Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States. 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 in the Time Out City Life Index in 2018. Chicago is a tourist city. It has everything a tourist could ask for! There are a lot of things to take care of when visiting a new place. To make your trip a happy one, we have shortlisted 10 Chicago travel advice.
Top 10 Chicago travel tips
When you are traveling to a new place, it is essential to know some travel tips related to that place. Here is a list of all the necessary Chicago travel tips that will come in handy when visiting this wonderful city:
1. Avail the airport transfer facilities at reasonable rates
Chicago has two international airport terminals, O’Hare and Midway International Airport. Both the airport serves international and domestic carriers. Once in Chicago, you can either take the regular CTA trains or taxis. Also, for all the business travelers who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city on the busiest days and get to the city center as soon as possible, you can opt for the new express train recently launched by the governor. This train will take you from O’Hare International Airport to downtown, although the cost is slightly higher compared to other regular trains.
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2. Get a CTA pass to get around town
If you plan to be there for at least three days in Chicago, be sure to take advantage of the CTA pass. It is the best choice if you are new in this city. CTAs offer a variety of payment options to suit everyone’s needs. CTA train and bus fares are paid with reloadable cards. Prices are discounted when using their transportation services. CTA cards also come with plans that provide unlimited access. For example, if you purchase a three-day pass, you will get unlimited access for the next 24 hours. You can purchase these cards at Ventra kiosks at the airport or any El station.
3. Learn about the Chicago Grid system
Chicago has a unique type of system called a grid system. Basically, the entire Chicago area is divided into grids. Downtown is located in the heart of the downtown business district, where State Street and Madison Avenue intersect. The business district in downtown Chicago is known as the Loop. Keep in mind that a mile is eight blocks, with the street numbers denoting the north-south, east-west axes. Also know that the higher the heading number, the farther from the intersection.
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4. Download apps that help take advantage of transportation
In this advanced generation, mobile phones can be very useful to you if you know how to use them. While you’re in Chicago, you can download some apps that will help you with transportation. You can download Google Maps or Apple Maps to help you navigate. Also, for trains and bus lines, you can download the Transit app.
5. Download the ParkChicago app if you plan to drive your own vehicle
In the generation of smartphones, this is a very useful application if you plan to drive in the city alone. This application informs you of the parking status and payment methods of the car park. All you have to do is use your credit card to create an account with the help of the license plate number. Also note that prices 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 this city’s system of directions is no cakewalk, you need to give yourself plenty of time to get to a particular destination. Since the direction and name of Chicago’s street initially confuse most newbies to the city, it is recommended that you always plan your trip ahead of time.
7. Prefer to pay with your cards but also keep some cash with you
This is one of the most important Chicago travel tips that you should keep in mind. When you’re traveling, choose to pay with a card. But there are some places in Chicago where cards are not accessible and you can only pay with cash. For example, when you visit summer street festivals or local vendors to try local street food dishes, you will have to pay cash.
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8. Check the climate online before heading out
The climate of the United States of America is considered to swing from cold to hot in a matter of hours. In the summer, you might be walking around town in 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and on the same day in the evening, you might find yourself shivering from the cold and wanting to put on a hoodie. So it is also recommended when you travel to Chicago, that you check the weather and dress accordingly with extra layers.
9. Bypass Downtown Chicago
Downtown Chicago is undoubtedly a hub for some major sectors such as business and entertainment. But you are advised to explore other parts of the city as well! The city’s neighborhoods are a great place to learn about the culture of this place as the atmosphere here is different from the usual downtown bustle.
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10. Pick out some slang
While traveling in Chicago, there are a few things that will make your travel that much better. For example, there are some terms that only Chicagoans use and you’d better know them before you start exploring the city. The first term is “The Loop” and is the area’s center for business in downtown Chicago, bordered by the river on the north and west and Roosevelt Avenue on the south. Another term you should know is “L” which is the shortened form of “elevated” and is used for trains.
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According to a survey in 2017, Chicago is the second most visited city in the United States with 55 million visitors including both domestic and international. In general, this city is more clean, green and friendly compared to other cities. Hence, it is a good idea to come and visit this vibrant city. By following these Chicago travel tips, you can make your travel experience better and more convenient. So, take note of these tips when booking a trip to the USA.
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