Getting Around Chicago

  • O'Hare International Airport
    by cjg1
  • O'Hare International Airport
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  • O'Hare International Airport
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Most Viewed Transportation in Chicago

  • mam3206's Profile Photo

    Chicago grid system

    by mam3206 Written Jul 22, 2007

    It can be very helpful to understand Chicago's grid and street numbering system. Rather than try to explain it here, I'll encourage you to google "Chicago grid system." There are several helpful resources out there. Knowing that, for example, increments of 800 equal one mile, can help you calculate the distance between 2 locations.

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    Walking is the best way to get around

    by chagi1 Written May 19, 2007

    Parking throughout the city is quite pricey, so if you can manage to use public transportation to get into the city then once there you can easily walk around and take local transit to get to further destinations.
    We actually parked in one area (Navy Pier) and we took their free shuttle to Michigan avenue from there we walked around Michigan ave. , The financial district, millennium park, EVERYWHERE.
    Sure, its a long walk, but a great exercise and great way to get around!

    The traffic in the city is really busy and often hectic, the easiest way to get around especially along Michigan is walking!

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    Chicago's Pedway Terrific During Bad Weather

    by deecat Updated Feb 10, 2007

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    Often called "Chicago's secret weapon against the elements", the Pedway was introduced to me by fellow VT member, Dabs [Kristi}.

    The Pedway is really a combination of underground tunnels, overhead skyway bridges, and concourses. It shelters pedestrians from some of Chicago's bad weather when in and around the Chicago Loop.

    I looked up information about the Pedway after being introduced to it and discovered that development of it began in 1951 [and I'm just now learning how to use it!!!] Because it has grown haphazardly, it is not uniform; it is difficult to locate, and sometimes hard to navigate

    We were able to walk to James R. Thompson Center, to Marshall Field's [Macy's], and the Cultural Center. But the State-Dearborn Pedway is now closed because of the development of Block 37. This is really a great inconvenience for the downtown workers and dwellers who get off the Blue Line and pedway to Macy's or those who get off the Electric or the Red Line and cut underground to go to LaSalle Street.

    I did read in the Sun-Times that the pedway at Michigan and Randolph will very soon have a Starbucks, a bakery, a newsstand and other retailers [this area will be called The Shops at Millennium Station]. Presumedly, there will be more and better lighting, air conditioning, and cleaner attendant-kept restrooms. I've forgotten when it will be completed.

    Here is a partial list of points of entry and exit for the Pedway:
    25 East Washington Street
    139 North Wabash Avenue
    Hyatt Regency Hotel
    77 West Wacker Drive
    City Hall/County Building
    James R. Thompson Center
    Richard J. Daley Center
    Chicago Cultural Center
    Prudential Center
    Illinois Center
    Millennium Park
    Carson Pirie Scott

    Having been introduced to this underground world [at least a portion of it], I will now remember what to do when it's bitterly cold, raining, or ridiculously hot...The Pedway is the way to go!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Navigating Chicago

    by Dabs Updated Jan 17, 2007

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    Navigating Chicago is a little easier if you know the following things:

    1) Chicago was built on a grid system, almost all of the streets in Chicago run straight east/west or straight north/south. The notable exceptions are Lincoln, Clybourn and Clark (only past North Avenue)

    2) 8 blocks=mile

    3) The "zero line" is the intersection of State (north/south street) and Madison (east/west street) in the heart of the Loop.

    Addresses to the east of State increase with E. addresses, to the west they increase with W. addresses.

    Addresses to the north of Madison increase with N. addresses, addresses to the south of Madison increase with S. addresses.

    4) Wacker Drive consists of upper and lower Wacker. Lower is just for driving and escaping the congested downtown traffic. The entrances to Lower Wacker are not very well marked.

    5) Wacker Drive is the only street I can think of in Chicago that has addresses that are E., W., N. and S. as it curves along with the Chicago River. Be careful if you are trying to find an address on Wacker.

    6) If you see a brown street sign instead of a green one, these are honorary street names, honoring notable Chicagoans, which you won't find on a map.

    7) If you are driving, watch out for one way streets. There are lots of them, especially in the Loop.

    8) Street names aren't as easy as NYC which is almost all numbered (Manhattan anyways) but there are some east-west streets that are lumped together:

    The President streets in the loop in chronological order heading south-Washington, (Adams the elder and Jefferson are skipped) Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Polk. I don't know why John Tyler was skipped and I read that Washington and Monroe St. were named after counties and not Presidents...

    The Great Lake Streets in River North going south-Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario (the 5th Great Lake, Michigan, runs north-south)

    The tree streets-between Division (1200 North) and Chicago (800 North) along the Mag Mile there is Elm, Cedar, Maple, Oak, Locust, and Chestnut

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    Driving from Indy to Chicago

    by staindesign Written Oct 6, 2006

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    I was thinking that maybe people are traveling from city to city. If so, if you are coming or going to chicago from Indianapolis the best route is I-65 (N or S, depending on your destination) and then taking I-90/I-94. If you are not from Chicago and you are planning to drive there, always stay on the left, you can always get to your exit. For example say you need 51C but you are at 53a, don't worry stay on the left in the express lane, you will be thankful later that you did so!

    Also traveling either to chicago or to Indianapolis, to pass all of the tolls it will cost you $3.15. There is a 15¢ toll, a 50¢, and a $2.50 toll.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • bee_tc2006's Profile Photo

    Transportaion around Chicago

    by bee_tc2006 Written Sep 12, 2006

    There is a shuttle that pickes up guests from the hotel anddrops them off at different areas to shop from 10amto 5pm. For transportation anywhere else,it would be cheaper to take the trolley or walk,rather than takeing a taxi. As for the subway train,it is a fun way to get from the airport to the hotel and back,but it didn't go all the way to our hotelso we had to walk the rest of the way,lugging all our luggage with us,up and down the stairs when we had to change form one train to another.For that reason,to avoid dragging luggage everywhere,it is easier to get an airport shuttle from the airport and back.

    Sorry,no pictures available.

    Related to:
    • Disabilities
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • bruingirl's Profile Photo

    Fly into O'Hare. There is...

    by bruingirl Updated Feb 11, 2006

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    Fly into O'Hare. There is another airport, Midway, but it is in a shady neighborhood.
    There is the 'EL' which is the local subway system. Otherwise, renting a car is good too. Driving in Chicago is fairly easy and the traffic isn't too bad.

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    Broadway In Chicago Theater Tours

    by PetraG Written Jan 19, 2006

    Chicagoans and visitors have the opportunity to get an unforgettable and in depth look at two of the most beautiful and historic venues of Chicago's famed theatre District. Broadway in Chicago offers a weekly, guided tour of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. and the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. The tour showcases the glittering decor inspired by the lushness of the Orient and the refinement of Versailles, as well as the cutting edge technology that makes each theatre the home to today's most complex theatrical productions.

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    Transit Tips for Chicago

    by deecat Updated Jan 5, 2006

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    The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the bus and rail system which services the city and surrounding suburbs.
    The five operating city train lines (referred to as the "L" or "el" by most Chicagoans) are named by COLOR.
    The BLUE& RED lines& PURPLE Lines
    These lines shuttle from Chicago to Evanston
    and run 24 hours daily.
    The BLUE line departs from O'Hare Airport about every six minutes daily from Terminal 3.
    The ORANGE line services Midway Airport; departing every 8 minutes.

    Bus Service
    Numbered from 1-204, most CTA buses run every 5-20 minutes daily from early morning through late into the night. Some run 24 hours; every 30 minutes at night. An OWL symbol on the bus sign indicates if a bus line runs all night long.

    Chicago is heavily populated with cabs, and flagging one down is simple. But, during the holiday season, getting a cab requires patience.
    Both distance and time determine the fare. Tips are at the discretion of the customer.
    A cab ride between O'HARE AIRPORT and CHICAGO costs about $25-$30.
    From MIDWAY AIRPORT to DOWNTOWN cost between $20-$25.

    Related to:
    • Women's Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Seniors

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    by birchy99 Written May 29, 2005

    Be aware that United Airlines has stopped all complimentary food service on their domestic flights. Even though our tickets said "lunch" no lunch was offered. Granted, airline food is no great thing, but it would be nice to know ahead of time. That guy next to me with the "Onion Hero sandwich" knew ahead of time!
    I know the domestic airlines are in trouble but offering a "snack package" for $5 which consisted on nothing but fruit juce and high carb and fat chips and such things is no way to make up for it.
    Be aware; take some food along on long flights and make it something that won't offend your seat mates. Enough said.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Start with a Sightseeing Tour

    by deecat Updated Dec 17, 2004

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    "One reason for knowing the history of Chicago is that its history is the history of the Midwest, and the history of the Midwest is, to a larger extent ...the history of the nation."
    Floyd Dell, author, 1912

    If you have never visited Chicago, and this is your first time here, it is a good idea to become familiar with the city by taking a sightseeing tour. See the highlights of Chicago's downtown and lakefront aboard an "Original Chicago Trolley" These hourly lectured tours depart daily. (Call 427-3105)

    Shoreline Sightseeing and Charters is one of the best and most diversified. They operate from three Grant Park locations daily through the end of September. Daytime rides depart every half hour from the SHEDD AQUARIUM/FIELD MUSEUM from 11:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
    Every half hour from the ADLER PLANETARIUM from 11:15 to 5:15 p.m.
    Evening rides depart from BUCKINGHAM FOUNTAIN every half hour from 7:15 p.m. to ll:15 p.m. with extended hours for major holidays and festivals.
    All tours have live commentary on Chicago's history and architecture. Printed translations available in 10 languages!
    Shoreline offers evening and weekend rides from their NAVY PIER location just west of the Skyline Stage nightly Mon-Fri every hour from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sat. & Sun. from 1 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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    Meigs Field - RIP

    by frankcanfly Written Jun 7, 2004

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    The FAA fought hard to keep this small, lakefront airport open for years. In the end, the jerk major Dally, came in like a coward overnight and bulldozed it.

    It's a loss for aviators. Now it just sits there abandoned.

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  • shrimp56's Profile Photo

    Two airports to choose from!

    by shrimp56 Updated Jun 1, 2003

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    Chicago is served by two airports: Midway and O'Hare. Midway has been redone and now is quite a nice place to fly into, particularly since the low-fare airlines tend to use Midaway also!
    All international flights [other than some to the Americas] leave and arrive from Terminal 5 at O'Hare. The picture is of Terminal 3 in the American Airlines wing. United occupies Terminal 1 and several airlines share Terminal 2. I think they lost Terminal 4 :)))))

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    O'hare vs Midway

    by kimberbakos Written Apr 12, 2003

    If you are going to the suburbs, O'Hare will put you right outside of Elmhurst and other western burbs. Midway is right near downtown attractions like Chinatown and the zoo.
    If you leave your car in the Ohare parking lot, be sure to remember where you parked it. We were lost in long term parking for two hours hunting down our car.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Business Travel

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    Location Help

    by Birdbrain Updated Mar 9, 2003

    Chicago's street number system is very convenient. The intersection of Madison and State (in the heart of downtown) mark the 0-0 coordinates of the system. Every 800 numbers measures one mile from that point (note: blocks are NOT always 100 numbers long). So if a place is 1200 N LaSalle, then it's 1.5 miles north of Madison. It may be east or west of State (in this case west).

    There is an order to the naming of the E-W streets in downtown. Starting with Randolph St. (named after the Pre-Revolutionary leader), the streets are named after US Presidents in chronological order as you go south (with some omissions).

    They go as follows:
    (Peyton) Randolph
    (George) Washington
    (James) Madison
    (James) Monroe
    (John Q.) Adams
    (Andrew) Jackson
    (Martin) Van Buren
    (William) Harrison
    (James) Polk
    (Zachary) Taylor
    (Theodore) Roosevelt

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Chicago Transportation

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Visitors to Chicago that are not driving in rarely need to rent a car, parking is expensive and driving is a hassle.  Much of Chicago's tourist area is walkable and for longer journeys there...

Map of Chicago