acre

Oh my! I knew Chicago would not let me down on beer, but I was not prepared for the glory!

We’ll be coming home with a full trunk.

Take your car to Binny’s Beverage Depot (formerly known as “Sam’s Wine & Spirits”) and bask in the glory.

My favorite beers from the time I was in Chicago were all from Three Floyds. They’re from “the Chicago area” (Munster, IN) rather than Chicago proper, but their stuff is so very very good.

Depending on the travel itinerary to/from Kentucky, Three Floyds would be a nice lunch stop. Their food is pretty good, and you get the beer from right there at the brewery.

I work graveyards at 540 W Madsion(Madison and Clinton) and have used the Presidential Towers(entrance on Jefferson b/t Monroe and Madison)garage a few times when I forgot my parking pass. I remember it being it high $20’s per day, but I was not going to park on a surface lot overnight. It’s attached to the upscale residential towers, clean and well lit. Not sure how convenient it is for you, but I would feel perfectly safe parking there. fwiw

And if you’re doing deep dish pizza just know that Uno’s in near north invented it. I think you’re just a few blocks from. But if you want the best of the best take a trip on the Metra(Milwaukee District N) out to Bert’s in Morton Grove. You have to order your pizza a day ahead though.

I’m not super familar with Chicago/Illinois beers but it looks like Zoid put up a good list. I do know several people up here (WI) that are always on the lookout for Goose Island special releases when they go to IL.

I’d add Two Brothers to the local beer list. Domain Dupage is my favorite of theirs.
Be aware that Goose Island tends to use a heavy hand with the hops in most of their brews, which may be a plus or a minus for you. I’m not a big fan.

Since I usually go out of my way to avoid parking downtown, I don’t have much for you on that subject. But I do hope you have a fantastic time in our great city!