What were they thinking having the RSNA show in late November, on Thanksgiving weekend, and in Chicago? It might seem a bit strange, but the event organizers do this every year!
While the weather was beautiful last year, other years have been extremely cold and snowy. I know firsthand all about Chicago’s brisk weather because I was born and raised here, and I just moved back. Let's just say, you never know what you are going to get. It was so cold one year that the frigid weather created a sculpture of ice right off of the lake. Another year it was so windy and cold that the toll booth guy tore off the gate after it wasn’t working properly.
To survive the unpredictable Chicago conditions, you need to be prepared, and if you’re going to RSNA 2018, the time to start planning is now.
The Chicago Essentials: Where to Sleep, How to Get Around Town, What to Do for Fun, and Where to Eat
If you’ve never been to Chicago or the RSNA show before and are in need of some advice on how to get the most out of your experience, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Make hotel reservations immediately. The hotels in Chicago are expensive. During one weekend this summer, I was lucky to get a room for under $300/night. If you’re looking to save some cash, RSNA has some good deals on their event website, so check them out ASAP here: RSNA Hotel Reservations.
- Plan how you will leave the airport. Accessing Uber and Lyft from both airports is easy. Midway only has one pickup location, which is on the bottom level in the baggage claim area located at door 4. O’Hare has two locations on the upper level. Make sure you direct the driver to the right one. I once had an Uber driver go to the wrong location, and it took 30 extra minutes for him to get to where I was because he had to drive around again. Remember, call them if you are confused; they get that a lot!
- Having an Uber/Lyft ride take you around downtown is the perfect way to go. Parking alone will be like putting your car up at Motel 6. It can often be as high as $50/night. There are always plenty of Uber/Lyft rides around. Just remember to give yourself enough time to order one, especially if you need to be at the show or at a meeting by a specific time.
- You really need to plan some time for fun! Chicago offers anything and everything. Whether you want to go to a concert, attend a sporting event, visit a museum, take a guided tour, or dance at a nightclub, you can make it happen. You can also visit top attractions like Navy Pier or Millennium Park. The Shedd Aquarium is also world stellar, and it has one of the best views of Chicago’s skyline. If you want another great view, you can view Chicago from the 103rd floor in Willis Tower (Chicagoans still call it Sears Tower).
- Visit the RSNA Expo Hall. Obviously you're in town for the annual RSNA conference and it only make sense to carve out some time to be in the warm indoors, and visit with the exhibitors. I'm always impressed by the displays of the big players (Bayer, GE, Philips and Siemens). Xybix will also be there with an impressive imaging desk furniture display that you need to add to your MUST SEE while in Chicago. Plus, we have just some friendly people that will be itching to say hi to any passer by!
If you’re interested in more inspiration on what to do during your stay in the Windy City, there are some great, inclusive resources listed here.There are restaurants galore with amazing food. Do you want Italian, Indian, Greek, Mediterranean, German, Mexican, or sushi? Whatever you’re craving, you can find it in Chicago. The classics are listed in the Chicago Eater from July of this year.
For more dining inspiration, here are some other delicious recommendations:
- Are you looking for a true Chicago hot dog? Try Portillo’s or Gene & Jude’s.
- Are you hoping to find a beef sandwich? Portillo’s and Al’s Italian Beef will satisfy that craving.
- Do you want a great steak? Gene & Georgetti’s is on the classic list, yet you can’t go wrong with Gibsons either.
- The famous German restaurant is The Berghoff. They boast the first liquor license in Chicago.
- Of course, you must have Chicago pizza while you are here! Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, Gino’s East, and Pizzeria Due are a few pizza places you want to try.
- If you want to go back to your room for a quiet dinner, you can always pick up some food at Mariano’s or Whole Foods.
- If you want to be spontaneous, just do what my daughter and I did by walking around town. You will find the perfect spot!
Enjoy Your Trip!
Now you’re all set, and you just need to pack your bags for RSNA! I am assuming you’ve made your airline reservations, but if not, United and Southwest are main hubs here, though every airline flies through Chicago. You can go and get to any place you want.
Now we hope for good weather, but Chicago is known for being unpredictable. If it is freezing and snowy, just know that you are experiencing part of the thriving metropolis of people who live like this, and at the end of your trip, you get to fly home.