Pittsburgh to Chicago.
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Oct 29, 2013 2:24 AM Last Post By: richardg3
Oct 7, 2013 6:44 AM
Day 1-2: Pittsburgh
Day 3: Cleveland
Day 4-5: Detroit
Day 6-7: Indianapolis
Day 8: St Louis
Day 9: Travel to Chicago
I'd take evening buses (megabus/greyhound) between these places and was wondering if anyone knows cheap hostels/motels to stay near the city centres? I've found Cleveland hostel, Hostel Detroit and the Huckleberry Finn youth hostel (St Louis). Does anybody know anywhere cheap to stay in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis? Can anyone recommend any places to visit in these cities other than the obvious (gateway arch, indianapolis speedway, Henry Ford museum, Rock and roll HOF...).
Thanks for any help.
Oct 7, 2013 12:38 PM
1Indianapolis is not a very easy city to get around without a car. The Speedway is about a 20 minutes' drive from downtown, although I suppose you could get there by city bus. Many other places you'd want to go (Indianapolis Art Museum, Broad Ripple, Zionsville, etc.) also require a car. You could saunter around downtown for an afternoon or so, taking in the Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum (Native American art), canal walk, and Circle Center Mall, but that's about it. The cheap lodging in Indy is also not going to be downtown, which caters toward business/tourist visitors; it's going to be on the outskirts of town, in chain hotels/motels. Of course, Indy is not that expensive a city, so perhaps through Priceline you could land a relatively cheap rate on a nice hotel downtown.
I have to ask: is there any particular reason for this itinerary? I'm from Indianapolis and a proud Midwesterner, but your trip--one-day visits via bus to mid-size Midwestern cities--sounds pretty hellish. Frankly, I would just get myself to Chicago ASAP, where there is more cheap lodging, better public transportation, and more options than all those other cities combined. I'd much rather spend more days there than one/two days in five other cities.
Oct 7, 2013 12:39 PM
2I'm planning to spend some time in the USA this winter.
This makes your itinerary even more bizarre. The winter is NOT the time to be visiting the Midwest in general, much less walking/waiting for public transportation in zero-degree temperatures. I hope you have lots of warm clothes.
Oct 7, 2013 1:01 PM
3If you arrive by bus in these cities there may be some cheap hotels still operating around the bus stations...
But these are not real good neighborhoods usually... Some extra caution with your person and your stuff is strongly advised...
I like your choice of cities...Totally Hard Boiled...Pittsburgh will be virtually a Cultural Mecca... Indianapolis you could spend a week there in two days...or it would seem like a week...
Detroit is cleaner and safer than many think....but very empty...
Cleveland and Detroit... Ahh what to say about these two post-industrial gems...
The Henry Ford is worth seeing but its in a nearby suburb of Detroit by the Ford Factories...called Dearborn...nice place very safe...Lots of Arabs much of the signage is in Arabic...
St Louis...Well don't make any wrong turns and you'll do OK...but that's hard to do around the Arch...
Chicago is well worth your time...first class everything Museums, Bars, Restaurants its MidWest's answer to NYC...
Trip sounds awesome...bring a nice camera that you can hide in your pocket...Great Photo Ops...!
Oct 7, 2013 1:59 PM
4Cleveland's cultural area, including an excellent and free art museum is close to the bus rapid transit line that runs from downtown--you also can take the rapid transit line. The rock hall of fame is downtown and there is nightlife in several pockets around downtown. The flats--a still functioning port/industrial area with entertainment venues is adjacent to downtown and an interesting/unique place to explore--lots of interesting bridges in particular. Take the Green Road Shaker rapid transit line to Warrensville Center Road and then walk back to Lee Road via South Park Blvd--beautiuful mansions and Shaker Lakes park. It beats the older wealthy 'burbs of most other American cities.
Unless you're a huge racing fan, Indy would be a waste of time, given how long it takes to get there and the boring trip that's involved. Cleveland and Chicago have far better art museums, zoos, etc.
Pittsburgh is interesting mostly for the geography--lots of hills.It's an old city with intersting old buildings, Inclines in various places with good views. Only San Francisco is similar geographically and Pittsburgh lacks the attitude. The Warhol Museum is worth a visit.
Oct 7, 2013 2:40 PM
5I see no good reason to visit any of these cities, especially in winter, and especially without a car. Though Cleveland has a decent downtown area, the Rock n Roll Museum, Indianapolis is dead, clears out at 8pm overall. Detroit is not much fun other than the Greek town/Casino area, and St Louis is best with a car, besides the downtown riverfront/Arch and Union Station areas. St Louis has a excellent Art Museum and Zoo.
American travel via bus or train is a pain, especially 2nd and 3rd tier cities like these, and more than likely not a good schedule and or in desolate and not so outsider friendly hobo kind of areas too. Mega Bus may be a good option,
Chicago is fun and easy.
Oct 7, 2013 6:38 PM
Oct 8, 2013 12:16 PM
7Thanks for all the help. I'm spending a week in Chicago after this trip so adding more time there would be silly. I'm from the north of England so temperatures in the 30s isn't a problem at all for me and megabus/greyhound/hostels have always done well for me in the past.
I love motor racing so Indianapolis is a must. St Louis is a must due to the arch, Cleveland for the RnR HOF and I've always been interested in Detroit and Pittsburgh.
I'm spending so little time in each city as I just want to see the main bits.
Oct 8, 2013 3:16 PM
Oct 9, 2013 6:40 AM
9Okay, your explanation makes sense. So at least in Indianapolis, you should visit the Speedway, obviously, and you might also try to visit Lucas Oil Raceway (formerly Indianapolis Raceway Park), which has hosted the national championships of less-popular (to most) but still popular (to some) forms of racing like drag racing, funny cars, etc. Not being too into racing myself, I've never been there, but you should look it up and see if it interests you. It is, however, outside Indianapolis proper, so you will almost certainly need a car to go there, or else hire a driver or something. I doubt any buses go there. The Speedway is not downtown but about 15-20 minutes west of it, in a fairly unimpressive part of town (actually, it's technically a separate town surrounded by Indianapolis). I'm sure the local bus system goes there. If you're into racing, you could probably spend at least a half a day there.
I would try to see if you can get a cheap hotel deal downtown on Priceline, Expedia, etc. I'm not familiar with any hostels or cheap motels downtown, at least ones you'd want to stay in. Downtown is basically bounded by I-70, I-65, and the White River. Once you go outside of this area, you are in the inner city and, generally, it gets sketchier (certain neighborhoods, e.g., Fountain Square, excepted). The closer you can stay to Monument Circle, the better. The sights that I listed above are worth checking out, and downtown in general is pretty nice to walk around in. I would add Massachusetts Avenue and Lucas Oil Stadium to that list, by the way. Since you won't have a car, you won't be able to visit places like Broad Ripple, which is probably the most interesting/fun part of town outside of downtown.
Oct 11, 2013 7:03 PM
10"I'm from the north of England so temperatures in the 30s isn't a problem at all for me"
If you are going in January/February, you may actually be dealing with sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures. England likely hasn't prepared you for the feeling of trying to breathe when it is -10F. December is a bit better--usually 20s in Chicago, colder in N. Indiana.
That being said, if you layer all the warm clothing you own, bring a second scarf for wrapping around your face when it gets below 10, and have thick-soled shoes to avoid frost bite, you should be okay. Though keep in mind I-80/I-90 does occassionally close for bad weather (though is usually reopened quickly).
Oct 12, 2013 1:52 PM
11I've got to say I admire your ambition to visit these cities in the winter. I personally think everyone of these locations is dramatically more enjoyable (or tolerable as the case may be) in the summer months. In the winter, many places have very short open hours and some attractions of any type just won't be open at all, so just be prepared. The transportation systems in the U.S. are disappointing compared to the UK or Europe. If you can travel to the American South or Southwest in winter that would be probably more pleasant. At first I thought perhaps you were going to be on some type of business trip visiting those particular locations during winter. In any case, safe travels to you.
Oct 12, 2013 2:01 PM
12Let me correct myself - 75% of the USA doesn't have a transport (train) system comparable to the UK/Europe with the exception from Boston south to Washington DC. The rest of the US has bits and pieces of rail system but it's not quite the same.
Oct 13, 2013 2:10 PM
13The comments about winter are pretty questionable, having grownup and lived as an adult throughout OP's route. None of the venues mentioned by OP or others have hours that will be greatly truncated in winter. The only place you'd see that would be in resort towns like Saugatuck, which are not part of the route. Indy gets rather little snow and few days that are much below freeaing; Cleveland's snowy rep mostly applies to the rural and exurban areas to its East. Where you do get snow it usually mitigates the dreariness that's common in Winter, because it reflects the light. The bare trees make many places more interesting and attractive. This region has the infrastructure to ldeal with snow and cold.
The weather in much of the South is dreary for most of winter, more so because there's no snow to reflect the available light. Ice storms become more of a problem once one gets S of Washington DC, Dampness often takes away from the comfort of somewaht warmer temps. Much of the country is dreary in Wimnter--Los Angeles often fails to live up to its sunny rep for days at a time and Seattle is probably the most depressing place I've ever visited in December, and I'm otherwise a big fan of that city.
Oct 13, 2013 2:43 PM
14" The comments about winter are pretty questionable, having grownup and lived as an adult throughout OP's route."
My six years in Chicago beg to differ. Winter is cold, far colder than temperatures in the 30s (unless by "winter" one means November or May).
"The weather in much of the South is dreary for most of winter, more so because there's no snow to reflect the available light."
Winter in Houston is 60-80 degrees and sunny. Winter in North Carolina was also lovely--a bit of snow, but mostly quite mild. Which part of the South are you referring to? I mean, it is just so dreary and dark where I live that I can grow vegetables year-round :).
Incidentally, Chicago had so few sunny days in the winter (compared to say, Minneapolis), that the reflecting feature isn't so useful. Plus, snow in the city quickly turns grey or black, so it doesn't reflect very much.
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