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How To Choose The Best Parking Garages In Chicago

Christine O'Kelly
Aug 30, 2008
Parking in downtown Chicago can be a stressful experience. However, to make your next experience with parking a stress-free one, choose to park your car in parking garages.

There are literally hundreds of garages for parking in downtown Chicago. The one you choose will be dependant upon the purpose of your trip. Are you going for a business meeting; catching a theater show; or taking the family to the Adler Planetarium? With a little research you'll find the right parking garages in Chicago for you.

1. Choose One With Multiple Entry Points

Downtown Chicago is littered with one-way street that can be very frustrating when you're trying to find a parking space. Often you'll have to circle the block to be able to approach the parking garage from the right direction. When you are researching the different parking garages, check to see if they have multiple entrances. Most popular garages will have two and some can have up to four entrances.

2. Select Valet Parking Garages or Self-Service

For a convenient and time saving way of parking in downtown Chicago, choose parking garages that offer a valet service. This valet service is particularly popular with business people, but can also be very useful if you're running late for a theater show, or sporting event. When parking with valet service, you simply drive your car up to the attendant's office and hand over your keys. Then you're on your way to your destination.

Valet services do charge a premium. If you don't need the valet service, then self-service parking is a great alternative. Most parking garages in Chicago operate on a self-service basis.

3. Check The Parking Capacity

The parking capacity of each garage varies greatly. There can be smaller operators that charge less for parking but only have a limited number of spots. In order to find a parking spot quickly and easily, check the car parking capacity of the garage before your trip downtown. Ensuring that there are an adequate number of stalls means that you'll never have to squeeze into an awkward spot, and risk damaging your car.

4. Investigate Payment Options

It may surprise you to know that a lot of parking garages in Chicago only accept cash payment. Realizing this when you're in a rush, or it's late at night, is highly inconvenient. Check with the parking garage in advance whether they take credit card or check payments.

Pre-paying is another great parking time-saver. If you're going to a major event downtown, you'll save time by pre-paying your parking. Normally after a certain time in the evening, or if there is a big event, parking garages will offer a flat fee. This means that the fee is the same whether you exit one hour before closing time or ten minutes. At the end of the show or game, you can simply drive out and avoid the queues.

5. Ensure There Are No Height Limitations

The last thing to consider when choosing parking garages in Chicago is whether there are any height limitations. If you drive an SUV or other large vehicle, you'll need to check whether your car will fit through the lowest part of the garage. It is advisable to do this before you get to your chosen garage.

Following these simple steps will ensure that your experience parking downtown is a pleasant one, every single time.
About the Author
Christine O'Kelly is an author for Chicago Parking Map.com. Their interactive maps provide all the information you need for parking in downtown Chicago with all of the insider knowledge of the parking garages in Chicago in an easy to navigate format.
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