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Author Topic: Dry Camping in Downtown Chicago  (Read 3760 times)


  • Posts: 1
Dry Camping in Downtown Chicago
« on: March 24, 2007, 08:58:44 AM »
I wanted to post this here so it's "recorded" some place. We took our brand new 35-foot Damon Daybreak to Chicago this week on a business trip and I scoured the net looking for places to park. The only thing I found was that you can park at the marshaling yard for McCormick Place (which is true) but a lady from the city told me (via e-mail) that we couldn't actually sleep in the motorhome, just park there. For the record, they have a 24-hour guard so we headed down-town figuring that worst case, we would just go there and see if we could camp.

I am here to tell you that we found an even better solution. On E. Illinois St, just two blocks off Michigan Avenue, there is an open-air, 24-hour parking lot with plenty of room for RVs. When we arrived at 11 a.m. the lot was full. The gate attendant told us to come back at 4 PM because most of the cars in the lot belonged to construction workers who got off work at 3 PM. We came back at 4 PM and sure enough, the lot was near empty. We had to pay for two parking spaces, but we enjoyed two nights in downtown Chicago for just $116.

You can access the lot off of Lake Shore Drive by getting off Lake Shore Drive at East Grand. Make a left on McClurg (there is another outdoor lot on McGlurg that is a tad cheaper, but it was full the whole time we were there. Go up to Illinois, make a left, and you are there. It is a bit hard to get into the lot, but the streets are pretty empty so you can make wide turns. The lot has a 24-hour attendant, and is right across the street from an AMC movie theater and a Walgreens (which stocks oil for our generator we discovered late one night).

One note on the lot: The lady attendant was very nice and told us if we pulled into two, end-to-end spots she would charge us for two spots. Because the aisles are narrow, you really need to get spots on the end of the aisle, preferably when the place is half empty. Some guy attendant there tried to put us in six spots along the back wall, where he puts the busses, and then wanted to charge us for six spots (at $30 per night!) but we convinced him we could fit in two end-to-end spots without disrupting traffic.

Anyway, it was a great experience and I wanted to pass the info along to anyone else who may be stopping in Chicago looking for a centrally-located place to stay.



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  • Posts: 4326
Re: Dry Camping in Downtown Chicago
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2007, 10:21:57 AM »
A few of years ago my wife won a destinguished award for service in the retirement industry and had to be in Chi at the Navy Pier.   Lumbering or unit of 65' was no easy task but we got ot the pier and when they found out what we were there for, things couldn't have gone better.  We were allowed to park our rig near the Bus storage for 2 nights and, hard to believe, they never charged us a dime.  Someone did us a favor and even asked the police and guards to check on us periodicly.  We enjoyed a great time and wife's speech went over very well, so it was a great weekend.  Even the journey out of Chi was quite simple and we continued our way axmzed at the hospitality we recieved.  Just hope no one got into trouble for or stay.
Old, Stubborn, Opinionated, Set in my Ways, and Independent,  IMHO