Americans Can’t Park Here

 Diplomatic parking restrictions on Lake Street

It’s just oh-so-tempting.  There’s a block right off busy North Michigan Avenue that is chock full of wide-open primo parking spaces.  But it’s all just a tease.  Unless you’re from another country, don’t even think about parking there.

We’re talking about the 100 block of East Lake Street where it dead-ends into the pedway entrance to the Aon Center (200 East Randolph Street).  To someone driving by, late for a delivery, who just needs to park for five minutes, it’s a beautiful side street full of empty parking spaces.  But in reality, these are the most dangerous parking spaces in the city.

That’s because they’re the private domain of the consulates in the Illinois Center.  Unless you’re driving a car with Guatemalan, Czech, Spanish, Peruvian, French, or Argentine diplomatic tags, forget about it.  The spaces are so special, they even have their own mailing address: 132 East Lake Street.  Since most Chicagoans are hip to the Blues Brothers’ “1060 West Addison”  trick, this could be a good substitute.

But what about across the street?  There’s plenty of parking there, right?  Well, only if you eat Timbits and think federal police officers should wear red.  That side of the street is for Canadians only since the Canadian consulate is in Prudential Plaza (look for the maple leaf flag in the courtyard).

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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