Archives for December 2013

The Hyatt Regency Chicago

The Medical Library Association 2014 Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago again this year.  In April 2013, the Hyatt completed renovations that include updated guest rooms, a beautiful lobby and a variety of new restaurants. The new lobby includes touch technology to check out hotel events and maps. You can look up directions from the lobby to a conference center room and get turn-by-turn directions, which is helpful in this multi-level hotel. Check out the Hyatt’s fact sheet that includes information about local attractions and hotel restaurants. You can already start registering for a room at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for MLA 2014. The MLA 2014 hotel registration page provides the link to register and explains how to get the discounted nightly rate.

The Hyatt Regency Chicago is the convenient place to stay because it houses the MLA 2014 conference, but also provides easy access to downtown Chicago.
Attractions close to the Hyatt Regency Chicago include, but are definitely not limited to:
  • The Chicago river is right outside your door with a free and scenic riverwalk.
  • You can pick up one of the water taxis I mentioned in the previous posts on the north side of river.
  •  Head east on the river walk to stroll along Lake Michigan.
  •  The Tribune Tower is across the river. The Tribune Tower is a fun and free landmark as the outside of the building contains rocks from all over the world — including a bit from Great Wall of China, Rome, and hundreds more.
  •  Michigan Ave is a little west of the hotel and goes both north and south. Even if you’re just window shopping, it’s worth your while to walk along Michigan Ave as one of Chicago’s (and Illinois’s) most famous streets.
  •  There are some unique museums on the north side of the river, close to the Hyatt. Within easy walking distance, only a few blocks, is the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
  •  A little farther north, about a mile, is the Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Speaking of art, the Art Institute of Chicago is a few blocks south on Michighan Ave from the Hyatt. It’s easy to spot with two large lions guarding the entrance.
  • To get to the Art Institute, you will need to pass Millenium Park. This park is a favorite of tourists and natives. Once the summer season starts, there are free concerts in the evenings and yoga in the morning on the weekend. Regardless, it’s a great location to sit back, relax and take in the Chicago skyline. It also has a beautiful wildflower garden and interesting outdoor art.
There are more restaurants than I can cover or recommend within easy walking distance of the hotel.  Check out your maps and apps to find what you like near the Hyatt. The LAC restaurant guide will be published in the coming months so keep an eye open for that too.
Happy New Year everyone! See you in Chicago next year!

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Visiting Chicago

Over the next months, the LAC will highlight places to see and things to do in Chicago during the Medical Library Association 2014 conference. When visiting a new city, an important question of is always “How do I get there?”

We’re lucky here in Chicago; there are a many ways to travel. One of the easiest modes for natives and visitors alike is Chicago’s subway, the “EL.” Chicago’s subway is dubbed the “L” because most of system is elevated. When Chicagoans talk about “heading to the loop”, its area  included in the area that the elevated railroad makes through downtown.

Chicago has an expansive bus system but the “L” is easier to navigate and most of Chicago’s well-known landmarks are easily accessible by the “L”. Like most other subway systems, you find the stop closest to your destination and hop on the train headed in that direction. All the CTA’s trains are accesscible but not all train stations. For station informaiton and questions, check out the Accessible Services from CTA. A single ride on the “L” is $2.25. Head to the CTA’s fare page for informaiton on disposable one day passes or single rides.

Google Maps is the easiest way to map the route from the hotel to your destination, but you can check out maps, schedules and fares at the Chicago Transit Authority too.  There are also a couple of apps available for your smartphone to check on train arrivals.

Bring comfy shoes! Walking is another major mode of transportation in downtown Chicago. As compact city, the fastest route to some destinations is on foot. In later posts, I’ll highlight the landmarks that are in easy walking distance of the hotel. However — have no fear! If you’re really tired, you can always grab a taxi.

For Sightseeing

The “L” is a great way to  a good way to get from point A to point B, but there are other fun options for sightseeing in Chicago.

Biking

Chicago has a substantial Divvy Bike System. These blue bike stands are strategically placed all over the city and you can use one for unlimited 30 minute periods for one day for about $7. In general, I would recommend using the bikes on the bike and pedestrian trail along the lake front. Chicago traffic (both automotive and pedestrian) can be heavy and unpredictable and is best confronted by experienced riders with equipment. Divvy bikes are all over the city but there are also small rent-a-bike businesses all along Lake Michighan.

Segways

This is a kooky way of getting around Chicago but rumored to be lots of fun. There are a number of companies that provide Segway tours around downtown Chicago. There are a variety of different segway tour companies in Chicago and the prices vary from around $45 to $60.

Water Taxi

While there is no shortage of taxis in Chicago, it is worth your while to take a short trip on one of Chicago’s water taxis that go up and down the Chicago river. The Chicago Water Taxi fares are between $3 and $5 depending on day of the week and destination.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Hope to see you in Chicago!

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