Chicago Babies

Out of towner needs advice

Hi ladies. I'm traveling to Chicago with baby and husband in a few weeks for a work convention for me at the McCormick Place Convention Center. I have the option to stay at the Hyatt connected to McCormick or a hotel near North Michigan Ave. I'm still nursing so obviously the Hyatt would be better to nurse baby and see my family  more often while I'm at the convention. However, I'm worried that the neighborhood isn't very good for my husband to go out with baby and get to downtown. We would want to avoid taxis. I'm worried he'll feel trapped by the location and also it doesn't seem like we'd be able to easily go for a quick bite.

What would you all recommend? Is the McCormick place area terrible for easy access to restaurants and stuff to do?

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Re: Out of towner needs advice

  • I think you're right about the area not exactly offering a lot of options directly nearby.  I think there might be a train that runs through McCormick place that can take you closer to the museum campus and downtown, though. I'm sure there are buses too, however I think you are "encouraged" to fold down the stroller after boarding the bus which is a lot easier said than done! 

    If you think you'll have time to actually get out and walk around as a family, being closer to Michigan Avenue will offer you better sights to see and easier access, in my opinion. 

  • image cecilia1898:

    I think you're right about the area not exactly offering a lot of options directly nearby.  I think there might be a train that runs through McCormick place that can take you closer to the museum campus and downtown, though. I'm sure there are buses too, however I think you are "encouraged" to fold down the stroller after boarding the bus which is a lot easier said than done! 

    If you think you'll have time to actually get out and walk around as a family, being closer to Michigan Avenue will offer you better sights to see and easier access, in my opinion. 

    Agreed. Not a whole lot by McCormick as far as entertainment and dining options go. The CTA bus does run right outside of McCormick and as long as you have an umbrella stroller, you won't get too much of a hassle with having your LO sit in it the entire time but it will also depend on how packed the bus is. I'm actually not aware of any train ("El") lines that stop there (besides a commuter train which you wouldn't be taking). Google Maps does have a Transit option that you can use when searching for directions in Chicago so you can double check with that or the CTA's website for the full map and fares. I would recommend that if you are using the CTA, to purchase a fair card at an El station, it makes transferring a lot easier and cheaper. Also, not sure how often you are nursing but using google maps will show you that it may take your husband an hr to get downtown on buses/CTA, then a hr back, so not a lot of time to actually do something if you are nursing every 3 hrs

     Really, the decision comes down to you, is it more important for you to have the opportunity to steal away and nurse with your husband being more or less "landlocked" with your LO or is it better for your husband to have options to take your LO during the day and to have plenty of dining options and have you pump during session breaks? Whatever you decide, I hope you guys are able to enjoy your stay here!

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  • Personally, I think your smartest option would be to go ahead and stay at the Hyatt - it's nearby which, as you mentioned, ups the convenience level considerably.  Also, there's a Metra train (http://www.metrarail.com for more information - you'll want to look up the Metra Electric line) that goes straight from McCormick to Millennium Station (where "the bean" is located on Michigan Avenue).

    Hope this helps... if I can answer any other questions about visiting Chicago, ask away - and welcome to our fair city! :)

  • If you do stay at the Hyatt, I'd be careful about relying on the Metra train option.  It's probably only one stop between McCormick Place and Millenium Station, but that train isn't like the CTA.  It runs on a set schedule as opposed to every 15 minutes or so.  So during the rush, it will run frequently, but it will be packed with commuters.  During the day, it might only run once or twice an hour.

     It really just depends on what your priority is.  If you want to be close to the baby to nurse and be close to your family, then definitely go to the Hyatt.  But if you want your husband to avoid cabs and have lots of options for things to do and places to eat, you want to be far from McCormick Place.  That being said, most trade shows have regular shuttle service from McCormick Place to the overflow hotels.  I'd call the hotel on Michigan Ave and see what your options are.  You might be able to use that for free with your show credentials and easily get back and forth, fairly quickly, which could help out with your nursing situation.

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