OT: Where to stay for NW game?

Submitted by MGoSoftball on August 23rd, 2011 at 9:33 PM

I took the advice of some in a different thread and purchased tickets on the NW website yesterday.  I paid the extra $15 and am sitting sideline.  This is my first away game.

I will be leaving Detroit Friday night (07OCT) after work.  My question is to the Chicago Alumni and to those who made the trip before, where is the best place to stay?

My plan is to stay somewhere north of Chicago, then Saturday morning take wifey poo shopping.  I had to give into this demand for "permission" to go to the game.  So it is a trade off of sorts.  We will be staying both nights then drive home Sunday.

Any ideas?  We are looking for low to mid range as well.



August 23rd, 2011 at 9:43 PM ^

This might not be helpful, but the last time I was in Chicago (April), I booked a room for 3 at the Wyndham Chicago Downtown, a block off the Magnificent Mile, 1 day ahead of time for about $100/night. The listed rate for October 7-9 right now starts around $300/night (a bit less with nonrefundable full prepayment), so last minute booking might open up some deals for you. Whether or not that helps depends on how chill wifey poo is about planning...


August 23rd, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

It's true, there are a ton of hotels in Chicago and great deals can be found on short notice.  One weekend I just walked into the Drake Hotel and asked if they had a room for the night.  Sure enough I got a room at the Drake for $129/night.

That said, I'm sure you'd want to have plans settled unless you're the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type.


August 23rd, 2011 at 9:52 PM ^

Why stay north of the city, especially if your wife wants to go shopping? If you do that, you're going to be in the O'Hare hotels (everything in Evanston is expensive), and will have to schlepp in on the Kennedy to go shopping, which can be ugly, and you'll have to drive to the game. At any rate, it will be a lot of car time if you're staying north of Chicago.

Either priceline a hotel in the city or find a less expensive option. I've had good luck at the Willows, which is in Lakeview a few blocks below Belmont. It's an older hotel, but they've done a recent renovation and the rooms I've stayed in have been clean, if small. It's right by the lake and Lincoln Park and a longish walk to the Red line, which is the best way to get to the game. 

Chi Go Blue

August 23rd, 2011 at 10:05 PM ^

I think your wife will be happiest (and you therefore as well) if you stay downtown. You get unlimited shopping. It is really easy to take the L up to Evanston. The red line drops you off a few blocks from Ryan Field and runs really frequently. You would be able to budget shop a lot easier for hotels as well. Also, you wouldn't need to worry about driving to and from the game.

If you are looking to stay up in the suburbs (I grew up 20 mins away from Evanston), Evanston has botiquey shops, but doesn't have too much hardcore shopping. The best place around is Old Orchard Mall, which is like a 15 min drive away. There is a lot of office space around there and I've seen a few hotels around (prices probably wouldn't be . Try searching in Skokie, IL.


August 23rd, 2011 at 10:16 PM ^

As other people have mentioned it is probably not a good idea to stay "north of chicago."  There are only about three main options for hotels in Evanston: the Hilton Garden Inn, the Omni Hotel and the Best Western.  All of them are fine for their level but they might be much pricier than they need to be that weekend.  Chicago meanwhile has so many hotels that it wouldn't notice if there were 3 Big Ten football games in the city that weekend.

If you don't want to stay downtown there are a bunch of good neighborhoods that are north and still on the red line.  Try Gold Coast.  It's a nice neighborhood really close to the shopping on the Magnificent mile.  Or a little farther north is Lincoln Park and Old Town, a slightly underrated neighborhood.  Finally, I don't know if there are many hotels but Andersonville and Edgewater are a pretty cool "suburban style neighborhood" that has a huge Swedish bakery.


August 23rd, 2011 at 10:34 PM ^

My aunt lives there and there are some hotels and fairly easy access to the train system (about 45 to the metro in downtown) haven't thought much more yet and going I can get tickets later on


August 23rd, 2011 at 10:35 PM ^

And the northern burbs. It's a night game, so give some thought to how late you will be getting home. It's not too hard to get downtown either, just plan ahead. You can get a train up there that goes to Evanston, I think the alumni tent is right near the stop usually, so you can see some friendly faces. The train also goes downtown for shopping on sunday (unless you want to say it doesn't).


August 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 PM ^

inn of chicago on ohio st is great for downtown and picking up train to evanston

my family and i will be staying at key lime cove in gurnee .....awesome place for little ones as they have an indoor water park


August 23rd, 2011 at 11:34 PM ^

I'm staying in downtown Chicago fairly close to NW hospital.  I would highly recommend you book your room soon.  The Chicago marathon is that weekend, so a lot of hotels are booked up and prices are a bit more expensive.  I'm actually in town for that as my gf is running it with a bunch of friends (at least that's what I told her, though she really knows I'm really there for the Michigan game).


August 23rd, 2011 at 11:36 PM ^

There's a lot to be said for staying downtown.  If you do decide to stay North of the city, there's a reasonably-priced Holiday Inn in Skokie that's an easy drive from Evanston (the next town over).  I stayed there for the NW/Iowa game last year (wife is a Hawkeye and I went there for grad school) and it worked out well.


August 23rd, 2011 at 11:41 PM ^

We made this trip when I was a sophomore at Michigan, and turned into a 3 day weekend in Chicago, similar to what you are doing.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. Its the one that is actually in the same building as the Chicago Sun Times, and the lobby was on like the 20th floor. It was a nice place and we were able to get everywhere pretty easily.

We took the El downtown one day and did all the tourist stuff. The next day was the game and we took the El to Evanston. It took about an hour to get there with all the stops, but it was pretty cool because at each stop about 20 Michigan alumni got on the train with us. They had cases of beer and it became quite an atmosphere. 

Then on Sunday we spent time downtown again.

So long story short, I definitely recommend staying in the city as others have said. 


August 24th, 2011 at 12:01 AM ^



I live in in the northern Chicago suburbs and have been to just about every game that Michigan has played against NW since the early 90's when I moved here from California. My advice is the same as a number of others. Stay in Chicago. The best local shopping is Wicker Park (more local and excellent food), North Michigan Ave (expensive brand names but great viewing), Armitage area (a good mix and also excellent food). 

I have three daughters in their 20's. They all live in Chicago. They tell me that the shopping is better in Chicago. It some unique stores as opposed to any suburban shopping mall that you could find in Detroit. 

Book something now that allows to you to cancel at the last minute and shop for a hotel at the last minute. North of Chicago is more interesting (and better shopping than south Chicago and better bars/night life). Unless it is pouring rain that weekend (always a possiblity) then you will not spend much time in the room.

It will be a fun weekend for both of you!

Picktown GoBlue

August 24th, 2011 at 12:19 AM ^

with priceline for the Skokie hotels (right across the street from Old Orchard for some nice shopping) at about 50% of their rate (Comfort Inn and Doubletree), but with Name Your Price, you could also end up at the other end of Skokie at the Holiday Inn (still a decent hotel, though).  There are only a few hotels in that area, so you'll want to act quick if that's what you want (prices running $100-$200 a night around there).  

For ambience, stay downtown, but scanning the current prices, I can see that the marathon is putting a premium on things ($200 to $300+ a nite for some of the places I was going to suggest). 

You can do cheaper out by O'Hare (probably could do a bid of around $80 a night on O'hare South for 3 1/2 star on Priceline and get into Hyatt Regency O'Hare since it's currently $139), but the drive from there to Evanston is a bit of pain - plus side thought is that you're right on the highway and also near the El so it's easy to get downtown, or easy to get out to Woodfield for some serious shopping.  Would be a long couple of El rides with a transfer downtown, though, to get to NU's stadium from O'Hare.


August 24th, 2011 at 2:59 AM ^

I echo the suggestions to try to find a good deal in Chicago and take public transit to the game.

If you really want to get up to the game fast, I recommend the Metra (a commuter rail service) that can get you from downtown Chicago (the Loop) to Evanston (Central Stop) in less than 30 minutes.  This is much faster than the more colorful and pungent L.  You can buy a 5 dollar round trip ticket.  The only hassle is that the Metra runs once an hour on the weekend so you might be in for a bit of a wait on the way back from the game.

Check out


If you really want to stay cheaply "north of Chicago" your best bet would be the Travelodge or Courtyard in Glenview (20 minute drive to Evanston).  But you'd be hard pressed to pay less than $70 there.  You'll have a much more pleasant stay and have better access to dining and shopping if you stay in Chicago and with some luck might even get a $100 deal on a hotel room.


August 24th, 2011 at 7:22 AM ^

Where is the best place to get Tickets to this game? Wasnt there a tailgating deal also? Can you get it on Mgoblue or do you have to get it at the Northwestern website?

Franz Schubert

August 24th, 2011 at 9:22 AM ^

Im taking Amtrak from Flint and wonder if I could access downtown Chicago for shopping and get to the game without renting a car? If I stayed in Skokie, would I have to drive to the game or are there trais/buses?


August 24th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

For trains from Skokie it's going to be tough. All the Metra lines (suburban trains) run either in of or out of the city and Skokie is west of Evanston. If you're set on going to Chicago and not driving, the best way to do this (IMO) would be to leave Skokie in the morning, take the Metra downtown and spend the day there, then take the Metra back up to Evanston and take a cab after the game. The cab will be a bit pricey, but that's the only easy way I can think of not driving for the day.


J. Lichty

August 24th, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^

You can reach by public transport  pretty much whereever you stay close to the shore.  The skokie swift trainline will get you to the game via train if you do stay in skokie near old orchard and you can park near the swift.

Your best bet is to stay somewhere downtown though.  Amtrak will take you to Union Station and you can take Metra or CTA to the game.


August 24th, 2011 at 9:32 AM ^

My suggestion would be to stay either north of Evanston somewhere with a Metra stop, or in the city. Driving into Evanston is a pain (though my experience only extends to weekdays, I can imagine it would get tough for football too). Maybe it's just my personal preference, but I'd try my hardest not to drive anywhere. I'm from the suburbs, so I don't ever stay in the city other than on a friends couch, but I did stay at the Hilton Suites on Michigan for NYE and it was very nice, with a pool on the 30th floor and all.


August 24th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

I work in Chicago, hotels, particularly in rate-setting.

If you want to stay downtown, you'll be paying a very pretty penny, as the Chicago Marathon is that Sunday (incidentally, this could make a pre-noon departure difficult). No room at a place free of rats is selling under $300/night that weekend.

Staying in Evanston is most likely your best bet, though the demand from the marathon should radiate out there, and result in higher than normal rates. The nicest hotel in Evanston is probably the Orrington:



August 24th, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^

I've had good experience with Hotwire.com in Chicago.  Though you won't know the exact hotel until you've paid, anything in the Magnificent Mile Area or North Michigan Avenue-Water Tower Area will be convenient for shopping and transportation via red or purple lines to Evanston for the game.  Hotwire works with many reputable hotel brands (one of the 4 star partners frequently used is the Intercontinental on Michgan Avenue).  As mentioned by others, Marathon weekend is one of the most difficult of the entire year for hotel stays and pricing.  Also try Craigslist for homeowners who may be renting their places for the weekend.  See you at the game and Go Blue!