For several years the ordeal known as Hoteloween has been one of the the signature terrors of attending the San Diego Comic-Con — namely, the frustration of trying to get a decent room while competing against 50,000 other people trying to get online at the exact same time as you. Good hotel rooms are secreted away and stored, while others dole out tons of cash for a room that would be average at best.

But next week’s debuting C2E2 in Chicago has the polar opposite experience. Waiting to get a room with Chicago’s ample inventory may actually result in a CHEAPER rate than even the con offers. The Beat and FMB had been dithering about where to stay and just this week got a hotel room via — one that’s on the shuttle route and has free Wi-Fi and a rate cheaper than the regular rate. The only catch? You need to pay for the whole thing up front.

It’s not an unusual experience — Chicago has tons of hotel rooms and they rarely reach capacity. For instance, is still offering a few rooms at the Essex Inn, a popular choice about a mile from McCormack Place that is on the shuttle route. For the truly budget conscious, there are still a few cheap downtown hotels available a short hike from the shuttle route.

If you’re really going last minute, you can even book a room and a flight for under $400 a person via Travelocity’s Last Minute Packages page.

Should this show develop into a blockbuster, the availability of cheap hotel rooms and flight even at the very last minute is going to seem very attractive.


  1. Joking or not, San Diego is scheduled against the Chicago-Mackinac race launch. The Loop hotels get suprisingly busy.

  2. Flying Laguardia-Midway via Southwest, for about $200. Laguardia is a mess, but don’t have to deal with O’Hare. SW usually gets me there ahead of schedule. Staying at a Choice Hotel somewhere near the river (employee discount), not too far from the Metra train and Millenium Park. Since there are lots of hotels in that area, I figure it’s either a shuttle bus or a taxi back if no train. Not that far, probably $5-$10 taxi. Subway/El is a bit out of the way.

    Otherwise, there are few hotels near McCormick. I even checked B&Bs, but nothing affordable.

    Many years ago, I stayed at the youth hostel at Columbia College downtown and took the El to Rosemont. Dunno where it is now, but if you’ve got a group, you can get an exclusive room, and the community kitchen saves money. Usualy $30 a person per night. Private rooms cost more, but still afordable. AYH is the brand to look for… non-profit organization. And you’ll meet lots of cool people.

    Is the Bar Con at the Con Hyatt? Wrigley Field?

  3. As far as evening activities go, you’re better north of the river rather than south. Restaurants, bars, and assorted other nightlife is much livelier than in the loop and south loop.

  4. Well, we kinda of think of WonderCon as also being Hotel-mas.

    We sold out of our initial room block and but were able to increase it..and room rate IN SF of $109. now THAT is Hotel-MAS!

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