The site chosen for the Chicago-based intensives for the Urban Ministry cohort is:
The Westin Michigan Avenue
909 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
The DMin program has reserved a block of rooms at a rate of $119/night, plus applicable state and local taxes (currently 17.4%). While room-sharing is not mandatory, the cost-per-person may be cut in half for those who are willing to share a room with a colleague. To reserve a room within the block, email firstname.lastname@example.org before March 4 and indicate your preference for a shared or non-shared room. The DMin office will contact you by phone for your credit card number to secure your room. When all rooms in the reserved block are spoken for, it will be necessary for any latecomers to obtain a room directly with the hotel at their standard rates.
From O'Hare International Airport, take the CTA Blue Line to the Jackson Boulevard exit. The CTA can be boarded from the airport. From this point, transfer to the CTA Red Line and continue towards Howard and exit Chicago Avenue. From Chicago Avenue, walk three blocks east to Michigan Avenue, turn left and walk three blocks to Delaware. The hotel entrance is on Delaware.
It you prefer taxi service, from O'Hare Airport it will be around $40 plus tolls and gratuity, $44 from Midway.
Taxi service from where you exit the CTA downtown would be around $5. The advantage of using a taxi for a portion of your arrival and departure is handling of the luggage.
From Union Station, should you take Amtrak, the hotel is about two miles. The taxi fare would be about $9 to the hotel.
Automobiles are not recommended. Parking can be very expensive and the traffic hard to negotiate. Parking at your area destination is often hard to find or expensive. (The hotel has 24-hour valet parking available, but it is expensive. The rate is $55/day.) The city is better negotiated by public transportation.
If driving, we recommend that you follow a map or your GPS and park in the free and secure lot at the East Chicago station of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (commonly called the South Shore Line) at 5615 Indianapolis Boulevard in East Chicago, Indiana. Call 1-800-356-2079 or www.nictd.com and take the commuter train all the way to Randolph (also called Millenium Station), a ride of around 40 minutes, from where a taxi will cost around $9 to the hotel. Or, if you wish to save, a bus takes you right up Michigan Avenue. Ask the driver if his bus goes as far as the Hancock Center or Delaware. You can buy the multi-day CTA passes from a vending machine at the Chicago Cultural Center across the street on Michigan Avenue from Millenium Station, meaning your bus fare will be no added cost.
CTA and METRA trains offer paid parking, less expensive than downtown.
Purchase the seven-day CTA pass of $23. It provides convenient unlimited travel on all subways and city buses. You can buy your passes online from the CTA store, www.transitchicago.com, at certain train stations, or at retail locations around town. Buy the pass ahead of time and you have free transportation all the way to the hotel from the airports or any train station! There is a bus stop at Delaware and Michigan, right where the hotel is located.
See dining options listed on the Magnificent Mile website at http://www.themagnificentmile.com/dining/
You can eat cheaply with these or other options. The nearest Subway Sandwich Shop is Maple and State Street; or share a burrito (they are big!) at Chipotle on State and Division, or pizza at Gino's East at 162 East Superior. There is a food court in Water Tower Place one block from the hotel, and a Whole Foods Market at 30 West Huron. A Walgreens is two blocks south on Michigan Avenue, where you can purchase fruit, juice, or nuts for breakfast in your room. There is a small convenience food store across the street from the hotel at the rear of Hancock Center that sells fruits, etc. There are also a number of Asian noodle places nearby. We will advise you regarding other options once you are in Chicago.
Two apps will be very helpful: one is ChiTransit or similar. It will use your phone's GPS capability to give you the position and arrival time for the bus you are waiting for. It will save some minutes by the curb! Another is AroundMe or similar. It will direct you from where you are standing to restaurants or whatever you are trying to find. It also gives you the phone numbers.