Don't let NATO get in the way of your weekend fun
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Residents of Chicago and visitors don’t have to let the NATO summit get in their way of making special plans. Most of the restaurants, shopping centers, and hotels downtown are open, but managers are taking extra precautions.
Cite, on top of Lake Point Tower, will only allow their customers to come in with a valid I.D. Also valet parking with not be available, and is only reserved for residents. Kristen Masterson, a hostess, urges customers to use public transportation or find other places to park.
“We are less booked then we usually would be, but we still have a good number of people,” Masterson said.
The manager at Quartino’s said they have minimized reservations. They have also closed their patio. They plan to offer valet parking, but the decision has not been finalized. Quartino’s is still expecting a lot of people even though there will be traffic.
The manager of Ralph Lauren Café, located at 115 East Chicago Avenue, said it will be “business as usual.” Valet for customers will be available and they are open over the weekend.
Shopping centers such as the Water Tower Place and the Shops at North Bridge, which are both located on Michigan Ave. will be open for regular business hours.
If you get tired, you can stop at the Congress Plaza Hotel for $203.70 for a standard queen room per night. Locations that are closest to McCormick Place such as the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place are sold out. A cheap alternative would be Best Western Grant Park Hotel from $98.99 from Sunday to Monday.
An employee at the Radisson Blue Aqua Hotel, who did not want his name used, said the hotel is not worried because they are not close to McCormick Place, but they are taking extra precautions that cannot be discussed “for security reasons.”
Getting around may end up being a headache because certain streets will be closed. The Chicago Tribune reported that Lake Shore Drive will be closed from 39th street to Balbo, Saturday through Monday. Also, the Stevenson Expressway from the Dan Ryan Expressway to Lake Shore Drive during the same time frames. There might even be random street and expressway closings.
If you are planning to go anywhere into the downtown area, especially the ‘Red Zone,’ allow plenty of time. CTA and Metra may make unannounced security checks.
ChicagoNow reported that 26 bus routes will be affected by the summit. On the CTA official page they state that the ‘L’ will run normally.