Chicago is home to over 3 million people. As an outsider, navigating through this large city can be a bit daunting. So on this page you'll find ways to travel the city like a pro, not like a tourist.

Things to know:

  1. Parking costs $$$ - Everywhere you go!
  2. Take the trains or buses. You'll be glad you did. Go to the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) website for details.

Info about the CTA (buses and the train system (aka the “L”):
-If you’re planning on exploring the city via the CTA, go to their website: under Travel Information, click on Visitor Information, Visitor Pass, then see which one is right for you.  They have one, two, three, etc day passes that will save you money if you plan on taking the CTA around town.  If you know where you want to go, you can also click on Trip Planner on the home page, then click on the little graphic on the right side of the page.  Put in your travel info and it will tell you how to get there. 

CTA 1-Day Pass:
There is a 1-day pass for $5 from the CTA, which could save you hassle and money when getting around on Saturday.   You can order this pass from us when you register and pick it up at the registration table.  When you register, indicate how many 1-Day passes you want in the "Special Needs" box, and include an extra $5 for each pass you want when you send your check. If you want to do this, be sure to order ahead of time, we will NOT have extras.

Want to drive anyways?
Here's how you park at the hotel and at UIC.

Parking at the Hotel:

Car parking is located directly west of the hotel:
Park One Parking OFFICIAL HOTEL PARKING has two entrances: Valet is recommended 525 South Wabash (one Way from North to South) and 63 East Congress
Phone: (312) 663-0979
Overnight Parking:
• Valet Parking, Car: $28.00, Van: $34.00
• Self Parking, Car: $23.00, Van: $26.00

Parking at UIC and taking the CTA to the hotel:

If $23 a night at the hotel is too much for you, you can park at the UIC Pavilion and take the CTA to the Congress Hotel.  It should only cost you $5.75 for overnight parking and no more than $8.00 for the day.  The CTA will cost $2.00 per bus, unless you order a CTA card, then it will cost you $1.75 for the first bus, and $0.25 to transfer to the second bus.

The UIC Pavillion is located at 525 S. Racine, Chicago, IL 60607. For parking info, call 312-355-0555.

To drive to UIC from the hotel:

Head north on Michigan Ave towards Congress Parkway. Turn left onto Congress Parkway. Take that to State St. and turn left onto State. Take that down to Harrison St. and turn right. Go 0.6 miles to the parking facility on the right (shortly before Racine).

There are two ways to get to the hotel from the Pavilion via the CTA:
Itinerary #1: Board Bus #7 Harrison at the corner of Harrison and Racine, (directly across from the UIC Pavilion).  Get off at Jackson and State, transfer to bus #146 Inner Drive/ Michigan Express Southbound.  Take this bus to Congress and Michigan.  It will drop you off right outside of the Congress Plaza Hotel. 
Total cash cost: $4.00
CTA card cost: $2.00

Itinerary #2: Walk west on Harrison, to Harrison and Racine, walk North on Racine to the CTA Blue Line stop, it’s on the sidewalk over the expressway.  Take the Blue line towards O’Hare.  Hop off at LaSalle and walk 0.4 miles East (towards Lake Michigan) to the Congress Plaza Hotel, which is on Michigan Ave. 
Total cash cost: $2.00
CTA card cost: $1.75

You could also take a cab:
If you want to take a cab, you can flag one down on Harrison or Racine, they come by fairly frequently, or you can call one.  Here are some cab companies in Chicago:
Yellow Cab- (312) 829-4222
Wolley Cab- (877) 888-8294
Flash Taxi- (773) 476-1040
They all charge the same rate.  Yellow cab and Wolley cab tend to pick you up faster than Flash Taxi.

If you have questions, feel free to e-mail us at

Things to do in Chicago if you have extra time:

  • Shopping on Michigan Ave and State St
  • Field Museum
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Art Institute
  • Millennium Park
  • Navy Pier
  • Walk along the Lake front
  • Signature Room in the John Hancock
  • Skydeck in the Sears Tower
  • Horse-drawn Carriage Ride around the city
  • Water Tower Place
  • And Much More!

Check out for current happenings and attractions in Chicago.