I am going to do my best to cover everything that I can. If there’s something you still have questions about, leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them there!
Where: Chicago, McCormick Place Convention Center
When: April 21-23 2017
Show Floor Hours
Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Panel & Screening Hours
Friday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Sunday: 10:45 AM – 5:00 PM
This is one of the cons I really want to get to. Is there a list of hotels you can recommend? Any tips you could provide to someone who has never booked a “convention trip” would be great. I’ve only been to local conventions, so other than a train I never had to really plan a real out of state trip.
They do offer a list of hotels! Just like many conventions, they have blocks of rooms booked at hotels around the convention and offer shuttles! The hotel I always suggest is Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. It’s attached to the convention center which can be a blessing for taking breaks, or if there’s bad weather. You never have to go outside to get from the hotel to the convention. Since it’s attached, this is the hotel that sells out first. The nice thing is, you don’t pay when you book. You pay once you check out/arrive! So even if you aren’t sure about attending, I recommend booking a room. It’s better to be set then to end up at a hotel farther away. Plus it’s a good place for celebrity/talent spotting and the bar is always packed at night! I’ve stayed here I think four times and would never stay anywhere else. They just really get into the spirit and go above and beyond for guests. Now, because it is popular, sometimes there’s a wait for the elevator or at the restaurants. But it’s never been a big deal personally. If you’re traveling from out of town, they even offer an airport shuttle! I think it’s $15 but I’d double check with them. At the moment hotels aren’t open for booking but just keep checking their website and social media for when it goes live.
As far as the traveling part, I always fly Southwest. The nice thing with them is if you book a flight now, and the price drops later, you can get a refund/credit for the difference. I recently had that happen and now I have $74 waiting to be used for my next flight! Of course when picking your airline, you need to do what works for your location and budget. When I fly into Chicago for whatever reason, I always fly into Midway. I hate O’Hare and avoid it when I can. Honestly, traveling for a convention isn’t much different than “regular” travel. If you’re flying with cosplay, be sure to check the rules about what can be in carry on and what needs to be packed away. If you have friends in the area, look into maybe shipping things to them ahead of time instead of packing them.
I know it’s in Chicago but how is the area in terms of drugstores/food/etc? This girl doesn’t drive so I need to see if things are around accessible by public transportation!! And yes! I need hotel recs!!
And are photo ops just like other cons? Do C2E2 ones sell out fast? I have Stan Lee’s signature but I want to try for a photo op!
I don’t want to say it’s in the middle of nowhere but it’s not in the middle of Downtown Chicago but it’s still easy to get around via cab or public transit! Here’s the Chicago Transit site. We’ve even used Uber a few times. There are plenty of restaurants that deliver as well. I know there’s a Target sorta nearby too for those that want to maybe stock up on snacks/food to save some money. It’s not that far from Navy Pier and other tourists areas. You just can’t walk to a lot of places is all!
The photo ops work just like at other conventions! You can buy them ahead of time. I don’t recall any photo ops selling out but since it’s Stan Lee’s last C2E2, I expect them to sell quickly. I’ve done a photo at C2E2 a few times and each time the staff were super nice and I never felt rushed. The photos print right there and you grab them as you exit. In the past, Epic Photos handled the ops! You can purchase autographs online as well! Plus I think you can buy them in person too. I’m someone who tries to have everything purchased before hand just to make my con easier. As far as prices go, it really depends on the celeb. I’ve seen photos/autographs from $30 to $100+ for a group or duo photo op.
I reached out to Melinda since she’s a local for more information on the area and on the transit options! She threw in her two cents about hotels as well.
Mel’s Hot Take
So Barb asked me to do a quip on hotels and/or transit in and around C2E2. I’m not sure if this is what she was looking for…but I can enlighten some of you.
First and foremost – if you’re going to pick a hotel based on distance to the con and nothing else ABSOLUTELY pick Hyatt Regency McCormick Place. It’s attached to the convention center and for those of you who hate stepping out into daylight will NEVER have to do so. But don’t let that be the only reason you choose this one. HRMP (which I will now call it from henceforth) is an amazing hotel and extremely accommodating during C2E2. Their crew and staff get really into it and they are THE place to stay. I honestly cannot say enough awesome things about them. And it’s not just C2E2. I’ve stayed there for concerts as well and they’re just as welcoming and awesome. Highly recommend. There’s also a bar, a restaurant, a quick convenience area and places outside your room to hang out with friends who are just in for a day of the convention… it’s really perfect.
Another close by option is Chicago South Loop Hotel. Granted it’s in the middle of nothing (the area is going through a rebuilding/re-growing stage) and it’ll seem isolated. We did stay there one year and it fit our needs. It was low cost and close. If you really wanted, you could walk to McCormick Place – but after a long day of walking the floor, who wants to do that. They were friendly…but it’s just a hotel. There’s nothing else there or nearby. Parking is an issue. (Barb here, it’s true. We drove around the block a few times before finding parking. They have a lot but it’s super small)
Being that this is Chicago, there are other options within two to five miles from the convention center. Especially along Michigan Avenue. If you’re looking at coming to Chicago and exploring more than just the convention I’d recommend staying there as well. There’s not only the great shopping area on Michigan Avenue (Water Tower), but there’s also restaurants, museums, Grant Park, and “The Bean” – all located within walking distance. I’d recommend (if money is not an option) checking out the Palmer House Hilton … or if you want something more along the River, the Swissotel Hotel. Both are beautiful hotels with great staff.
If you are looking at booking sites like Trivago or Booking.com remember to check the map. “Chicago” can be a very loose-ended description of the area and can include a 40 mile radius. Look for hotels along Lake Michigan, or “South Loop”, “The Loop”. This should help narrow the search and ensure that you’re not staying out in Rosemont or by O’Hare Airport (unless you want to stay there).
One thing I would not recommend is doing a vacation rental. Most of the condos in the immediate walking-distance area are full-time residents and have strict laws governing sub-renting and vacation renting. Beyond that, most are a further distance and the neighborhoods could be dangerous. Unlike Comic-Con in San Diego, this convention center isn’t plopped in the middle of a cute district with lots of little shops and high-rise apartments. So bear that in mind. Plus, it’s still cheaper to stay at HRMP.
Chicago is a very public-transit friendly city. We have not only a Metra Train that can take you from pretty much any suburb right into downtown, but we also have an inner-city train system lovingly called “The L”.
Union Station is the main hub for our Metra trains – but there’s also Oglevile Station. Neither are very close to McCormick Place, but there are several buses that travel all through Chicago that pick up at both stations. The #130 would probably be your best bet.
If you’re staying somewhere in “The Loop” you can hop on the L – there is a Green Line stop not far from the convention center and a Red Line stop as well – or you can take the #3 bus which would drop you nearby.
If you need more options, I’d recommend a site like http://rtachicago.com/ to help map out and plan your travel!
You can also use taxis, Uber, or Lyft. But be aware of upcharges or surge rates because of the con.
Or you can do what I’ve done and have your mom drop you off…right at the front door. Thanks mom!
There is a Target store, about a 10 minute drive from the convention center located on Clark and Roosevelt Roads. There is a CVS drug store about five minutes away (both walking and driving…but be aware of having to walk under the highway and it may not be traversable.
If you’re staying at HRMP – Papa John’s does deliver. Pro-tip: If you don’t mind cold pizza – order earlier than you’d expect. When we stayed there recently for the Coldplay concert, we knew we’d be hungry when we got back afterwards, so before we left we ordered the pizza to be delivered so that we could eat when we got back!
There’s also an Aurelio’s Pizza not far from the area (probably not walkable) that has good pizza. Of course there’s always fast food and the like in the area as well.
/End Hot Take
I hope this post answered some of the questions you might have about the convention! I always suggest checking out their website as well. They have a great little FAQ section that can be really helpful. Plus as the convention gets closer they’ll be announcing more guests, photo/autograph info, and more. Plus liking/following them on social media will be a huge help to your planning! If you have any other questions that weren’t covered, leave them in the comments! I’ll try and answer them the best I can!