Getting Around Chicago

Public Transportation
This is by far the best way to get around Chicago. The public transportation options in Chicago are abundant, clean, safe and relatively affordable. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs the public transportation options in the city. The most famous method of public transportation in the city is the elevated train line system known by locals simply as the "L."

The buses cover even more ground in the city than the L, but they are not nearly as fast. They can oftentimes get passengers a little closer to their destinations than the L, which is a blessing during the nasty Chicago winters.

Both the buses and the L-trains require passengers to use the CTA cards that can be loaded with funds at kiosks at every public transit station in the city. These cards can be recharged with credit and debit cards as well as cash.

Rent a Car
Driving in Chicago is a real headache. The traffic is horrendous, particularly during rush hours. The parking in Chicago is very limited and extremely expensive. Be very careful and be sure to get insurance if driving in Chicago, because the drivers can be very aggressive and downright dangerous.

This is one area where Chicago really shines. The cabbies are normally no-nonsense kind of drivers that are very knowledgeable and don't overcharge. The fares are the cheapest of any major city in the United States. Outside of downtown it is difficult to hail a cab, so it is best to keep a cab company number programmed in a cell phone to call cabs from these areas.

All the streets in town have bike lanes, and there is a dedicated bike path that runs north and south along Lake Michigan. Bicycling is an excellent option during the spring, fall and summer. However, it is dangerous to try it during the icy winter months.

Water Taxis
These operate around the Chicago Loop area and are often faster than the CTA options. They also offer great views of the city from the decks of the boats.

Walking around downtown Chicago can be quite pleasant, especially during good weather. There is a lot of nice architecture to take in and the roads are well laid out. However, be careful when walking at night, especially in areas without many people out and about. Some of the downtown areas in Chicago can be unsafe at night, so take a taxi if in a bad area of the city.