Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the World but it’s still a city and if you are new to the city or a first-timer it can be a little overwhelming. So, I put together some tips to help you get around Chicago so you can explore the city a little easier.
Buses are a great way to get around and to also see the city. Each ride is $2.00 and it is cash only if you don’t have a bus card. Transfers to any bus or train are .25 cents with your card for 2 hours and under. You can purchase a Ventra card for the bus at Walgreens, trains stations, or at L stations and you can use your Ventra card for the bus or the train. The buses go north and south and east (the Lake) to the west. The bus routes and times are on Google maps or you can download the Buster app for your phone. Here are a few of the most popular buses and where they go.
10 – Get on the 10 bus on Michigan Ave and head south get to the Museum of Science and Industry.
20 – Take the Madison bus west to the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls. You can also get off the bus at Madison and Halsted and walk a few blocks over to Randolph to explore the West Loop neighborhood.
36/22 – These buses run north and south. If you are downtown you can take either one of these buses to get to Wrigley Field.
72 – This bus runs east to west on North Ave. You can get on this bus at Clark and North Ave, just north of the Gold Coast neighborhood. Take this bus west, and get off a North Ave and Damen to explore the Wickerpark and Bucktown neighborhoods.
73 – The Armitage bus will take you to Armitage and Halsted. Get off here to explore this cute little neighborhood of Lincoln Park. Up and down Armitage and Halsted you will find cute little boutiques and great restaurants. You can get on this bus in front of the Chicago History Museum at Clark and North Ave.
146 – This bus is a great bus to catch on Michigan Ave, head south and it will take you over to the Museum Campus.
151 – The 151 runs from Union Station to North of Lakeview. This bus is great to take you to the train station, up and down Michigan Ave, and an easy way to get to the FREE Lincoln Park Zoo.
The L is a great way to get to both airports and to get to many of Chicago’s best neighborhoods. Each ride is $2.25 and you have to use a Ventra card to use the train.Transfers to any bus or train are .25 cents with your card for 2 hours and under. It is $5.00 to take the train from the airport into the city. You can purchase a Ventra card at Walgreens, trains stations, or at L stations and you can use your Ventra card for the train or the bus. All L trains are color coordinated. The trains go north and south and east(the Lake) to the west. The train routes and times are on Google maps or you can download the Buster app for your phone.
Brown Line – This train line goes around the loop and up to North neighborhoods. Get off the brown line at the Armitage stop for the Armitage shopping neighborhood in Lincoln Park, Diversey or Belmont for Lakeview, and the Addison stop for Wrigley Field. Coming back south, get off at State/Lake to be close to both State Street, the Chicago River, Theater District, and walking distance to Michigan Ave.
Red Line – This line runs north and south. Take the red line south to the White Sox (35th stop) and to Chinatown (Cermak stop). Then take the red line north for Michigan Ave (Grand or Chicago stops), the North/Clybourn stop for North Ave shopping, the Belmont stop for Lakeview, and the Addison stop for Wrigley Field. This train line also runs 24 hours.
Orange Line – Take this line south to the end to get to Midway Airport.
Blue Line – This line will take you West. From downtown get on the train at Clark/Lake stop and take the blue line west (O’hare) to either Division or Damen stops to explore WickerPark or Bucktown. The Logan Square stop for the Logan Square neighborhood and then all the way to the end for O’hare airport. This train line also runs 24 hours.
Green Line – Take the green line at the State/Lake stop or the Clark/Lake stop downtown and go west to the Morgan stop to explore the West Loop neighborhood.
There are two airports in Chicago, Midway Aiport, and O’hare Airport. Take the orange line to and from Midway airport. This train will take you about 30 minutes to get to your destination from either direction. You can take the orange line for $5.00 from Midway into the city, get off at the State/Lake stop to be close to both State Street, the Chicago River, Theater District, and walking distance to Michigan Ave. Depending on your luggage and where your hotel is located you made need to get a taxi or Uber/Lyft from this stop to your hotel. From O’hare take the Blue line for $5.00 into the city. This train will take you about 45 minutes to get to your destination from either direction. Get off at the Clark/Lake stop to be walking distance to State Street, the Chicago River, Theater District and again depending on where you are staying you may need to get a taxi or Uber/Lyft to your hotel.
You can use Uber or Lyft all over the city. If you are not in a rush try using Uber/Lyft share as much as you can if you have less than 4 people to save you a lot of money. You can get both Uber or Lyft from both airports. Once you request your ride at the airport follow what the app says to do on where to meet your driver. During rush hour it could be faster to take the train into or out of the city.
There are amazing hotels to stay at and visit all over Chicago. If you are looking for a great deal and you are ok with last minute reservations, trying using the app, Hotels Tonight. You can get amazing deals at some of the nicest hotels in the city. You can book with this app up to seven days ahead but the closer you are to your arrival date, the better the deal. If you are looking for a staycation in the city or you live a few hours from the city, this is a great way to book your hotel.
Chicago is known for its food. If you are wanting to try a few places or want to make sure you get a few reservations at some fun and trendy places in the city, you should use Open Table to make all your reservations. You will also get points to use towards future gift cards for dining.