by Torsten Adair
[Bookseller, Beat comment regular and internet addict Torsten Adair has compiled a list of ways to get to McCormick Place, the location of C2E2, the comics/pop culture show opening today. Read and learn.]
Here are a few tips on traveling to and from the C2E2 convention at McCormick Place.
1) The train (Metra). This is Chicago’s commuter train line. The line you want to take is the Metra Electric line to McCormick Place. If leaving from Millennium Park, the cost is $2.25, the same for a subway or bus fare. HOWEVER, this is a commuter train, and runs less frequently on the weekends. Also, on the weekends, McCormick Place is a FLAGGED stop; the train only stops if there are people on the platform, or if you notify the conductor ahead of time. On the weekend, trains leave about every ninety minutes. Metra does offer a weekend pass. Nice, but not convenient.
The platform is a bit spooky (the center is built over the platform), but walk northwards to the stairs, which will lead you directly to the Convention center. When you enter the Center, turn left, and walk towards the river. You’ll pass a big bath and kitchen show. Keep walking towards the Lakeside Center. You’ll see an arched walkway, as well as banners guiding you onwards. Pro and Exhibitor registration is on this level, right outside the exhibition hall. Fan registration (AKA The Stockyards) is one flight below.
2) The subway. Take the Red Line to Cermak-Chinatown. Then hike along Cermak, or catch the #21 bus to the convention center. $2.25 one way (bills and coins), and the Chicago Card will save you time and money (as well as grant free transfers). The Green Line does not stop near McCormick.
3) The bus. The #3 and #21 buses stop in front of the McCormick South Building. The #3 runs north along Michigan all the way to Chicago. The #4 bus also runs along Michigan, but only on Michigan. It does not go to the convention center. You’ll have to walk four blocks, or transfer to the #3 or #21. If you’re coming from downtonwn, catch the #3.
4) The shuttle. C2E2 is sponsoring shuttle buses. Information is available at the convention, as well as the Concierge desk in the South Hall. The other convention (bath and kitchens) also runs shuttles, and you’ll probably need to show your badge to ride. If you can pass as an industry professional, go ahead and try, but I do not recommend it. You might find yourself experiencing a private and personal inspection of how a septic tank works. If shuttles use the exclusive busway, travel times will be faster than regular surface traffic.
(NOTE: I spoke with the concierge on Thursday, and he had a wealth of knowledge about where to eat, drink, and have fun. He is WORLD CLASS. I don’t know if you’ll meet him, but that desk is the information center for the convention center. While there, enjoy the prancing fountains.)
5) The taxi. Outside the South Hall, near the Hyatt, is a taxi stand. When I left the center Thursday around 5 PM, there were five or six taxis waiting for passengers. I asked my hotel concierge about the cost, and she said it would be about $17 (from the Loop to McCormick). If you can’t get to the train, bus, or shuttle, then this, of course, is your last resort. If you have a lot to carry, this will probably be the most convenient mode of transportation.
6) The car. http://www.mccormickplace.com/maps_direct/maps_dir.html has a map of the area, as well as information about parking. Lots of space, but the flat fee is $19 a day, each time you enter the garage. Lot C is directly south of the Lakeside Center building where C2E2 is being held, and has 1900 spaces. There is an access road which is accessible from northbound Lake Shore Drive, after you pass under the pedestrian bridge near East 35th Street. If traveling southbound on Lake Shore Drive, there is an exit ramp for East 31st Street. Turn left towards the Lake, cross OVER Lake Shore Drive, and turn left onto the access road. If travelling from the west, take 31st Street. If traveling from the east, dock our boat at Burnham Park Harbor, or beach it at the 31st Street Beach.
There is also surface parking to the north of the Lakeside Center, used by Soldier Field. Access to the parking, pedestrian access to the Lakeside Center, and cost is not known.
Google Maps offers street views for most of the area.
7) The miscellaneous. If traveling from above, DO NOT LAND at Meigs Field. It is no longer an airport, and once you land, you will be treated as a celebrity by the local constabulary, complete with round-the-clock news coverage, front page coverage on all local newspapers, and private accommodations with an around-the-clock security detail. If necessary, your privacy will be protected by flying you to a remote government-run spa in the Caribbean.
Otherworlders often mistake Soldier Field as an interdimensional terminal. The terminal is actually located at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, but reservations are required, as the broadcast grid is sometimes used for concerts.
Chicago is based on a grid. The center of all directions is State and Madison, located within the elevated loop downtown. East-West streets are numbered from State; North-South streets are numbered from Madison. Numbered streets follow the grid numbering, and all subway/el train stations post the coordinates on the station signage. McCormick is approximately 2200 South, 400 East.