Chicago’s Union Station is both a major rail terminal and a deluxe event space. The station opened in 1925, and the elegant Beaux Arts décor has changed little since that time. Major motion pictures were filmed in the Great Hall including The Untouchables and My Best Friend’s Wedding. Union Station is in downtown Chicago just one block from the “L” public transit system. Although hotels in the area are pricey, smaller motels offer a budget option.
La Quinta Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown
The La Quinta Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown is ideally located just two-tenths of a mile from Union Station and two blocks from the Willis Tower. The La Quinta offers a free enhanced continental breakfast and free wireless Internet access. A fitness center and indoor swimming pool are located on site. Guest rooms provide such basic motel amenities as hair dryers and alarm clocks. Some rooms have microwaves and refrigerators. There is no parking on-site, and nearby public parking is expensive ($36 per day in 2010). The La Quinta is pet friendly.
Travelodge Downtown Chicago
The Travelodge Downtown Chicago was built in 1928 as a private hotel. Located in Chicago’s South Loop district, the Travelodge is less than one mile from Union Station. Motel amenities include free high-speed Internet access, a business center and 24-hour guest service. Two restaurants and a bar are located on site. Guest rooms feature cable television, coffeemakers and laptop-sized safes. Some rooms have microwaves and refrigerators. Paid parking is available on site. The Travelodge is entirely nonsmoking.
Chicago’s Essex Inn
Chicago’s Essex Inn is less than one mile from Union Station along the Michigan Avenue Cultural Mile. Amenities include free wireless Internet and a rooftop deck. The deck features a swimming pool, a fitness center and a small garden. The first-floor business center is open 24 hours per day. The Inn provides a complimentary shuttle to Michigan Avenue tourist spots. The on-site restaurant serves three meals per day. Guest rooms feature flat-screen televisions, refrigerators and oversized work desks. Valet parking is comparably priced to nearby self-parking garages.
AAE Chicago Parthenon Inn and Hostel
Located just two blocks from Union Station, the AAE Chicago Parthenon Inn and Hostel offers an inexpensive option for those who do not mind communal living. The Inn offers private motel-style rooms and shared dorms. Free wireless Internet access and free continental breakfast are among the amenities. Guests are invited to use the communal living room and oversized fully-equipped kitchen. Internet-connected computers are available in the lobby for guest use. Some private rooms have ensuite restroom facilities, while some private rooms and all dorms offer shared facilities. A restaurant is on site, and valet parking is available for just $10 per night (2010 pricing).
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