Subject: Chicago hotels
Hi, this is just my opinion, as someone who has lived in the city for the past 18 years, but I would never recommend staying in a hotel near O'hare if you plan on doing things in the city. It is boring and ugly out there, and a solid 45 minute train ride to get anywhere in the city, and you must combine a train and a bus ride or two trains, if you want to go anywhere in Lincoln Park, Lakeview (Cubs) Hyde Park, etc.

If you can't stay downtown or in River North, then Lincoln Park and Lakeview are outstanding choices. To add to the hotels already listed, one might consider the Comfort Inn, Lincoln Park, at 601 Diversey Parkway. This is right at the intersection of Clark/Diversey/ and Broadway. It is a nice place, with small dark rooms, but clean, well located, and fairly priced. In my view, it is rather European, with an old fashioned elevator and the small rooms. There is a parking lot very close to the hotel, and the Century Mall which is next to the hotel has recently been converted to house seven new movie theatres that show art/foreign and independent films. It is an easy walk to the lake, where there are great clay tennis courts and a golf driving range as well as access to the walking and bike paths. It is about a mile walk to Wrigley field where you can watch our hapless baseball team. It is one block east of Halsted St., which is full of restaurants, blues clubs and upscale shopping, most of which is located in the mile immediately south of Diversey.

Another option is La Marguerita Inn, up in Evanston. Evanston is the first suburb north of the city, and the home of Northwestern University. La Marguerita Inn is a European style bed and breakfast. I have never seen its rooms, and I'd be interested in hearing if anyone out there has experience with it. Evanston has many nice restaurants, great beaches, and is an easy train ride into Chicago. Also, one of Chicago's most elevated Italian dining experiences, Va Pensiero restaurant is located in the lower levels of La Marguerita Inn, and in my opinion, it is very worth the price.

Jon in Chicago