Looks like I'll just chose whatever hotel suits me best and I'll use Uber/cabs. I also appreciate the shuttle idea. I didn't know that existed. But I won't let that determine my lodging.
Although, I am a little disappointed no one offered to host me for the week and provide personal transportation. I thought NDNation was better than that.
why you are attending conference
why you want to stay away from the conference
the message the this sends to others in your organization who are attending with you
If you are attending alone, then go for it
And I want to stay downtown so I can eat in nice restaurants and get a decent drunk on without having to suck up to a bunch of dorky industry stiffs.
...in downtown Chicago? Gotta think of everyone, don't ya?
We have the same issue for a convention there. Our conference runs shuttles from Palmer House, Hilton Towers Etc to the McCormick convention hall.
Staying in the convention center makes getting to work and back easier, but we did that one year and returned to the old way (Palmer House) and rode the shuttles.
I lived in Chicago >10 years ago. Since that time they added specific routes (partially underground) for hotel/conference center shuttles. The area around the convention is nicer now than it was before, but I agree that I would much rather stay elsewhere.
...that are right on or by Wabash (the green line runs on the El down Wabash): Monaco, Virgin, and the Silversmith.
C) is your best bet--partly because even now, finding a room the week of your conference could start to become challenging--it depends on the size of your conference and how many others are taking place at the same time.
Another possibility is trying to get into the Hyatt Regency hotel at McCormick and then Ubering/cabbing to wherever you want to go in the evening.
Do check to see if the conference runs shuttles. Even if it doesn't stop at your hotel, they may have one close by.