Chicago is a wonderful city so full of attractions everyone who visits is sure to find something they enjoy. From a plethora of restaurants, multiple museums, and a host of other attractions and delights, Chicago is sure to please. Visiting such a vast city can be imposing, so it helps to have some tips for touring around Chicago.
#1 Ditch the Car
The first and most obvious tip is to use a car as little as possible. If you can, take a train or fly into the city. Parking in Chicago is expensive, costing around a hundred dollars or more just for the weekend. Hotels almost always charge for parking in the city itself. If you do drive in, stay at a hotel outside of town and take the L-train or a bus into town.
On that note, the bus system in Chicago is one of the best in the Midwest. With just a bit of research you can figure out the perfect route to get wherever you are going. Of course, large cities like Chicago are best toured on foot. Walking Chicago is easy thanks to its grid pattern design. Though the rivers might slow you down for a moment, overall Chicago is very easy to navigate.
If you are taking a large group of people, or perhaps running a tour guide (informal or otherwise) you might considering hiring a charter bus. Chicago’s got plenty of bus charter companies, and with a large enough group (10+ people), it’s actually quite affordable.
#2 Consider a Boat!
If you desire your tour on the water, history and architectural boat tours are affordable and numerous. Architectural tours are a great way to get an overall view of the buildings, layout, and landscape of one of the biggest cities east of the Mississippi.
If you plan to tour Chicago’s many nearby neighborhoods, the L-train system is a great way to get around quickly, easily, and affordably. Again, one of the best tips for touring around Chicago is to avoid the use of a car as much as possible. The best neighborhoods for visitors are on the north and west side of Chicago, while to the south are the areas best avoided at night.
#3 Orient Yourself
The sheer scope of Chicago can be overwhelming, so if you ever find yourself closed in by all the buildings, remember Lake Michigan is to the east. In the warmer months the lake has vibrant beaches great for swimming, and of course the Navy Pier is always worth a visit. Remember to plan your activities based on the weather. Chicago has a long winter a hot summer, so make sure you are prepared for conditions when you arrive.
#4 Knock out the Sight Seeing
Chicago is a vast city full of attractions, from the Sears Tower to the Art Institute of Chicago, and of course Sue the T-Rex, there is something for everyone to enjoy. When traveling, remember to plan for weather, get an idea of the bus routes, make sure you have a city map for the grid pattern, don’t be afraid to take the train for longer expeditions beyond Chicago, and feel free to enjoy the lake in the summer months. Whether you visit in the dead of winter or the height of summer, Chicago has more than enough going on to make sure everyone enjoys the trip and wants to come back again.