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If you're planning to visit SEARS Tower or any other skycrapers,make sure it's not foggy,otherwise you won't see anything outside.So it'll just be waste of money and time.You might be advised before you buy your ticket or probably NOT.
Updated Mar 2, 2007
This is not a major warning i.e. nothing that endangers you, but worth mentioning.
It might be my imagination, but birds in this area seem to have a Kama Kazi temperament. They swoop low with disregard to dangers e.g. right in front of your face. Even once in a car, the bird zoomed past our windshield. Just don't get a fright if it happens to you!
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Updated Aug 21, 2006
As a lifelong resident of this city, I can provide slightly more helpful tips than the now cliche "avoid the southside" spiel.
Comisky Park (I know, it's U.S. Cellular field, but screw their corporate image). I wouldn't recommend going to a night game, but the area is relatively safe during the day as long as you stay in the immediate vicinity of the park. If you choose to take the el, the red line is what you'll be getting on. You want to get off at the Sox/35th st. stopt. By no means SHOULD YOU MISS THIS stop. The red line southbound goes through some very dangerous areas. Be careful.
115 Bourbon st. is my favorite bar/club on the south side. It's located on 115th and Homan in Merrionette Park, technically a suburb. If you choose to check it out, the safest way to get there from the loop is to take the Dan Ryan southbound and get off on 159th st. (Markham), the drive north. If you get off before 159th you're going to be in some shady ares, i.e. Harvey, Dixmoor, which brings me to....
In addition to the immediate south side of Chicago, it's advisable for tourists to stay out of some of the south and far south suburbs. Avoid Harvey, Dixmoor, Posen, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Robbins, and Phoenix. Don't let the fact that these are suburbs lead you into thinking they're safe by default. These areas have crime rates that rival some of the worst parts of the city.
The general rule I would give when traveling on the south side is to limit your self to the southWEST side, that is, limit yourself to the southwest suburbs. Stay north of Garfield (55th st.) and west of Pulaski (3800w) and you should be fine, for the most part. When in doubt, look at a map and see if one of the suburbs I mentioned crosses over. In some places they do.
The west loop has been renovated and is now lofts and businesses. It is pretty safe. Avoid the rest of the west side as you would the south side. The ares along the offramps of the Eisenhower (I290) are hangouts for heroin dealers. Be warned.
Written May 17, 2003
As in every city, you will encounter protestors and/or the homeless. I remember congregating in front of the Wrigley Building as a long line of protestors paraded down the main streets of the city. I don't recall what they were protesting, but I do remember noting a man dressed in a purple robe, adorned with a crown of thorns, and toting a large wooden cross.
Written Apr 21, 2003
Just know where you are going and how to get there before traveling around town. Don't rely on other people to tell you which train or bus to take. However, if you do need info, the best people to ask are the bus drivers. Too often I hear random people on the street giving incorrect infoto tourists ( not on purpose, the people giving the info are probably also tourists). Most of Chicago is relatively safe. The more people around the better. If you really need to know if you have stumbled into a wrong area or not, just look at what kind of cars are parked on the steet. For the most part, downtown and North of the City are perfectly fine at night. Although the loop area of downtown can get kind of dark and empty at night on weekdays, there are usually plenty of city construction crews and taxis that keep things from getting too quiet. I used to go home from work in the loop at 3am and never had a problem standing on the street waiting for a bus or taxi.
Written Aug 25, 2002
a big group of us went to chicago in may of 1999. we took two mini-vans. by virture of the fact that i'd been to chicago before (when i was twelve) i got to navigate and drive. oh what fun. i did good though... didn't get lost once. chicago traffic, according to my family, is horrible. i didn't think it was all that bad.
i only had one problem with it and that was on the highway going to indiana (we were staying there with one boy's family). it was late and everyone in the van was sleeping except me, the driver. i was driving in the left hand lane (traditionaly the fast lane in america) when suddenly the cars in front of me started braking and swerving. i didn't know what was going on - until the last car in front of me swerved and i saw a car driving right towards me. i jerked out of that lane (lucky there was no one beside me) and slammed on the brakes. i missed the car but i braked so hard that all the sleeping people in my van were thrown out of their seats. they weren't hurt but they were none too pleased either. i didn't care. i hate people sleeping while i'm driving - the rule is that you can't do anything in my car that i can't do while i'm driving. (take that however you want...) i thought it was kinda funny that i woke them all up. the experience was a little scary though. what was that idiot doing driving the wrong way on the highway? in the left lane, too...
Written Aug 24, 2002
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