Transportation to NGAUS Conference Requires Prior Planning

(June 3, 2014) Chicago, the site of this year’s 136th NGAUS General Conference & Exhibition, is no small town. So transportation around the city requires prior planning.

NGAUS and the National Guard Association of Illinois (NGAI) are finalizing details for the entire event, including the logistics of ground transportation around the Windy City.

Options are plentiful, but don’t expect a quick trip from Point A to Point B, especially when arriving in the third largest city in the United States.    

For conference-goers who fly into one of the city’s two major airports, shuttles to conference hotels will be available for a fee. Attendees can go online and reserve a spot based on their flight arrival time. A one-way reservation from O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is approximately $19, while the same from Midway International Airport (MDW) is approximately $15.

This cost, however, will be offset by a reduction in hotel costs. The NGAI recently renegotiated the room rates at all four hotels from $189 a night to $166.  To reserve a shuttle, visit the transportation tab at www.ngaus.org/ngaus2014.

Those on a tight transportation budget should consider the Chicago Transit Authority, which runs trains from both airports to within a short walk of the conference hotels, which are clustered around the city’s Magnificent Mile on North Michigan Avenue.

Taking the train from O’Hare to the hotels will take approximately an hour. The train from Midway will take approximately 30 minutes. Attendees with a current Armed Forces ID card can travel for free on CTA. Please speak to a station attendant or bus driver for details. And for travelers who do not have a current Armed Forces ID, the estimated cost for the train is $2.25 to around $5.  

From O’Hare, conference attendees should take the Blue Line to Washington Station. At Washington, get on a Red Line train headed towards Howard. To reach the Hyatt Regency, hop off at State and Lake Street, walk three blocks east on East Lake Street and two blocks north on North Stetson Avenue.

To get off near the Intercontinental Chicago and Marriott Chicago Downtown, get off the Red Line train at Grand Street Station and walk three blocks east on Grand Street to the Magnificent Mile.  The Sheraton Chicago will be a six-block walk east on Grand Street from Grand Street Station and two blocks south on North Columbus Drive.

Travelers coming from Midway should hop on an Orange Line train and get off at Roosevelt Station. At Roosevelt, attendees should transfer to a Red Line train headed towards Howard and follow the same directions as above.

Chicago’s Union Station is the transit hub for regional trains headed into the city. This might be the easiest form of transportation for attendees in Illinois and neighboring states. To get from Union Station to the Hyatt Regency, walk east on West Jackson Boulevard and take CTA Bus 157 (Chestnut/Lake Shore) from the Canal & Adams stop to the Michigan & East Wacker stop. Walk east one block.

To get to the Sheraton, take the bus to the Michigan and East Illinois Street stop. Walk two blocks east on East Illinois Street and one block south on North Park Drive. To get to the other hotels, take the same bus to the Michigan & Grand Street stop on the Magnificent Mile.

For fare calculators, trip planners, maps and more, head to www.transitchicago.com.

Taxis and driving to the city are other options, but both are expensive. Hotel parking is estimated to cost between $46 and $69 a night. Attendees can also park a car overnight in Lot A at McCormick Place where conference events are being held, and then take free shuttle busses to the hotels. That option costs $34 overnight.

A taxi from O’Hare to downtown runs around $40, while a taxi from Midway costs around $30. Once at the hotels, free buses will shuttle attendees to and from all conference events. More details regarding ground transportation and NGAUS 2014 can be found at www.ngaus.org/ngaus2014.