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Chicago - Streetsmart - Accommodation & Dining Tips

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  1. Booking a Room

    To book a room, contact the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCVB). Discounted rates can be found by checking the Internet on sites such as www.877chicago.com, calling the hotel directly, or contacting a reputable, no-fee reservation service such as Hot Rooms and Hotel Reservations Network. To hold a reservation, a credit card is usually necessary: no-shows will be charged. Be sure to specify if you want a smoking or non-smoking room.

    CCVB

    Hot Rooms

  2. Rates

    Hotel rates vary according to the hotel category, and the time of week and season. Peak rates are weekdays and from April–December. Rack rates, the basic room rates, are the ones used in this book to provide a guide price. Don’t settle for them! It is almost always possible to get a better deal, so don’t be too shy to ask.

  3. Rooms

    Usually, the larger the room, the higher the tab, and many, though not all, hotels charge more for a room with a view – so consider how much time you will want to spend in your room before you pay the premium. Twin-bedded rooms are uncommon; most double rooms have either a queen- or king-sized bed or two double beds. If staying in a busy area, check to make sure rooms are soundproof.

  4. Bed & Breakfasts

    Bed & Breakfasts are a great way to see the city from a different perspective. For a list of homes offering guest rooms, check with At Home Inn Chicago, or Illinois Bed & Breakfast Association (ILBBA). Many require a minimum stay of two nights.

    At Home Inn Chicago

    ILBBA

  5. Taxes

    Downtown restaurants add on a 9.5 percent local sales tax to your check, and hotel tax in Chicago is quite high at 15.4 percent (though the suburbs are slightly cheaper). Room rates tend to be quoted without tax.

  6. Restaurant Reservations

    Some restaurants do not take reservations (or only for groups of more than five), while for others, in particular the upscale ones, reservations well in advance are a must, especially on weekends. We indicate a recommendation for the restaurants listed in this book, but it is always a good idea to call and check, especially if you have special needs or dietary requirements.

  7. Meal Times

    Breakfast is usually served in diners and coffee shops from about 6–10am. Lunch is normally available from 11:30am–2pm, and dinner takes place between approximately 5–10pm depending on the establishment. Early-bird dinners, normally served from 5–7pm, are usually a good bargain.

  8. Chicago-Style & Ethnic Cuisine

    Deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and steaks are Chicago’s main specialties. But in a city where a multitude of cultures meet, so do a multitude of cuisines, so check out the city’s many ethnic restaurants .

    Pizzeria Uno
  9. Portions

    You will find that portions vary hugely from place to place. Often portions at upscale restaurants are smaller, while steakhouses and ethnic eateries offer a more than generous serving.

  10. Dress Codes

    Few restaurants have strict dress codes, though some hotel and other upscale restaurants still expect men to wear jackets and ties.

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