Chicago, my town…5 tips for your convention visit.

In a few weeks, many of you will arrive in Chicago to attend the Annual Conference. Welcome!! I know most of you are somewhat familiar with the city as you come annually for the NAR Leadership Summit or other meetings throughout the year. I’m guessing that most of you aren’t really familiar with the McCormick Place neighborhood, which is where much of the convention will take place. I live in the area (a short block away), so I want to give you some tips to help you get around and see another part of this great city.  The picture was taken from my living room (with snow, which is NOT expected in early November) and McCormick Place is on the right.

  1. Take the train from either O’Hare or Midway to the city. It’s so much easier (and a LOT cheaper) than a cab, Lyft, Uber, etc., and likely a lot faster. It’s easy to either walk or take a taxi or public transportation from multiple stops in the loop area for a short trip to your hotel – wherever it is. (If you’re staying at the brand new Marriott across the street from McCormick (lucky you), take the Blue Line from O’Hare, get off at Clark/Lake and follow the signs to the Green Line. Take either the Ashland/63rd or Cottage Grove south  Cermak/McCormick Place and head north to Cermak. The hotel is 3 blocks from there!)
  2. Use public transportation in the city. Yes, if your hotel is downtown, you can wait for an NAR shuttle. But you can also take the Green Line again from Randolph and Wabash and get to Cermak McCormick stop, heading south the 23rd street from the platform. Turn left and walk 2 blocks to McCormick Place West. Or you can take a bus (#3 or #4) from downtown directly to or from McCormick Place.
  3. Check out the restaurants in the area. In between meetings? Don’t fight the crowds or take the time to go downtown. Lots of variety and prices: Cafe Bionda at Cullerton and State Street, the Firehouse at Michigan and 14th Street, Jerk Villa (Michigan and Cermak), Armand’s Victory Tap, Michigan and 14th Street), Pizano’s (Indiana and north of Cermak), La Cantina, Michigan and 18th Street), Krolls (sports bar at Michigan and 18th Street), 14 Parish Chicago (Caribbean at Michigan near 24th Street), Giordano’s  are among some good and closeby options.
  4. Check out the local sights. If you’re a blues fan, visit the historic Chess Records on Michigan (north of Cermak). It’s around Motor Row, which is undergoing much change as the city works to turn the streets between Cermak and 24th Street into an entertainment district. Home to many car dealerships in the early 20th century, it contains beautiful old buildings now being restored for restaurants and event venues. It’s also the home for many of Al Capone’s haunts. There’s the brand new Wintrust Area across from McCormick – go inside and look around as it’s a beautiful venue.
  5. There are tours (a lot of which are offered by NAR during the convention) you can take to learn more about this historic area. There are some great ones on that list – I’ve been on most, some more than once – and I highly recommend them all.

These are just a few ideas for you to get around and explore some new things in this great city. If you need more ideas or directions, or just want to say hi, send me a quick email at MartinConsultingSolutions@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to help. And most of all, enjoy the convention!

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