Travel

WHY CHICAGO?

Chicago is a city unlike any other. With architectural ingenuity at every corner, museums that rival the world’s best, thrilling music scenes, and an award-winning dining scene that tops the lists of food critics, Chicago impresses as a truly global city. But we’re more than just another big metropolis — the welcoming family of residents living in our 77 inclusive and diverse neighborhoods, the beautiful canvass of Lake Michigan’s shores sitting along our impressive greenspace, and the ease and familiarity that makes the Midwest so approachable, make Chicago a city that instantly feels like you’re at home. There’s a reason our city has been voted the Best Large City in the U.S. for the last three years.

Alongside our physical beauty, Chicago impresses visitors with an array of artistic allure. With award-winning theater, the best comedy scene in America, incredible world music festivals, and intriguing art exhibits, the Second City is anything but second-class. Learn about other great Chicago events at Choose Chicago.

Moreover, Chicago has been both a travel destination and refuge for the LGBTQ community, drawing millions of transplants and tourists alike to our accepting shores. We consistently host one of the largest Pride celebrations nationwide, the extravagant International Mr. Leather conference and contest, and many other diverse events that touch each corner of our community. The city also has a strong history of LGBTQ activism, with impactful organizations like the Center on HalstedHoward Brown Health CentersThe Brave Space Alliance, and Affinity. In addition, Chicago has the honor of having a Black lesbian at the head of our city government, now the largest city with an LGBTQ member at the helm of the mayorship.

 

GETTING HERE

Chicago is one of the easiest cities to travel to in the United States — geographically central and a major domestic and international air travel hub.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Airlines

O’Hare airport is a hub for American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines and is additionally served by Air New Zealand, Alaska, Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Sun Country.

Sweet Home Chicago has secured discounted pricing for airfare from United Airlines. You’re welcome to make your own arrangements for transportation but for easiest access to Chicago, book your flight with promotion code ZKD4600503 on United.com. (Promotional fares are marked “special offer.”)

    • The discount can be applied for reservations departing in as early as Sunday, May 22nd and returning as late as Thursday, June 2nd.
    • The discount is available for Sweet Home Chicago participants and any additional companions you choose to bring along, up to 9 people in a reservation.
    • The discount can be applied to any United or United Express fare on any flight in any cabin, including from London, Melbourne, or Vancouver.
    • To book an extra seat for a musical instrument, make your reservation by calling the United Meeting Reservation Desk at (800) 426-1122 Monday – Friday 8 am – 10 pm Eastern Time or Saturday – Sunday 8 am – 6 pm Eastern Time. Phone booking fees are waived for Sweet Home Chicago bookings.
    • There are no change fees for standard economy, premium economy, business class, or first class United or United Express tickets. Basic Economy tickets are changeable but incur a fee. Refunds from traveler-initiated cancellations are issued as future travel credit.

Ground transportation

Chicago’s downtown, the Loop neighborhood and the area of Sweet Home Chicago conference events, can be accessed by the CTA Blue Line, Lyft, Uber, or taxi.

If taking the CTA Blue Line, follow signs indicating train to the city (near Terminal 2) and take any Blue Line train to the Monroe stop.  The Palmer House Hilton — the host hotel — is a two block walk from the Monroe stop.  You do not need to buy a fare card to ride the Blue Line — all CTA trains and buses accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and tap-to-pay credit and debit cards.  However, an unlimited use CTA fare card may be cost advantageous if you plan to move about Chicago during your visit.  Fare cards can be purchased at all CTA train stations.

Lyft and Uber apps will tell you how to reach the rideshare pickup areas. Costs vary widely by time of day.

Follow signs to ground transportation to find the taxi area.

 

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)

Airlines

Midway airport is a hub for Southwest Airlines and is additionally served by Allegiant, Delta, and Frontier.

Ground transportation

Chicago’s downtown, the Loop neighborhood and the area of Sweet Home Chicago conference events, can be accessed by the CTA Orange Line, Lyft, Uber, or taxi.

If taking the CTA Orange Line, follow signs indicating train to the city and take any Orange Line train to the Harold Washington Library stop (longer walk) or Adams/Washington stop (longer ride).  The Palmer House Hilton — the host hotel — is a four block walk from the Harold Washington Library stop and a 1 block walk from the Adams/Washington stop.  You do not need to buy a fare card to ride the Orange Line — all CTA trains and buses accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and tap-to-pay credit and debit cards.  However, an unlimited use CTA fare card may be cost advantageous if you plan to move about Chicago during your visit.  Fare cards can be purchased at all CTA train stations.

Lyft and Uber apps will tell you how to reach the rideshare pickup areas.  Costs vary widely by time of day.

Follow signs to ground transportation to find the taxi area.

 

Chicago Union Station (CHI)

All railroads lead to Chicago — Amtrak can get you here.

Rail

Fifteen Amtrak lines with coast-to-coast service and six Metra lines with regional service converge on Union Station.

Ground Transportation

Union Station to the Palmer House Hilton — the host hotel — is a 15 minute, 9 block walk through downtown Chicago.

A number of buses run from Union Station to the host hotel.  Route 7route 126, and route 151 each have pickup stops at the train station and dropoff stops within one block of the hotel.  You do not need to buy a fare card to ride the bus — all CTA trains and buses accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and tap-to-pay credit and debit cards.  However, an unlimited use CTA fare card may be cost advantageous if you plan to move about Chicago during your visit.  Fare cards can be purchased at all CTA train stations.

 

Hotel Parking