Chicago is the third most populous city in the US. With a high-income economy and upscale markets, the quality of life in Chicago is high. Due to its advanced infrastructure, Chicago was ranked first place on Time Out City Life Index in 2018. Chicago is a tourist-friendly city. It has got everything that a tourist can ask for! There are a lot of things that should be taken care of when you visit a new place. To make your journey happy, we’ve shortlisted 10 Chicago travel tips.
Top 10 Chicago Travel Tips
When you are traveling to a new place, it is necessary to know a few traveling tips which are related to that place. Here is a list of all the necessary Chicago travel tips that will come in handy when you visit this magnificent city:
1. Avail affordable transport facilities from the airport
Chicago has two international airport terminals, namely O’Hare and Midway International Airport. Both the airport serves international and domestic carriers. Once you reach Chicago, you can either take regular CTA trains or the taxis. Also, for all the business travelers who want to avoid the city hustle on the busiest days and reach downtown as soon as possible, you can opt for a new express train which was recently launched by the governor. This train will take you from O’Hare International Airport to downtown, although the cost is a bit higher as compared to the other regular trains.
2. Get access to a CTA pass to roam around the city
If you are planning to stay there for at least three days in Chicago, make it a point to avail the CTA pass. It is the best option if you are new to this city. The CTA passes provide a variety of payment options that suit everyone’s needs. The fares for CTA trains and buses are paid using rechargeable cards. The fares are deducted as and when you use their transport services. The CTA cards also come with plans that offer unlimited access. For example, if you buy a three-day pass, then you get unlimited access for the next 24 hours. You can purchase these cards from Ventra vending kiosks at either airport or any El station.
3. Know the grid system of Chicago
In Chicago, there is a unique kind of system called the grid system. Basically, the whole area of Chicago is subdivided in the form of grids. The center of the city lies in the heart of the downtown business district, where the State and Madison Streets intersect. The business district in downtown Chicago is known as the Loop. Take note that a mile constitutes eight blocks, from where the street numbers indicate north-south and east-west axes. Also know that the higher the address number, the farther away from the intersection you are.
4. Download apps that help in availing transport
In this advanced generation, mobile phones can be of great help to you if you know how to use them. While you are in Chicago, you can download some of the apps that will help with the transport facility. You can download Google maps or Apple maps to help you with direction. Also, for El trains and bus routes you can download the Transit App.
5. Download ParkChicago app if you’re planning to drive your own vehicle
In the generation of smartphones, this is a very helpful app if you are planning to drive in the city on your own. This app informs you about the parking status and car parking payment methods. All you have to do is use your credit card to make an account with the help of a license plate number. Also, take note that the rates may vary according to the neighborhood.
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6. Try to reach the destination in advance
Since Chicago is a new place and figuring out the direction system of this city is no cakewalk, you need to give yourself plenty of time to reach a particular destination. Since the direction and street name of Chicago are at first confusing to most of the newbies in town, it is advisable that you always plan your trip ahead of time.
7. Prefer paying with your cards but keep some cash with you too
This is one of the most important Chicago travel tips that you should keep in mind. Whenever you are traveling, opt for payment through a card. But there some places in Chicago where cards are not accessible and you can only pay through cash. For example, when you are visiting summer street festivals or local vendors to try local street food delicacies, you’ll have to pay up using cash.
8. Check the climate online before going out
The climate of USA is considered to be flickering from cold to hot within hours. In summers, you may be roaming around the city in a temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and on the same day in the evening, you may find yourself shivering in cold and wishing for a hoodie. So it is also advisable that whenever you travel in Chicago, you check the weather and dress accordingly with some extra layering.
9. Go beyond Downtown Chicago
Downtown Chicago is undoubtedly the hub for some major sectors like business and entertainment. But it is advisable that you explore other parts of the city as well! The city neighborhoods are a great place to acquaint yourself with the culture of this place as the ambiance here is way more different than the usual downtown hustle.
10. Pick up a few slang words
While traveling in Chicago, there are a few things that will make your travel much better. For example, there are a few terms which are only used by the people of Chicago and it is better to know them before you start exploring the city. The first term is ‘the Loop’ which is the district hub for businesses in downtown Chicago, with the north, west and Roosevelt Road in the south bordered by the river. The other term that you should know is ‘L’ which is the short form of ‘elevated’ and is used for Trains.
According to a survey in 2017, Chicago comes in at second place as the most visited city in the US with 55 million visitors including both domestic and international. In general, this city is a lot more clean, green and friendly as compared to the other cities. Thus, it is a nice idea to come and visit this lively city. By following these Chicago travel tips, you can make your traveling experience better and much more convenient. So, take note of these tips when you book a trip to USA.
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