Booked for Greenbuild 2010 in CHI-CITY!!!

I just locked down my hotel/flight/ticket to Greenbuild 2010 in Chicago, IL, and I can't be more excited! I'll be posting about the best sessions to attend later, but in my searches for places to stay I noticed the options were getting more limited every day and I wanted to give you a heads up...

Where to stay?

Last year in Phoenix I held out on getting a place till late, and definitely paid the price by being in the middle of nowhere (though everywhere seems to be the middle of nowhere in Phoenix). This year I promised myself that I wouldn't make the same mistake, and after a great deal of searching I settled on a hotel in the Loop near Grant Park about two blocks from the Metra line that will take me straight to the conference and a block from the L subway lines that connects me to everywhere else. I didn't realize it at first, but McCormick Place Convention Center is on the much less well connected Metra line, which doesn't really link with the more pervasive subway system. Just looking at Google maps it's kind of tough to tell, so buyer beware.

Kanye Letting R-Fed Finish

Will Kanye Make a Surprise Cameo? Will He Let R-Fed Finish?

McCormick Place is on the near south side of Chicago, and playing around with google street view convinced me I didn't really want to be stuck down there on the weekend. Most people I talked to said the best parts of Chicago are North of the Loop (the loop is supposedly dead at night), but that area would make it tough to commute to the conference. I split the difference and stayed at the loop with easy access to transit in both directions.

The USGBC has setup official lodging, but at this point theres nothing less than $240/night and everything really close is already booked. On the bright side, if you book through them you'll have access to a free shuttle to the convention. Last year the shuttles were open to everyone, but they've decided to limit it to guests staying at official destinations this year. For comparison's sake, I found my place for under $120/night, but that's about as cheap as it gets and I'm not exactly staying in the lap of luxury... On the other hand it's in the perfect location.

Crashpadding

I took a serious look at so-called 'crash-padder' sites, which were recently profiled in the NY Times. Basically, people rent out their own apartments or rooms in their apartments for typically much less than you'd find comparable hotels. I looked around a few sites (scroll to the end of the NYT article for four of the bigger sites) and there were some pretty interesting options. If you own a business that's taking more than one person you could end up saving a great deal while getting everyone their own bedroom. It's not for everyone, but there are checks and balances in the system to make sure you don't get screwed. I ended up passing, but if I was going with 2-3 friends I definitely would have booked this way. It could also be a savior for anyone who's booking late.

Any Chicago area residents PLEASE comment about where to go, what to see, and where to stay! If what I've heard is wrong, definitely correct me!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's called Chi-Town. Love the blog, and I hope you enjoy your time in the city.

Joel McKellar said...

Depends who you're talking to I guess...

KLo said...

Check out the Destination Tab on the GB 2010 site: http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/Destination/City.aspx.

There's also a list of Green Restaurants and a link to the Official Chicago Vistors site where you can find "Free" things to do while you are here and you can also build a custom Chicago Destination Guide.

For a little history of our great town, check out the GB 2010 video.

Have a great time when you are here!!

The Loosh said...

I live in Chicago. What you say is basically true. To oversimplify a bit, the north side is like New York and the south side is like Detroit. The loop is pretty dead on weekends, but it's getting a lot better as people move in - there are still people walking around and still great places to eat, at least during the day.

As for transportation, Metra is okay but has a separate fare structure from the CTA and service is sparse on weekends, especially on the Electric. While McCormick Place is not directly connected to the subway, there are CTA buses that go to McCormick Place from Michigan Avenue along Grant Park along the #3 route, which runs all day 7 days a week, every 10-20 minutes or less. Everyone, rich and poor, uses buses and trains in Chicago, so you wouldn't be out of place on a bus. Or, cabs are plentiful at McCormick Place and a cab ride from downtown is $10-15. You could also walk to the Red Line at Cermak-Chinatown, but since you're new in town, I wouldn't. It's not a dangerous area but it has a desolate feel about it since they recently tore down a lot of public housing around there and it's kind of an old warehouse district anyway.

There's a million great things to see in Chicago, but it depends what you're into. Chicago has very vibrant restaurant and theater scenes. As far as LEEDness, there's a new school on the West Side at the old Sears campus that's an awesome green adaptive reuse that just opened, that you should definitely check out if you can find a tour associated with the conference or something: http://homansquarepowerhouse.com/ and http://education.homansquare.org/content/index.php?cat=2

Anonymous said...

Do a riverboat Architectural tour. I think they're around $30. Great way to see Chicago and get some history. My personal favorite building is the Aqua. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_(skyscraper)

The City's also got a good river walk.

KLo said...

Check out the Outdoor Experience Tab on the GB site: http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/Tours/outdoor-experience.aspx.

There are few things to do around town during the conference to help you experience Chicago!

Lunch at the Garfield Conservatory
1-4 p.m.
November 19, 2010
Cost: $65

Yoga Class
12:30-1:30 p.m.
November 17, 2010
Cost: $35


Walking Tours

Chicago Skyscrapers Tour
9-11 a.m.
November 20, 2010
Early: $25
Regular: $30

Wicker Park Tour
1:30-6:30 p.m.
November 19, 2010
Early: $35
Regular: $40

Chocolate Tasting Tour
3:30- 6 p.m.
November 19, 2010
Early: $40
Regular: $45

Bike Tour
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
November 20, 2010
Early: $45
Regular: $50

Space is limited and these will sell out quickly, so make sure to sign up soon. My favorite so far is the Chocolate Tasting Tour!

KLo said...

As far as LEED Certified Buildings go, there are far to many to list here but check out the USGBC - Illinois chapter website quicklink: http://www.usgbc-chicago.org/?page_id=1180.

There are also some great GB 2010 Green Building Tours you may find of interest at: http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/Tours/Green-Building-Tours.aspx.

Last time GB was in town in 2007 these tours Sold Out so sign up now to guarantee your spot!

If you feel the need to "get out" of the McCormick Center during Greenbuild, there are also Offsite Education Sessions: yourhttp://www.greenbuildexpo.org/Education/Off-Site-Educational-Sessions.aspx.

emergencypicnic said...

Here's a link to Chicago sites for Air B&B
http://www.airbnb.com/search/v3
And for a friend of ours in the network. They are on the Pink Line 15-20 min from the Loop.
http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4505?price=89