Why Chicago?

Chicago is the ideal location to be the host city for the MPSA conference for several reasons. Although our name denotes a regional representation, the MPSA conference is actually a national and global conference which draws attendees from all over the country and the world. The conference historically averages more than 4,500 attendees from every state in the US and over 65 countries around the world representing 90+ political interest areas. Nationally speaking, Chicago’s central location in the heart of the country allows for relatively easy access for attendees from both coasts. Featuring two international airports (ORD and MDW), Chicago is one of just FIVE cities on Earth with direct air service to all inhabited continents – traveling to Chicago couldn’t be easier! While international attendees get to experience one of the country’s most exciting cities with easy flight access hub. Coupled with its unique history, the Chicago location will be integral in providing easy access for our growing audiences, as we continue to grow nationally and globally.


Traveling to Chicago

Two international airports service Chicago



We recommend booking convenient and affordable parking in advance through SpotHero, the nation’s leading parking reservations app.

To reserve your parking spot for the MPSA Conference, visit the Palmer House Hilton SpotHero Parking Page.


Public Transportation

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation’s second largest public transportation system and covers the City of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs. On an average weekday, approximately 765,566 rides are taken on the CTA.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs service from the Palmer House to O’Hare and Midway airports. The approximate time from downtown is 45 minutes to O’Hare and 30 minutes from Midway. For route, fare, and schedule information call (888) 968-7282 or transitchicago.com. If you plan on using the CTA to get around, Visitor Passes are your best value available for one day – $5, three days – $15, and seven days – $20. These allow unlimited rides on buses and trains. Purchase the Ventra Card at airports, visitor information centers, Union Station, and retail locations or inquire at the hotel for details about this service. You may also use the Ventra App for Chicago Transit Authority to manage your fares, buy tickets and get arrivals. Information on accessible transit is located at transitchicgo.com/accessibility/.



Taxis from O’Hare typically cost approximately $70 to $80, and from Midway they cost approximately $68 to $70. Costs can be less if rideshare is an option. If a gas surcharge is in effect, a sign will be displayed inside the taxicab and a surcharge may apply. An additional charge of $4 is added to the total fare on each trip to or from the airports under the State of Illinois Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority Airport Departure. For wheelchair accessible vehicles, please call (855)-WAV-1010.


Curb | Low-Cost, On-Demand Rides Mobile App

Curb is the #1 taxi app in the US that connects you fast, convenient, and safe rides across the US. Download Curb for iPhone or Android or boon on the web to easily request and pay for rides with the tap of a button. Curb is convenient and cones to more than 100,000 drivers in nearly every major metro area in the US. Request your ride in seconds and watch your taxi driver arrive in minutes. Curb works with professional taxi drivers. Every time you ride with Curb, you will ride with a fully licensed, insured driver.


Safety in the City

Please exercise caution in Chicago, just as in any other big city. A few simple precautions include the following: remove your badge outside the conference site; keep all valuables out of sight: don’t display expensive jewelry, cameras, bags, and other items that might draw attention; avoid pickpockets (wallets should be kept in front pockets and purses should be worn across the shoulder); stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets; and always lock your car.



View our Health and Emergency Services page for locations and contact information of health and emergency service providers.

Mobile App Alerts – Urgent messages for conference participants will be sent directly to attendees via the conference mobile app. Download the app prior to arriving to the conference so that you have it loaded and ready to go on your mobile device. Information will be sent out prior to the conference when the app is ready for download. You must make sure that your email address is spelled correctly when you register to attend the conference in order to access the app and its contents.

City of Chicago Alerts – NotifyChicago is a city service that provides residents with text messages, and/or e-mail alerts on various emergency and non-emergency situations taking place throughout Chicago. Sign up today to receive up to date information on everything from weather-related emergencies to traffic alerts.


Accessibility at the Palmer House

Main elevator bank accesses Street Level, Lobby, Mezzanine, and all guest room floors. To access Spa, 5th-floor meeting rooms, Exhibition Halls, and salons:

  • From street level, please use the State Street Elevators on the street level to location
  • From guest floors, please use the main elevator bank to 6th floor then cross over on the 6th floor to State Street elevators.

Locations requiring wheelchair/ADA lift elevators:

  • Pool and Fitness Center on the 8th floor, there is a wheelchair lift inside to access both areas.
  • For the Empire Ballroom, there is a wheelchair lift on the west side of Empire Ballroom near the Lockwood restrooms.
  • For the Honoré Ballroom, there is a wheelchair lift on the north side of Honoré staircase. Lift may be accessed through automatic sliding door.
  • To access Potters’ upper bar may be accessed using automatic doors to the right of the Potters main entrance. The ramp leads to upper bar area.

Additional information regarding accessibility at the conference can be found at www.MPSAnet.org/accessibility.


Chicago City Pass

The CityPass offers tickets to five of Chicago’s best attractions and saves you 48 percent off prices if purchased individually. This is not a group tour and is designed to allow independent touring. The CityPass includes admission to the Adler Planetarium or the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, and Museum of Science and Industry or 360 Chicago Express Entry. Tickets are valid for nine days from first use and are $139 for adults and $109 for children. CityPass may be purchased at any of these attractions. For questions, visit their web site at www.citypass.com or call (208) 784-4300, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily.


Choose Chicago Concierge

Make the most of your time in Chicago with Chicago Concierge! This complimentary online service will guide you to the award-winning restaurants, attractions and retailers in town to help make your time in the city as memorable as possible. Type in keywords or select specific categories through the search engine to find an interactive map and list of suggestions.


Nearby Parks

Chicago Metro Map | Things to Do in Chicago

Millennium Park
241-299 E Randolph Drive, Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 742-1168
Millennium Park is located on the east side of downtown, bordered on the west by Michigan Avenue, on the east by Columbus Drive, on the north by Randolph Street, and on the south by Monroe Street. Primary Chicago public transportation to the park is either the Michigan Avenue CTA bus #151, or the Red Line subway train, Randolph stop. Admission to Millennium Park is free, and is open daily from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Lake Shore Park
808 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 742-7891
Lake Shore Park offers extensive outdoor recreational opportunities – including tennis courts, a quarter mile soft surface running track, softball diamonds, and a playground. Inside is a full-size gymnasium, a fitness center, and meeting rooms. Admission to Lake Shore Park is free, and is open daily from 6 a.m.. – 11:00 p.m.

Maggie Daley Park
337 E Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 552-3000
The former Daley Bicentennial Plaza site has been transformed into Maggie Daley Park, a magnificent lakefront recreation center. Visit maggiedaleypark.com to learn more about the park and all its features and center operating hours. Park Hours: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Park 574
2540 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612
This colorful play lot boasts fun for all ages. Big kids will love the zipline, 22-foot slide and pummel horses, while little ones will appreciate the rubbery surface, raised play structures and various things to climb on. Adults aren’t left out, either: There’s a walking path complete with fitness circuit equipment. When warm weather hits, there is also a natural stone water-spray area.


Looking for additional resources for the conference and/or your visit to Chicago?

View Author GuidelinesChair GuidelinesDiscussant GuidelinesLightning Talk Guidelines and FAQs, Poster Guidelines and FAQs, Instructions for Virtual Attendees, and Tips for Using Zoom.

View Onsite DetailsA/V Details and Tech Support information, Local Dining options, Family Resources, and Health and Emergency Services locations and contact information. A Conference Guide can be found here.