According to Amex Travel, Chicago is the most visited city in the United States for domestic business trips. Which means if you and your boss are located in the United States, chances are either, or both, of you will be taken to the Windy City. No matter how seasoned a road warrior you may be, navigating new cities is always stressful. To help you prepare, here is our Chicago business travel guide.
Getting from O’Hare to Downtown Chicago
If you’re going to be flying into O’Hare International Airport, we recommend taking public transportation to get to Downtown Chicago. Unless you’re going to be traveling with a large amount of baggage, this is by far the easiest way to get from the airport to the city center. The Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line Station runs every 8 minutes all day and all night. For just $5, you will be able to go from the airport to the city center in about 45 minutes, which is almost as fast as it would be to drive but a fraction of the cost!
However, if you or your manager prefers driving or car services to public transportation, you can either take take a taxi or use a rideshare service like LYFT and Uber. Taxis and rideshare services will typically cost around $35-40. However, if there is any surge pricing on Uber or LYFT, then taxis will be the more affordable option.
Preparing for Conventions in Chicago
Part of the reason Chicago is the most visited city in the US for business trips is because of McCormick Place, the largest convention center in the United States. Most major conventions will have pre-picked a hotel out. However, these can often sell out quickly. In this case, search for hotels near McCormick Place to find a replacement that will still be convenient.
Chicago Business Travel Closet
Chicago’s weather varies greatly (like most places) and you should always plan accordingly. Summer temperatures range from 58-64 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall temperatures are from 32-75 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, temperatures will typically range from 21 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. And spring temperatures will be around 29-70 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can see, temperatures vary greatly, even within each season so always check right before your trip dates.
Chicago Bleisure Travel
Business travelers should always take advantage of every trip to explore and get to know their destination. Chicago business travel is the perfect opportunity to experiment in “bleisure” travel. From incredible food, to breathtaking museums, business travelers and visitors will never be left bored. Some of the attractions include: The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, Punch House, and Lou Malnati’s.
Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) is the second best museum in the world, according to TripAdvisor, and for good reason! The institute houses some of the greatest works of art in the world and features artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, and Marc Chagall. Best of all, the AIC is located in Millennium Park. Meaning, you can spend a day taking in the splendor of the art within the museum only to exit into the art inspiring park.
Millennium Park is a public park located near the AIC and many of the other museums in Chicago. Strolling through the entire park can take an entire day in and of itself. The park is split into multiple pavilions and exhibits. The park also holds the world famous “Bean”. For those of you who will be short on time and only have an afternoon to explore Chicago, we definitely recommend doing a combination of the AIC and Millennium Park. If you have more time, stroll from Millennium Park to the other end of Grant Park where even more museums, like the Shedd Aquarium, can be found.
Punch House is a cozy, subterranean bohemian hole that features a full bar showcasing the namesake drink as strong, weak, bitter, sour, and sweet, the five necessary ingredients of a proper punch. The retro room features wood paneling and tufted leather bar stools, aquarium, and taxidermy fish.
Lou Malnati’s Pizza is a staple of every trip to Chicago. Lou’s has 46 locations throughout the Chicago area, making it the perfect lunch or snack option for business travelers on the move. Stop at any of their locations for a quick slice in between meetings. This is the staple for all Chicagoans, it makes for a perfect casual lunch meeting.
Have any other tips for Chicago business travel? Share them below!