Navigating McCormick Place

McCormick Place is one of the most popular conference and show locales in Chicago, but navigating can be stressful, even for locals. Here’s my guide from going here for – wow, decades? – and shortcuts to a less stressful experience.

Getting to McCormick Place

McCormick Place is ideally situated – if you’re staying at the Hilton there, or can pick up a shuttle from your hotel. It’s not the end of the world, but can feel like it from your cab window.

Parking around McCormick

There is $21 parking in parking lot A that gets you 16 hours, which is a decent deal considering the loop’s prices. However, there’s also parking lot B a bit to the south, which is $14.

Interestingly, I noticed that searching my favorite parking app, Spothero, for the next day’s parking lots, there were some rather inexpensive options – and the next day they jumped up over $55! I’m not sure how valid these prices are, but there also were lots starting at $15 for a 24 hour spot, so it’s worth checking out, the day before you plan to park there.

Once in a great while I’ll find free parking along Cermak near Indiana Avenue, but as always in Chicago, you need to be mindful of no parking signs.

Transit to McCormick

Taking the CTA is a bit of a gamble since there currently isn’t a direct way there; however, the green line stops nearby, about a 15 minute walk. Some buses drop off nearby, including the 21 and the 3, but you’d be best off using Google maps or the CTA site to work out timings.

Navigating to McCormick

Generally for larger shows, there will be signs. For smaller shows, know at least which area you’re in (south hall, etc). This is easier than asking where a show is in a constantly changing venue, since the area names don’t change.

Food options

You’ll find Starbucks terribly convenient – and sometimes the easiest choice. However, depending on schedules, you’ll also find food in the South Hall (sometimes regrettable pizzas…at least in my experience!). I’ve seen the 23rd St market, which offers a bunch of options, but it wasn’t open when I was there; at the very least it looks like some healthier options. But you’re still better off bringing your own water and snacks, as options at McCormick will run you $5+ for small packages and limited selections.

Have any recommendations for McCormick Place or another convention center?

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