Monday, September 28, 2015

Chicago: a Quick guide for you

image via wikipedia
Who would have thought : this beautiful sophisticated city is actually a “second city”, rebuilt after the devastating Chicago Fire in 1871! I have to say: this is by far the city with the most picturesque skyline.
Read more: Best places to take a perfect photo of Chicago's Skyline

Districts of Chicago

Downtown (The Loop, Near North, Near South)
North Side (Lakeview, Boystown, Lincoln Park, Old Town)
South Side (Hyde Park, Bronzeville, Bridgeport-Chinatown, Chatham-South Shore)
West Side (Wicker Park, Logan Square, Greektown, Pilsen)
Far North Side (Uptown, Lincoln Square, Rogers Park)

Transportation into Chicago

O'Hare International Airport to downtown:
Go to the basement floor and take the CTA Blue Line to the Loop. Run every 15 minutes, 24/7.
journey: 40 minutes.
Fare: $5

Midway Airport to downtown:
After passing the enclosed tunnel, take the CTA Orange Line train to the Loop
journey: 25 minutes.

By bus
to and from Iowa, Omaha, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Texas, Tennessee or even Canada and Mexico!

  • Burlington Trailways
  • Greyhound
  • Indian Trails 
  • Megabus 

By train
Chicago is the most convenient city in the entire United States to visit by train (Amtrak).

Get around with public transit

A “RTA trip planner” comes in handy if you are an organised person and like to plan everything ahead. If not, you can always use a “CTA bus tracker” for real-time bus tracking.

Use a Ventra card ($5) on The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains and buses, remember to register online to get credit back on your card. If you are planning to spend a few days in Chicago, buy a pass for unlimited rides.

The public train system is call the “L” (L of “El”-levated). The fare for one journey on L cost $2.25 (regardless on how far you travel), transferring to another L line cost nothing while boarding another L in another station cost $0.25 transit fare.

The fare for a CTA bus trip is $2 with the card. The Owl buses run 24 hours a day.

Chicago Water Taxi is a cheap, local, scenic, efficient and a fun way to travel! Only $2-7 dollar for a ticket, there are 2 companies offering this taxi service: Chicago Water Taxi and Shoreline Sightseeing.

Without Public transport

Chicago is an amazing city to explore on foot. Riverwalk, lake Michigan, the magnificent mile and all those beautiful city parks are some great place for a leisure stroll. When it is raining, explore the Chicago Pedway System that connects more than 40 building downtown!
If you are tired of walking, rent a bike for $9.50 per day and enjoy the city on wheels. It is possible to ride a CTA bus with a bike (bike rack is available).



  • Riverfront Walk
  • Millennium Park
  • Cloud Gate/”The Bean”
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Grant Park
  • Chicago Cultural Center 
  • The Magnificent Mile 
  • Michigan Avenue Bridge
  • Tribune Tower
  • Water Tower 
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck 
  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Lincoln Park Conservatory.
  • Adler Planetarium
  • The Field Museum
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Navy Pier
  • Michigan Lake
  • Wrigley Field
  • Richard H. Driehaus Museum

Read more: Itinerary share-- 3 days in Chicago

Must Eat

Sausages, popcorns, doughnuts,  Chicago's deep dish pizza , Chicago hot dog, Italian Beef

Read more: The best eats-- foodie on a budget in Chicago


1. A Chicago CityPASS is a good deal if you plan to visit attractions like skydeck and Art institute of Chicago. It can be purchase online and offer half-priced admission fees, discounts for shopping and restaurant and not to forget the privilege of “fast track” (You don’t have to queue up like everybody else).
2. Bank of America's Museums On Us. This God-sent program allows you to enjoy free admission at multiple Chicago museums (2016: Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Veteran Art Museum).
** with a Bank of America's credit/ debit card.
3. Do your homework by checking on ticket comparison sites like Trevii to find the best deals in town.
4. Check Time Out Chicago for free things to do in the city.

Read more: 50 Totally FREE things to do in Chicago

Tourist information

  • Chicago Cultural Center
    77 E Randolph St, ☎ +1 312 744-8000.  
  • Macy's111 State St, ☎ +1 877 244-2246

Out to the Suburbs 

Metra and South Shore commuter trains provide service within Illinois and up to neighboring states. If you travel frequently, buy a unlimited ride pass (sharing is possible).
Pace” runs buses in the suburbs

Thank You for Reading!
 This post is based solely on my personal experience. 
 Feel free to share more tips with me by commenting below!

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