Parking in downtown Chicago
November 9, 2006 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Where can I park cheap in downtown Chicago area over the period of 5 days?

(Followup to this question) Hopefully not too far from the Art Museum area. I will be taking the car out of the parking at least on two occasions, but I won't need it most of the 5 days. I just have no clues to parking in a big city, so tips will be welcome.
posted by raheel to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
The closer you get to the museums, the more you will be paying for parking. If you're not staying downtown, I would consider parking near where you're staying, and using public transit to the museums. If you need the car to be downtown, I would park in Greektown, in the lot at Halsted and Jackson. You could walk east on Jackson to the Art Institute (about 15 min) or take the #126 Jackson Bus ($2.00). I don't know the exact amount to park there, but it will be a lot cheaper than anything closer to the museum campus. My email and IM are in my profile, feel free to contact me for more info.
posted by ba at 8:17 AM on November 9, 2006

In the Loop? You can't park cheaply for five days, particularly not if you want in&out privileges at the garage. Street parking is quarter/twenty minutes and heavy regulated in terms of which hours you can park on which sides of the street. Even the hotel garages are not cheap (the W, for instance is $38/day and the Palmer House is $30 for self-parking and $38 for valet); and the public garages are only a little cheaper, but many won't let you stay overnight because they have limited space available for nonmonthly parkers. The daily rate at Midway Airport, however, is $7.50 (outdoor)/$9.50 (indoor) and the CTA ride to downtown is about 20 minutes ($2.00 if you don't have a pass already). The Grant Park parking deck doesn't have online rates, but you can call them at (312) 745-2862 (South) and (312) 742-7530 (North).

The Chicago Tourism Bureau offers parking advice here.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:35 AM on November 9, 2006

Alternatively, you can try looking for free street parking near an El stop in one of the non-Loop communities. The red line is one of the two 24 hour lines, runs through the loop (albeit underground, and not on the "loop" proper), and has some interesting stops, itself -- both China Towns, Wrigley Field, Belmont...

I can almost always find a free place to park within a few blocks' walk of the Berwyn stop -- and it's a fairly safe neighborhood -- but I've never done so for more than a weekend. I wouldn't think you'd run into any problems for 5 days, but you might want to make sure.
posted by jammer at 12:07 PM on November 9, 2006

Millennium Park Garage is $16/24 hours ($13/12) -- cheap by most parking garage standards, but no in/out privileges -- and as downtown as you can get. Right next to the Art Institute.
posted by CMichaelCook at 12:43 PM on November 9, 2006

it's been a while but when I would house-sit for my boss in, hmmm, let's call it Wrigleyville. He would tell me to watch for street cleaning notices so I could move their car so it wouldn't get towed. I don't know if that's a problem this time of year, but it maybe something to think about if you're parking in a neighborhood for 5 days.
posted by sevenless at 4:03 PM on November 9, 2006

I second the idea of parking your car in a neighborhood and taking public transit into the loop.

I live near North and Ashland which is about four blocks east of the Damen Blue line stop. It's also about three blocks north of the Division Blue line stop. The Blue line runs all night, but not as often as the Red line. Check here for train schedules. Once you're on the train, it's just a few minutes to the loop.

There are a few one way streets in my area, but nearly all the parking does not require any neighborhood permit. You may have to worry about street cleaning on main roads (like North, Ashland, Division) - as they do it on a specific day of the week, every week (the day depends on which side you're parked on). Side streets also get cleaned, but on the first specific day (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) of each month.

If you choose this option avoid Wrigley and Lincoln Park. I think these are two of the worst places to find parking.

I did have the cops ticket my car once for overnight parking without a city sticker. This was before I had moved into the city, so my car was not registered to a Chicago address (the cop should have checked my registration before writing the ticket, I guess he didn't). I contested the ticket immediately by mail by writing a letter explaining that my car was registered to another city/municipality and I was not a Chicago resident. They dropped the $120 fine.
posted by youngergirl44 at 9:47 PM on November 9, 2006

Be careful, too, if you choose to park in a neighborhood, that you don't park on a street which requires a residential zone parking permit (there will be signs that say something like "cars must display zone 134"). Like youngergirl says, you can get the "no city sticker" ticket dismissed if you can prove the car is registered in another county, but you cannot get the "no residential zone parking permit" ticket waived.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:40 AM on November 10, 2006

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