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Where to Stay During the Chicago Marathon

Five hotels near the race route for runners and spectators alike.

Photo: The Bank of America Chicago Marathon

On Sunday, October 12, about 37,000 runners and nearly 2 million spectators will fill Chicago’s streets for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Do yourself a favor and book a room at one of these five hotels, each of which still have rooms available and offer worthwhile bonuses for runners and spectators.

1. Palmer House Hilton

17 E. Monroe St.
Distance from race: 0.3 miles from start line, 1.1 miles from finish line
Best for: Seasoned runners
Perk: It would be hard to find a better hotel as close to the start and the heart of the finish as the Palmer House (Read: sleep in longer, limp back sooner). After the race, when it’s time to ice your aching legs, order a celebratory cocktail in the historic lobby and enjoy views of the fantastic, massive mural painted across the ceiling.
Rate: From $359 a night, minimum two-night stay for Saturday and Sunday arrivals

2. JW Marriott Chicago

151 W. Adams St.
Distance from race: 0.7 miles from the start line, less than a block from Miles 2 and 12
Best for: Runners towing crowd support
Perk: Bring your cheering section for a stay at this lux financial district hotel and plan on seeing them at Mile 2 on LaSalle and just after Mile 12 on Wells (before the course heads west on Adams). After the race—and before lactic acid builds up—stop by Valeo Spa for a 30-minute Wellbody Express Massage, a treatment that combines pressure point techniques and stretching ($58).
Rate: From $369 a night, no minimum stay required

3. The James Chicago

55 E. Ontario St.
Distance from race: 1.1 miles to the start line, and about three blocks from Miles 1 and 3.
Best for: First-time marathoners
Perk: David Burke’s Primehouse has a few special meals in store. There’s carb loading on Saturday night with a pappardelle pasta and fall vegetables ($28), and a complimentary grab-and-go breakfast bag on Sunday morning. After the race, celebrate a major accomplishment with the one-night-only Pheidippides steak, a 26-ounce, 26-day, dry-aged rib eye named in honor of the Greek hero who inspired the marathon ($60). The morning of the race, runners can also participate in a complimentary pre-marathon stretch class with Dani Ragland of AIR Aerial Fitness.
Rate: From $395 a night, minimum of three-night stay

4. Hotel Lincoln

1816 N. Clark St.
Distance from race: 3 miles to start; across the park from Mile 5 and three blocks from Mile 10
Best for: Spectating with kids
Perks: In the morning, runners can load up at a mini-fuel station stocked with complimentary fruit, snacks, energy bars, and water. Later, spectators can greet runners as they wind along Stockton Drive and enter Lincoln Park, where the race opens up a bit, the sidelines feel less crowded, and kids can burn off steam at the park. Mile 12 is just three blocks west, where spectators can return for a second round of cheering.
Rate: From $399 a night, minimum of two-night stay

5. Palomar Chicago

505 N. State St.
Distance from race: 1 mile from the start line, on the course between Miles 1 and 2
Best for: Front-row spectating
Perk: This River North boutique hotel offers a rare opportunity to stay right on the course. Spectators can walk right out the front door and into the cheering scene between Miles 1 and 2, or three blocks west to greet runners again as they approach Mile 3. Snacking is also encouraged for both runners and spectators: A free carb-continental breakfast will be available in Palomar’s lobby, and granola bars and water will be available throughout the race.
Rate: From $409 a night, no minimum stay required

Chicago Travel will be taking a break next week, but it will return on Monday, Oct. 6.


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