Best website for finding the cheapest places to park downtown

chicago.bestparking.com

Most of the theater critics I know don't have cars. I think that's crazy. Trying to get to some of the performance spaces in and around Chicago by public transportation can be a dispiriting test of endurance when you have to do it several nights a week. And biking isn't much of an option, either. Who wants to sit through a show in wet clothes, trying to take notes on a sweat-soaked pad? And who wants to sit next to somebody in that condition? So I'm a critic with a car—which, of course, has its own challenges. I've learned a lot about where and how to park for free near many theaters. I'm not going to share that information with you. What I will share is the site my wife and I use when we're downtown and our park-for-free stratagems won't work. Chicago.bestparking.com covers an area ranging from the near north side to the South Loop and from the lake to the West Loop. It allows for searches by neighborhood, address, cross street, and specific attractions (22 of them, ranging from the Willis Skydeck to the Carl Hammer Gallery). Type in your destination and enter your expected arrival and departure times, and a map fills up with little squares representing lots—and the squares all have prices in them. Somewhat ridiculously, you can even look at pictures of the various lots. —Tony Adler