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Parking out of town for July trip?

London, England
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Parking out of town for July trip?

Hey folks, am planning an end of July trip for a few days with my family, driving from New England. (Have just noted the lollapalooza festival dates, might impact timing/plans). Question is, is there somewhere nice on the lake south of Chicago,, with public transport into the city, where we could stay our first night as would be arriving late, leave the car there for a few days while we stay downtown, and where we would be happy to stay and explore for another night/day before heading back east? Would that kind of plan work anywhere?

Just seeing how we can do the roadtrip but not actually bring the car into the city where we wouldn't need it and it would cost us to park for 5/6 nights.

Otherwise will be looking for downtown hotels with reasonable parking rates, if such things exist. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

People ask that question a lot. The answer is no. Budget to park your car in the city. Just don't use it once you park it. Look at the parking sticky in Top Questions.

Illinois
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2. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

www.spothero.com and www.parkwhiz.com to save $$ on parking here.

London, England
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3. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

Thanks, should have done my homework on the parking sticky before asking...

pgo
Chicago
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4. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

You could look in the Portage, IN area. There is a commuter train from downtown Chicago (Millennium Park area). See info at www.nictd.com

You should arrange to leave the car at your hotel rather than an unattended train parking lot.

Edited: 26 March 2016, 16:20
London, England
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5. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

Thanks, that looks a pretty good option. The dunes look good for a visit before heading back east.

Chicago
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6. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

I'd rather not leave my car for several days, but maybe look at hotels in the New Buffalo, Michigan area - Amtrak stops there and it's a nice area for exploring.

Do stay away from the Lollapalooza dates if at all possible though.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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7. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

"Question is, is there somewhere nice on the lake south of Chicago,, with public transport into the city, where we could stay our first night as would be arriving late, leave the car there for a few days while we stay downtown, and where we would be happy to stay and explore for another night/day before heading back east?"

No.

This is the South Shore and South Bend's official stance on parking in their lots: www.nictd.com/riding-the-train/faqs

The OP can always do a quick search online and see what problems have happened in the past at these lots. And even perhaps call the applicable police department to see if there has been any recent or ongoing problems.

The OP *can* commute back and forth every day, if they wish - although it is a pretty long haul. Thousands of commuters from Indiana do it every single workday.

Via the South Shore, it's 1.25 hours each way between the Dune Park and Millennium Stations. From Michigan City to Millennium Station, about 1.75 hours each way. That's 2.5-3.50 hours commute time before adding in the commute to and from the South Shore stations, as well as the commuting to the various attractions within the city itself.

"You should arrange to leave the car at your hotel rather than an unattended train parking lot."

The OP can try but it may not (probably won't) happen. Hotel parking is for their *paying* guests only - and these aren't park 'n fly accommodations. They would definitely have to get the permission of the hotel because unauthorized vehicles are normally towed away at the owner's (in this case, renter's) expense.

Now, I'm not going to say it *isn't* going to happen at all - but the hotel will probably take no responsibility if it should. In the past, some people have tried this, particularly using the Tri-State Coach busses. It should also be noted that there's been a long history of unattended vehicles being stolen from those hotel parking lots - particularly from Michigan City, Indiana westward. In other words, no guarantees.

Edited: 27 March 2016, 12:04
Rensselaer, Indiana
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8. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

Re the New Buffalo Amtrak comment above. Again, I'd check with the police department to see if they'll allow overnight parking *and* if there have been any crime issues.

Normally, it's park at your own risk.

If the OP wishes to read my own trip report of last summer, I did stay at the Hilton Garden Inn just to the south of Chesterton for a couple of days and took the South Shore into Chicago.

I should mention that I use the South Shore and Amtrak many times yearly - and used to commute via the South Shore daily when I lived in the NW Indiana area, between there and Chicago. So very familiar with the set-up.

I would not recommend it for visitors who want a quality visit. You'll be tired from all that commuting back and forth. And I would *NEVER* leave my car unattended for days in one of the SS lots.

Edited: 27 March 2016, 12:13
London, England
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9. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

Will take a look at that trip report, thanks. My question has been misunderstood by some - was not considering daily commute, only one in/out at either end of a 5 day stay, and would also not think it wise to leave car in a station lot for a few days, only considering prearranging that with a hotel (incidentally the first hotel we called would be happy to take a booking with such an understanding). But I understand the crime concerns and am very happy to have them pointed out to me since I don't know the area. All helps with decision making.

Chicago Suburbs
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10. Re: Parking out of town for July trip?

Park at the South Bend, IN airport and take the South Shore line train to Millenium Park.