Mark Oakeshott, Mark Oakeshott Consulting LLC, welcomes visitors to IAM (International Association of Movers) in his adopted home town.
With this year’s IAM Convention only a month away I look forward to welcoming my clients, friends and industry colleagues to my adopted home town of Chicago. Having moved here in 1991, I thought it would be helpful to share some hints and tips for those travelling to Chicago for the first time or for those who have not visited the city for a while.
Arriving at Chicago O’Hare Airport
For those coming from overseas your point of arrival will likely be Terminal 5 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Upon landing you will obviously need to clear Customs and Immigration, so please make sure that you have any visa/arrival documents ready to speed your journey. Depending upon your arrival time, the lines for overseas visitors can be long. My advice is to be patient and always be as respectful as possible to customs officials. Having evidence of your stay at the convention is always a good idea to quickly respond and satisfy them regarding the intent of your visit.
After clearing passport control, you will need to collect your luggage and present your immigration paperwork one more time for the Food and Agriculture check. Inspection of luggage is rare, but possible dependent upon your point of origin, and always check prohibited items are not included before you leave home.
Airport to downtown Chicago
On leaving the Customs Hall you have arrived in the city of Chicago! The bad news is that the airport is some 15 miles from downtown, so you have a choice to make:
A cab from O’Hare to the convention hotel will cost you $40-$50 plus a tip ($5 tip is sufficient) and will take an average of 40 minutes unless you are arriving between 7am-9am or 4pm-7pm when travel times can be an hour or more.
Uber and Lyft are readily available in Chicago and recommended for trips within the city. An Uber or Lyft from O’Hare to downtown will cost you approximately $30 with an optional tip. Travel times are obviously the same as a taxi.
Often overlooked by visitors, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates a very frequent train service for only $5 from O’Hare to the city. The journey will take 45 minutes as there are regular stops. To get to the train station you will need to use the internal airport transport system to go from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 and follow signs to the CTA train. Get off the train at the Clark/Lake Street Station and the convention hotel is a 10-minute walk.
The Hyatt Recency
As you would expect, with over 2,000 rooms, the Hyatt Regency is far from intimate. However, it is perfectly located in the city centre, a short walk from Michigan Avenue (‘the magnificent mile’), the Chicago Riverwalk and a 10-minute walk to the lakefront. For those looking for breakfast, lunch, drinks or dinner outside of the hotel, there are many options to suit all budgets within easy reach.
Safety and security
Don’t be overly concerned about what you see or read in the news about Chicago. Although sadly, the wider city has more than its fair share of problems with crime and gun violence, this rarely (if ever) affects the city centre. With over 500,000 people working in the city and over 50 million tourists every year, the downtown area is a safe place to work and play. As with any city, be aware of pickpockets and keep your valuables safe. Needless to say, don’t wander out of the city centre late at night.
Weather – what to pack!
Autumn in Chicago is one of the best times of the year to visit the city. The heat and humidity of the summer months are long gone and replaced by often sunny days and cooler evenings. The day-time high of 15°C-19°C are great temperatures for sightseeing when your work is done, but bring a jacket or light coat for the night-time when temperatures can fall to a low of between 4°C-8°C.
What to see and do
From the spectacular lakefront to the fantastic architecture, museums and world-renowned Art Institute, Chicago is a great place to spend a day or two before or after the convention. At night, the city also boasts a huge number of restaurants, from inexpensive bars and neighbourhood eating to high-end cuisine to cater to every taste, not to mention the world-famous Chicago blues and jazz clubs!
I look forward to seeing you in “the city that works”!
Mark Oakeshott: A seasoned corporate executive, Mark Oakeshott’s career reflects numerous achievements in leadership roles within the moving industry. In April 2018, Mark established Mark Oakeshott Consulting LLC to leverage 40-years’ experience to help provide advice and guidance directly to moving companies and organisations involved in the industry. Mark is best known for his long and successful career with SIRVA Inc.
Photo: Mark Oakeshott