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C2E2011: Transportation



The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, also known as C2E2, is set to begin next weekend!  If you’ll be attending, here are some helpful hints on how to make your way to the West Building of McCormick Place!

Just so there is no confusion (at least from this website)…

C2E2 has changed locations at McCormick Place!  There are four buildings, and this year, C2E2 is in the WEST Building (where the city buses stop).

First, here’s the official link to Reed Pop’s info!  That includes car, taxi, train, and plane!  (I assume those using less traditional methods such as flight rings or rocket boots should approach low from the east over Lake Michigan–to avoid triggering area radar–and enter the convention center from the Lakeside Center.)

McCormick Place’s official directions page is here.

If you’re using Google maps (or other map software), McCormick Place is located near the juncture of the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) and Lake Shore Drive (Highway 41).  If looking at a bird’s-eye-view of the city, follow the lake shore south until you hit the Shedd Aquarium and Northerly Island Park, which juts into the Lake.  Soldier Field is the other landmark there… it’s the building that looks like a UFO crashed on top of a stadium.  McCormick Place is south of the park, at approximately 23rd Street.  Or follow Interstate 55 east until you hit the Lake.  McCormick is directly north.

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.

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 right, and walk across the overpass to the West Building.

Nice, but not convenient.  Info here.

If you’re a Green Lantern fan, you can replicate this year’s C2E2 poster at the Cloud Gate (AKA “The Bean”) located in Millennium Park a few yards from the Metra station entrance.

2)  The subway. Take the Red Line to Cermak-Chinatown.  Then hike eastward 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, but it does connect to the #3 bus at King Drive, which you should take northwards, although it looks like the station has limited access.  The Pink Line also connects with the #21 bus on Cermak further west.

3)  The bus. The #3 and #21 buses stop in front of the McCormick West Building.  The #3 runs north along Michigan all the way to downtown.  The #4 bus also runs along Michigan, but only on Michigan Avenue.  It does not go to the convention center.  You’ll have to walk two blocks along Cermak, or transfer to the #3 or #21.  If you’re coming from downtonwn, catch the #3 and do some sightseeing.  As always, ask the bus driver if the bus is headed to McCormick, and if so, ask the driver to let you off near the West Building.

4)  The shuttle. C2E2 is sponsoring shuttle buses. Information is available at the convention, as well as the Concierge desk in the South Hall.  If shuttles use the exclusive busway, travel times will be faster than regular surface traffic.  If it runs like last year, the shuttles will probably be located on the First Level.

(NOTE: I spoke with the concierge last year, 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.  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.

There is also surface parking to the north of the convention center, used by Soldier Field.  Access to the parking, pedestrian access to the convention 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.

  1. On the weekend, trains leave about every ninety minutes. Metra does offer a weekend pass.

    The “every ninety minutes” on average thing is only true on Sundays. On Monday-Saturday, the train stops approximately every half an hour during morning and evening rush hours and every hour the rest of the time.

    As far as the pass goes, it costs $7, so it’s only cost-effective if you plan on taking Metra more than twice.

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