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Where to stay in Chicago

Morgan Olsen

If you’re coming to Chicago, there’s no shortage of places to explore—and you shouldn’t limit yourself to the Loop. If you want to experience the real Chicago, head for the city’s neighborhoods, where you’ll find some of the most unique things to do in Chicago and many of the best restaurants in Chicago. Keep in mind that Chicago is a city with excellent public transportation, so a trip downtown to Museum Campus of “the Bean” is only a short ride away. (And we won’t shame you for sneaking away to try the best deep dish pizza Chicago has to offer.) From eclectic dining in Logan Square to a free Mexican art museum in Pilsen, here’s where to stay in Chicago when you visit.

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Where to stay in Chicago

Logan Square

Logan Square

Boasting gorgeous boulevards and a growing selection of restaurants and bars, Logan Square is one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, balancing family-friendly amenities with a thriving nightlife. The variety of diversions attracts vinyl lovers, musicians, pinball wizards and dining aficionados to this scenic (and rapidly-changing) section of Chicago. Logan Square is best suited for return visitors who have already hit the major tourist sites downtown. Centrally located around two Blue Line stations and plenty of buses, it’s easy to bounce around to other popular ‘hoods like Wicker Park, West Town and the Loop.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Mexican food and allow chef Diana Dávila to wow you with soul-warming dishes like fried oyster tacos, chile ash-dusted guacamole and white fish swimming in green mole. Finish your meal with a slice of legendary tres leches cake from South Side bakery Kristoffer’s.


Why settle for visiting one brewery when you could sample beer some several different creators in this incuabator space? Home to five different breweries (Funkytown, Histrionic, Azadi, Rovm Hard Kombucha and Brewer’s Kitchen), Pilot Project boasts a sleek indoor lounge and a spacious patio. Sip the latest hazy IPAs and fruited sours before browsing a selection of cans that you can purchase and enjoy at home. If you’d rather have a cocktail, the Whister or Billy Sunday are great options.

Rain or shine, summer or winter, this expansive market draws vendors from Wisconsin, Michigan and southern Illinois. Beyond oodles of fresh produce, visitors can buy handmade soaps, empanadas, tacos, flowers, hot sauce and so much more. During the market’s outdoor season, it’s easy to grab some food and find a spot on Logan Square’s gorgeous boulevards to enjoy it.

Known for its killer brunch menu, Longman & Eagle is also home to a quaint upstairs hotel (simply known as “the INN”), where rooms are outfitted with stand-alone tubs, exposed brick and unique pieces of art. Book early to ensure a spot at this sweet inn—and be aware that you’ll be sleeping above a working bar, so those with early bedtimes might want to look elsewhere.



Pilsen is one of the most recognizable neighborhoods in the city. With its distinct murals and vibrant public art, it’s not hard to see the artistic culture that’s present in Chicago’s Southwest Side. Home to one of the best museums in the city, some fantastic contemporary art galleries and a booming bar and restaurant scene to boot, Pilsen has everything a fun and culture-loving visitor could desire. It’s accessible by way of bus, Pink Line, Metra or a quick hop off of the Eisenhower, Dan Ryan or Stevenson Expressways. Head to the gorgeous ‘hood and enjoy all the culture and entertainment it has to offer.

Be sure to nab a reservation at this Vietnamese restaurant with plenty of curious and familiar bites, including fish sauce-glazed chicken wings and tender mussels cooked in coconut broth. For lunch the next day, hit the neighborhood’s endless supply of taco joints and enjoy a quick, casual bite (we’re particularly fond of Taqueria Los Comales and Carnitas Uruapan ).


Guests are transported to a funky, 70s-era basement as soon as they walk into Punch House, which is located below Dusek’s Tavern inside Thalia Hall. As its name suggests, this watering hole specializes in punch, so bring a friend or three to help you polish off a large-format cocktail.

This underrated Chicago attraction houses an impressive 10,000-piece permanent collection, rotating exhibits and family-friendly workshops. The best part? Admission is always free.

Book an Airbnb

There are plenty of big-name hotels northeast of Pilsen in the Loop, but renting a pad for the weekend is your best bet for an immersive experience.

West Loop

West Loop

If you fancy yourself a foodie, there’s no better place to stay than the West Loop. The neighborhood is known for its abundance of excellent restaurants and bars, including a handful of Michelin-starred kitchens like Oriole and Ever. Plus, you won’t have to go far to explore must-see attractions downtown—the Loop is just a train ride away.

Time Out Market Chicago brings together some of the city’s best chefs under one roof, serving everything from tavern-style pizza and tender brisket to steaming bowls of ramen and one of the best burgers in Chicago. Time Out editors curate the entire lineup of vendors, hand-selecting the top chefs from around the city to cook with us. If you have time for just one dining experience, make it Time Out Market Chicago.


Located on the east side of the Kennedy Expressway, this West Loop spot specializes in classic cocktails—31 to be exact. Sip sidecars, cosmopolitans, mojitos, negronis and martinis for $13 each, which is a steal when you consider the bar team is using house-made syrups, sodas and elixirs to craft perfectly balanced sippers.

The rule in most museums is look, but don’t come even close to touching. That’s thrown the window at WNDR Museum, which is more like an immersive experience versus a traditional art museum. The museum began as a pop-up in 2018, but has since expanded and put down permanent roots, with dozens of exhibits, including the only Infinity Mirror Room (created by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama) in Chicago.

Located in the heart of the West Loop, the Hoxton puts out-of-town visitors in the thick of things. But there’s a good chance you won’t want to leave the 182-room hotel thanks to its curated food and beverage offerings, including a rooftop restaurant and bar from famed chef Stephanie Izard as well as a sexy basement bar that slings classic cocktails.

Wicker Park and Bucktown

Wicker Park and Bucktown

Ah, Wicker Park. That’s where they shot High Fidelity. And there was that Wicker Park movie with Josh Hartnett. Wait, who’s Josh Hartnett again? Point is, that was years ago. Wicker Park and Bucktown remain a vibrant hub of culture and commerce in Chicago, riddled with boutiques, restaurants, cocktail bars, concerts venues and condos. It’s easy to get to from O’Hare Airport and boasts plenty of bus and train options for navigating the rest of your trip.

For brunch, pop over to this insanely sweet (albeit cozy) eatery for Instagrammable southern-inspired Mexican fare. The 41-stool diner serves massive portions of hangover-curing goodies like buttermilk fried chicken smothered in chorizo verde gravy and showered in sweet peas and pearl onions. Whatever you do, don’t skip the Bloody Mary.


Mixology buffs will appreciate the attention to detail at this dark and sexy cocktail den that’s known for discouraging cell phone use (it’s a “house rule”). Saddle up and see where Chicago’s famed craft scene was born while tasting the menu of classic shaken and stirred concoctions.

For an active and totally free afternoon, hop on the 606 (a.k.a. the Bloomingdale Trail), an urban walkway that stretches across several surrounding ‘hoods. It’s easy to hop on and off to explore shops, parks and coffee shops located just off the trail.

This 12-story, 69-room hotel is the premiere place to stay in Wicker Park. The Robey’s centralized location is easily its biggest perk and allows visitors to see the best of the neighborhood without going far. Design enthusiasts will get a kick out of the mid-century modern design touches, while foodies will adore Cafe Robey, the underrated first-floor restaurant.



Small though it may be, Andersonville is a Far North Side neighborhood with plenty of personality and no shortage of ways for visitors to stay occupied. Walk along the bustling Clark Street corridor and you’ll find unique buys in cool vintage stores next to cozy bars, neighborhood restaurants and theaters where you can see comedy and magic. There are few better spots for LGBTQ+ nightlife in all of Chicago—and the Red Line is nearby if you want to explore the rest of the city.

Yes, Andersonville is a traditionally Swedish neighborhood, but the area’s culinary delights span the globe, exmplified by this bustling, rustic Italian trattoria. The menu at Anteprima rotates with the seasons, but you can always count on fresh, homemade pasta. For a truly authentic Italian-American experience, give Nonna the day off and pick up a Sunday supper.


If you value dinner just as much as you do a cold glass of beer, find a table at this bustling neighborhood favorite. The mile-long draft list includes cider, mead and pours from around the world, including a formidable selection of Belgian beers. Each Chicago-made beer on the menu is marked with the city flag, making it easy for you to drink local all night. And if you need a snack, we recommend the Belgian-style mussels with pommes frites.

Dozens of local vendors occupy this unique shopping hub where you can browse jewelry, apparel, candles, paper goods, prints and furniture without leaving the building. When you do come up for air, there are plenty of locally-owned shops in the surrounding blocks to explore, including Rattleback Records and Scout.

Steps away from the action farther north on Clark Street, this posh inn offers two- and three-bedroom suites that are perfect for families, small groups and guests traveling with pups. Its location on the edge of Andersonville makes it easy to explore Uptown and the Asian restaurants on Argyle Street.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park

Home to the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Obama family (before they moved to the White House), Hyde Park is one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. Not far from the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Metra Electric line, this South Side neighborhood boasts gorgeous parks (Washington Park to the West, Jackson Park to the South) and easy access to the lakefront. Whether you’re soaking in the views of the skyline from Promontory Point or exploring 53rd Street, this collegiate ‘hood is a great place to stay if you’ve already hit the major tourist attractions in the Loop.

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A relatively new addition to Chicago’s dining scene, the southern-American inspired cuisine at Virtue has been taking guests on a culinary journey since 2018. Owner and executive chef Erick Williams serves dishes with heart, including gumbo, shortribs and blackened catfish. Make sure to sample the cornbread, made according to Williams’s grandmother’s recipe and served with sweet honey butter.


There’s nothing like a college bar, and for students at the University of Chicago, that bar is the Woodlawn Tap. Where else can you chow down on cheap burgers and fries while listening to Nobel Prize winners discuss any variety of topics? While it’s official name is the Woodlawn Tap, those in the know refer to the beloved Hyde Park bar as Jimmy’s, in honor of its late owner and barkeep, Jimmy Wilson.

While Frank Lloyd Wright’s works are scattered across the country, the famous architect designed many homes in Chicago while living in nearby Oak Park—including Hyde Park’s Frederick C. Robie House. Completed in 1910, the house is now a National Historic Landmark and stands as one of the primary examples of Wright’s Prairie style of architecture. Admire the clean lines from the outside, or buy tickets to take a tour through the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.

The thing about staying in Hyde Park is that you’re bound to run into a lot of University of Chicago students and professors. The Study understands and embraces that, with locations adjacent to the campuses of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. Its Hyde Park hotel features 167 rooms, a lounge area filled with books and publications as well as several event and conference spaces. The rooms come with feather-topped beds, modern bathrooms and some picturesque views of the university.



As its name suggests, if you’re heading to Chicago to take in Lake Michigan, you can’t do much better than Lakeview. The neighborhood doesn’t boast the lengthy beaches that other ‘hoods brag about, but it is home to Belmont Harbor Dog Beach, a sandy nook alongside the ships that dock at Belmont Harbor that’s a great spot for pup viewing when the weather is warmer. It also has just about everything else to satisfy any traveler’s needs, including the lively Northalsted area, home to the annual Pride parade and serveral LGBTQ nightlife destinations.

Who says elegant dining has to be inaccessible? Case-in-point, the Michelin Bib Gourmand winner Wood. Helmed by Executive Chef Devin Kreller, this Northalsted spot serves a wide variety of New American cuisine, including the confit duck leg, served with roasted sweet potatoes and covered with a Thai coconut curry sauce. Wood is also renowned for its bar program, including its fun and creative house cocktails, like the Pokemon-inspired Jigglypuff’s Revenge—a vodka drink topped with Napa Valley strawberry purée.


There are few places that feel as authentically Chicago as Guthries Tavern, a watering hole that is removed from the craziness of Clark Street, but still close enough that it’s an easy walk after a Cubs game. It’s a spot where Chicagoans have been gathering to drink for decades— although the location has only been called Guthries since the ’80s and recently reopened under new ownership, retaining its craft beer offerings an board game collection.

Music Box Theatre

If you’re looking for somewhere to catch the newest blockbuster, then the Music Box Theatre might not be for you. But if you want to see a Japanese indie film that everyone has been talking about on Twitter , this is probably where it’s playing. Known for its regular repertoire screenings and arthouse programming, the Music Box Theatre is a sanctuary for anyone who loves film. Even if you don’t have time for a movie, you can sit in the adjacent lounge and admire the vintage movie posters on the wall.

Old Chicago Inn

With 10 guest rooms to choose from and a location just a few blocks from Wrigley Field, the Vic Theater and many bars and restaurants, the Old Chicago Inn is a great homebase for a Lakeview vacation. Don’t feel like going out? The hotel boasts its own Prohibition-style speakeasy (Room 13) serving cocktails that harken back to the roaring ’20s, including the Boulevardier, a bitter-sweet beverage made with a mixture of bourbon, sweet vermouth and amaro. Just ask for the password when you check in.

Traveling to Chicago? Travel Tips To Know When Planning a Trip to Chicago

Chicago travel guide: Read on to learn the most important things to know when planning on visiting Chicago for the first time. You will find useful travel tips for Chicago to make the most out of any visit, to blend in like a local, and for a hassle free, enjoyable visit. I have included a whole lot of info to know before traveling to Chicago IL, including the best time to visit, where to stay, areas to avoid, how to get around, and the best things to do in Chicago.

Traveling to Chicago Travel tips for Chicago Travel Guide

Why visit Chicago Illinois: Is it worth a trip (or two)

Chicago, found on the banks of beautiful Lake Michigan, is one of the best places to visit in USA . This Midwestern metropolis, the third largest in the country, is renowned for its striking architecture, iconic foods, dynamic music scene, interesting museums, and friendly locals.

Often voted the most fun city in the United States and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Chicago is a giant tourist destination. The City of Big Shoulders is an ideal destination to vacation, whether as a city break or a weekend getaway.

More than 50 million tourists visit Chicago each year, and with good reason. This popular urban destinations in the US has something to offer every type of traveler and every travel style. Whether you’re into beautiful buildings, vibrant entertainment, amazing food, art, nature, history, culture, sport, or technology, you’ll find it in the Windy City.

Did you know:
Chicago’s nicknames include The Windy City, the White City, the Second City, the City That Works, and the City of Big Shoulders.

tips Traveling to chicago travel guide

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Traveling to Chicago for the First Time: These are my top travel tips for visiting Chicago

Chicago river architecture tour boat

What are some things to know when planning a trip to Chicago:

✓ Is Chicago open for tourists?

Yes, the city of Chicago is now open, following local and state guidance, and this is your perfect opportunity to experience all that this Midwestern metropolis has to offer.

You will be happy to know that that there are no capacity restrictions or limits in place and many establishments continue to follow safety measures.

✓ When is the best time to visit Chicago

The city has a lot to offer, which means a good time is promised at any time of the year. However…

The best time to plan a trip to Chicago is during the months of April and May and September and October. During these times the temperatures are comfortable, there are a variety of festivals taking place, and crowds are undemanding.

The city does come alive in the summer months with festivals that include Lollapalooza, Venetian Night , Taste of Chicago, and the Air and Water Show.

Avoid visiting during peak period to take advantage of better prices and fewer crowds. This means to avoid visiting Chicago, if at all possible, during national holidays, bank holiday weekends, and during school breaks.

✓ What to wear in Chicago

You do need to take note that the weather in Chicago is unpredictable, with sunshine and humidity to chilly cloud cover in a matter of minutes.

The best way to prepare for this is to wear layers that are easily removable and replaceable to maintain the perfect body temperature. This will also combine handy when visiting the Lakefront area which is always a couple of degrees cooler than other parts of the city.

Casual and comfortable is the way to go.

You’re also going to need comfortable shoes for all that walking you’re going to be doing in the city.

If visiting Chicago during the winter months, it is essential to carry insulated down jackets, tights, scarves, and boots as protection from the icy conditions and wind chills.

✓ How many days in Chicago is enough

The city is massive and you’re not going to be able to see everything in one visit. So how many days do you need as a first time visitor in Chicago?

To get a good feel of what the city is about, I would say 3 to 4 days is sufficient. It is enough time to see the top tourist attractions in Chicago. It would even give you a bit of time to get off the beaten path and feel like a local.

You could easily spend a week in the city discovering its many different neighborhoods, museums, local parks, and hidden gems.

Don’t miss the Chicago River Architecture Cruise. It is one of the most popular tours in Chicago – and with good reason.

Visiitng chicago illinois things to know planning a trip Chicago

✓ Where to stay in Chicago

Chicago has accommodation options that suit every budget and every travel style, so there’s bound to be the perfect option for you.

There is certainly no shortage of places to stay in Chicago , but you should select one depending on your personal preferences and what you plan on doing in the city.

Here’s some advice on that:

The Loop is best location to stay in Chicago, particularly for first-time travelers.

It is located right in the heart of downtown Chicago, with many of the main sights within walking distance.

Being one of the three downtown neighborhoods, the Loop is the first stop for travelers coming to the Windy City. With the Chicago River to the North and Lake Michigan to the East, this is the place to observe the famed skyline of Chicago city. The attractions in this area include major theaters, different world-class public art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, and its spectacular centerpiece, and the Buckingham Fountain.

My favorite option in The Loop neighborhood is Hyatt Place Chicago/Downtown .

It’s perfectly located to easily explore the best of the city’s landmark attractions. Highlights include comfortable and spacious rooms, a well-equipped gym, friendly staff, and a business centre.

For families: Lincoln Park is your best bet.

What started as a small Polish and German Community is now the most vibrant neighborhood in Chicago. Its green spaces, youthful atmosphere, and Lake Michigan views make this area a popular choice for families visiting Chicago. The attractions in this area include DePaul University, Lincoln Park Zoo, and St. Michael’s Church.

A great choice is Hotel Lincoln , found minutes away from the beach as well the Lincoln Park Zoo. Families will love the comfort, cleanliness, and value for money. Facilities include 5 on-site restaurants, wellness area, and free wifi.

The Magnificent Mile is the best option for luxury shopping and a buzzing nightlife.

Aptly named the city’s shopping center, the Mag Mile is the place where you’ll find all the high-end stores, luxury hotels, fancy restaurants and bars of Chicago. Other attractions in this area include John Hancock Center, Chicago Water Tower, and the Wrigley Building.

The Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile comes highly recommended. What I like is its excellent location, good staff service, a wonderful breakfast as well it its state-of-the-art fitness centre, on-site dining and free WiFi.

For travelers on a budget: Streeterville is for you.

This will cost you less than many of the other localities in the city, yet the location is great. It is situated right between the Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan. The Navy Pier is the major attraction in this area.

The boutique hotel Warwick Allerton Chicago is perfectly located in the heart of downtown Chicago. The stylish and modern rooms are well complemented with historic architecture, on-site dining options and a 24-hour fitness centre.

✓ Is Chicago safe to visit? + Where to avoid

This urban metropolis is, for the most part, safe for visitors. Most trips to Chicago are trouble-free.

The safest neighborhoods in Chicago include:

Lincoln Park, Edison Park, Lake view, Printers Row, Andersonville, Streeterville, Norwood Park, Forest Glen, Gold Coast, and Rogers Park.

However, on that note, some sketchy neighborhoods that are notorious for gang related and criminal activity are best avoided.

Which areas in Chicago are not safe:

The city’s most dangerous areas are found in the south of the city. These include East and West Garfield Park, Engelwood, Washington Park, North Lawndale, and South Chicago and are best avoided whenever possible.

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Travel tips for Chicago

✓ How to get from the airport to the Chicago city center

The best option to get to and from Chicago O’Hare International and Midway International is by using the rapid trains on CTA.

These trains run 24 house a day, seven days a week.

The CTA Blue line will get you to downtown in under 45 minutes from O’Hare while the CTA Orange Line will get you into the city in under 25 minutes from Midway International.

✓ How to get around in Chicago

Public transportation and walking are your two best options. This will get you almost everywhere and many of the city’s attractions are a short ride or walk away from each other.

Unlike many major US cities, Chicago has a good public transport system that you can take advantage of. Your transport options include the CTA Buses, The L, the Metra (underground train) and others.

The L train (short for elevated train), operated by the Chicago Transit Authority, is cheap and easy to use.

If it’s raining, the best way to get around in the Windy City is by using the Chicago Pedway, a network of underground tunnels and overhead bridges for pedestrian use. This is the best and cheapest way of getting around the city center.

If the weather is good, you can use the city’s bike-share program that lets you rent bikes for use within the city.

One of the best ways to explore the Chicago Riverwalk, Michigan Avenue, and West Loop Area is the Chicago Water Taxi which connects various neighborhoods within the city. This system goes through downtown and beyond to Goose Island and is a really cool way of seeing the city from a different perspective.

Ventra Cards are the passes needed in order to board the CTA. You can find Ventra kiosks at the airports and I would recommend purchasing these cards here before boarding your first train. One-day, three-day, or seven-day passes are available, depending on how long you’re planning on staying for.

✓ Chicago City Passes are great

If you are traveling to Chicago for the first time and want to see as many of the city’s important locations as possible, the city passes are a good option to consider.

The passes let you visit multiple locations in the city without having to get tickets for each place individually.

The two most popular passes are:

    The Chicago Explorer Pass lets you visit up to 6 attractions of your choice within two months of activation.

travel tips Where to stay in chicago loop downtown

✓ The best attraction and things to do in Chicago

Top attractions in Chicago include:

→ Don’t miss the panoramic views from the 360 Chicago Observation Deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building, featuring a tilting glass lookout 1000 ft. up.

→ Walk through Millenium Park and Cloud Gate.

→ Do visit at least one of Chicago’s museums. The Art Institute of Chicago for its noted Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry are some of the best.

→ Take a fun stroll around Navy Pier. Maybe hop on the giant Centennial Wheel to view the cit from an entirely different perspective.

The Magnificent Mile should not be missed.

→ Watch the water show at Buckingham Fountain.

→ Another great viewpoint is the top of the Willis Tower Skydeck, where you’ll be able to see up to 50 miles over four states and Lake Michigan.

→ Visit Wrigley Field and catch a game in an iconic American baseball city.
April to September is baseball season where you can catch the Chicago Cubs or White Sox.
October to April is hockey and basketball season for a chance to witness the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Wolves, or Chicago Blackhawks in action.

→ Take an architecture boat tour along the Chicago River, to get a good look at the city’s famous architecture.

→ If you can’t get enough of the water, take a boat tour along Lake Michigan.

It doesn’t all have to be tough on your travel fund. Here are a couple of…

✓ Free things to do in Chicago

A trip to Chicago can become quite expensive, but not if you know of the places that are free to visit, and these are some of the nicest ones in the city too.

The places in Chicago that you can visit free include:

Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Maggie Daley Park.

The Chicago Cultural Center

The City Gallery at Historic Water Tower

The Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture. Many other Chicago museums offer free museum days.

Lakefront trail, parks, and beaches. A walk or bike ride along Lakefront Trail comes highly recommended.

Chicago Riverwalk.

Navy Pier.

Lincoln Park Conservatory and Lincoln Park Zoo.

Garfield Park Conservatory is free, online reservations in advance are recommended.

My favourite beach is Oak Street Beach. It gives you unmatched views of the Chicago cityscape. Montrose Beach, found further north, has beach activities and also a large area of sand that is popular with families .

✓ Book in advance before traveling Chicago

If you are traveling to Chicago, especially in the busy season, it is important to book things in advance.

Once you have planned the trip, book things like accommodation and attractions in advance. This will allow for better prices, more choice, and less time wasted waiting in queues.

Tickets to the main attractions are also cheaper when you book in advance.

Tickets purchased on the spot will cost more or worse case, not even be available in peak season. This is especially true in the case of popular performances and sports games. For such events, advance ticketing will help you to avoid any hassle and even score better seating at the event.

This applies to any popular destination.

✓ Eat like a local: Foods to try in Chicago

Do not, I repeat do NOT, leave the city without trying some of its iconic foods.

    Deep-dish pizza.
    You can’t talk about iconic Chicago cuisine without including deep-dish pizza. A must try food in Chicago.

✓ Greet the locals

It is a friendly city and Chicagoans are generally happy to chat or give directions. “ Hello ” and “ good morning ” go a long way.

✓ Final thoughts when planning a Chicago trip

Chicago is one of the most visited cities in the US, welcoming more than 50 million tourists each year. I am sure this Chicago travel guide has given you all the info you need for an upcoming trip.

If you want to visit this city, the first thing you need to decide is when to visit, depending on what your preferences are, choosing the right place to stay, and booking accommodation and attractions in advance.

As Chicago has a well-established public transportation network, take advantage of this to save money while in the city. City passes are also a good way to save money and to avoid the hassle of individual bookings. Lastly, do take advantage of the free attractions in Chicago.

Walk through Millenium Park and Cloud Gate. Things to do in Chicago travel tips

These travel tips and hacks will ensure that you have a great time traveling to Chicago.

If you have any other travel questions when planning a trip to Chicago, please let me know.

Is Chicago Safe? What Travelers Need To Know

Is Chicago Safe? What Travelers Need To Know

The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed changed the lives of people in so many different ways. Guidelines and various restrictions have been put up to help manage the spread of the disease and lessen the number of victims that fall prey to it. Traveling from one place to another has become quite tough, but it does not mean it’s impossible.

You just have to take the necessary precautions and be extra careful, especially when you’re going to an unfamiliar place.

When it comes to safety, Chicago is one of the cities that are affected by the rise in crime rates. As of late, there have been more reports about violent crimes and property crimes in the city.

However, this does not mean that Chicago is no longer safe. You can still enjoy your stay in the city as long as you take the necessary precautions.

Table of Contents

About Chicago Safety

Chicago is the third largest and is one of the most visited cities in the United States. In the Midwest region, Chicago is considered the cultural hub, where a variety of culture-rich activities are celebrated each year.

While Chicago has its share of crimes big and small, that made it to the headlines, even since before the days of Al Capone, the overall murder rate of the city has decreased over the last few years.

You might be surprised to find out that Chicago’s overall crime rates are well below the national average, as the other reported crimes have lowered in number too.

Gang-related incidents, from drug dealing to burglaries or robberies, have also been minimized thanks to the city’s campaign to help and provide support for people from the projects.

Besides, statistical reports show a decrease in crime rates. This drop in the crime rate has also become evident in the increase in the number of tourists who have come to visit the city.

The dramatic decline in reported crimes has encouraged a lot of tourists to come and enjoy what the city has to offer.

Just take a stroll around Navy Pier and Millennium Park to see a throng of tourists taking selfies and enjoy the panoramic views.

While visiting The Loop, found in the middle of the city bountiful of public art illustrations as well as the world’s top-class museums, keep an eye on your valuables.

Whenever you are traveling to Chicago, or any other city for that matter, it is best to keep a close eye on your belongings.

Pickpockets can practically be anywhere, especially on public transport. Again, this holds for every other city you travel to, too, and is not just a Windy City problem.

Vigilance is key when you’re a tourist no matter where you are.

Is it safe to travel around Chicago? How safe is Chicago? Is Hyde Park Chicago Safe?

Yeah, about as safe as anywhere else, so stop dilly-dallying! Pay a visit and take a stroll around this spellbinding city, enjoy the sights, and fall in love with the view.

Not only is Chicago’s crime rate well below the national average, but the good news is also that Chicago has been experiencing a steady decline in crime in the last five years.

However, it is still important to look at the type of crimes in Chicago to assuage your fears.

Besides, it is better to prepare yourself before you come to visit any new town.

In recent years, Chicago’s crime rate is relatively low.

These may not be the kind of things you’d like to think about when planning any vacation, but it’s always sensible to know what to expect from the destination about crime and the risk you are exposed to.

Chicago is a big city with more than 77 varying communities. While it may have its share of crimes that made it to the headlines (mostly during the prohibition), police reports show that its murder rates have dropped significantly over the years. However, depending on where you are, Chicago could still be considered one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S>

Although there will always be doubts as to how safe the city is, it is important to note that the increase in the tourists who come to visit the city is saying a lot about its safety.

Despite the pandemic’s difficulties, tourism has thrived, and it has given employment opportunities during this trying period. People are no longer apprehensive about visiting Chicago.

As they say, no city is ever safe. Chicago is a very big city and an amazing city. Neighborhoods in Chicago are like cities in their own right, they are that big.

So, when you visit Chicago you’ll need to know what are the crime rates for each area.

Neighborhoods in Chicago

The Windy City is a city that is composed of many different neighborhoods. Each of these neighborhoods has its own unique history and culture.

They also play an important role in the overall safety of the city.

North Side of Chicago

The North Side of Chicago is known for being wealthier and more affluent. This neighborhood is also home to many different tourist attractions, including the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Field Museum. The North Side is considered to be one of the safest areas in Chicago.

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South Side of Chicago

The South Side of Chicago is known for being more working class. This area is home to many different factories and businesses. The South Side is also where you’ll find some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, such as Englewood and Garfield Park.

West Side of Chicago

The West Side of Chicago is a mix of both affluent and working-class neighborhoods. The University of Illinois at Chicago is located on the West Side, as well as many different cultural attractions.

The West Side is generally considered to be safe, but there are some dangerous areas, such as Austin, West Garfield Park, and North Lawndale. West Garfield Park is one of the most dangerous areas in Chicago.

East Side of Chicago

The East Side of Chicago is home to many different immigrant communities. This area is also where you’ll find some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, such as Pilsen and Little Village.

The East Side is generally considered to be safe, but there are some dangerous areas, such as South Shore and Riverdale.

Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago is a bustling area full of skyscrapers, businesses, and tourists. While it may be safe during the day, some areas can be unsafe at night. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when traveling in downtown Chicago after dark.

There are neighborhoods within downtown Chicago that are lively at night such as River North, the condos along Lake Michigan, and Michigan Avenue but crime can happen so be aware of your surroundings and don’t flash your valuables.

If you are downtown and need to take a bus or train home after dark, there are some safe places to wait for public transportation. The CTA website has a list of safe havens which are well-lit, have security cameras, and are staffed with police officers.

Other Considerations

These Chicago neighborhoods each have their considerations for property crime, violent crime, and moto vehicle theft. There are always exceptions to this rule, but in general, these are some basic guidelines for thinking about safety in Chicago.

When it comes to property crime, the North Side of Chicago is the safest area, followed by the West Side and the South Side. The East Side has the highest rate of property crime.

Violent crime is a bit more complicated. The North Side has the lowest rate of violent crime, followed by the West Side. The South Side has a higher rate of violent crime, but it is still lower than the East Side.

The rates for moto vehicle theft are similar to those for property crime, with the North Side being the safest and the East Side is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods.

In general, the North Side of Chicago is the safest area, followed by the West Side. The South Side is more dangerous than the North Side, but it is still safer than the East Side.

When it comes to violent crime, the North Side is the safest, followed by the West Side. The East Side is more dangerous than both the North and South Sides.

Some people might feel safe in any area of Chicago, while others might only feel safe in certain neighborhoods. It’s important to remember that crime can happen anywhere, so it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when necessary.

Safety Tips for Visiting the Windy City

Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois

When visiting Chicago, tourists need to be aware of the city’s safety recommendations. Although Chicago is a large metropolis with a lot of activity, certain areas are more hazardous than others. You should consider avoiding areas notorious for crime and violence as a visitor as you may not know the dynamics of the neighborhood.

Some general tips for staying safe in Chicago include (and these apply to nearly every major city):

  • Staying aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Avoiding confrontations with strangers
  • Not walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially in the middle of the night
  • Keeping your personal belongings close by
  • Avoiding high-crime neighborhoods

The best way to stay safe in Chicago is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself. If you witness a crime, don’t hesitate to contact the police.

Chicago tourism programs benefit from health safety protocols.

Even though Chicago is known for its history of highly publicized crimes in the city, the local government is trying its best to give its tourism programs the boost that it needs.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been the driving force behind policies that will encourage tourists to come and visit the city.

The city itself values its tourists, tourism being a huge contributor to Chicago’s budget, and that’s why the city made sure that all those who come to visit feel the most comfortable during their visits.

Several revisions to the city’s budget have been implemented. The local government is looking at making the shift from austerity measures to bring a more serious approach to producing progressive revenue.

The new vision to increase tourism in Chicago includes modern gondolas that will give tourists a heightened experience of the city.

Suggestions to light up the city were also presented to help double the number of visitors that they had last year.

On top of that, tourism activities and programs are very important to the growth and development of the city.

Not only does it create thousands of jobs, but it is also able to generate a kind of healthy cultural interaction among tourists and its citizens. The revenue it produces for the city is undoubtedly helping in its development too.

Is Chicago safe to visit right now?

Chicago Skyline at Sunset

With regards to crime and coronavirus, Chicago is among the safest large cities in America right now.

The mayor has recently announced the reopening of some of the city’s famous beaches. With all the necessary safety protocols in place, there is little need to worry about the possible contraction of the Coronavirus in the city, especially if you are vaccinated and are following local health guidelines.

Notably, the state of Illinois has a mask mandate, especially for those indoors. Take note of the following areas where you are required to mask up:

  • All indoor public settings like restaurants, bars, gyms, supermarkets, clubs, etc.
  • Common areas in condos, apartments, and other multiple residential buildings
  • While riding the public transportation
  • In healthcare settings
  • In school

Everyone is encouraged to wear masks even outdoors if there are a lot of people.

A social distancing policy is implemented to prevent the spread of contagion. Every resident and tourist to Chicago is reminded to practice frequent hand washing and other good hygiene habits.

Notably, they also have a vaccine mandate for all government employees, and many private businesses in Chicago are introducing their own mandates for employees.

Currently, the city is exploring if it will implement a vaccine mandate for the entire city.

This means showing a vaccination card or a recent negative swab test result to access businesses or public transport for example.

Things to See and Do in Chicago

People who have grown up and lived in Chicago all their lives would describe that city as a city of two faces.

One aspect of the city is represented by its vibrant metropolis with famous parks and museums for the tourists to discover. The other half, however, is the one that is greatly affected by crime, poverty, and gangs.

And yet, these two faces of the city are not something to be surprised about. While they may be extremes in nature, they are akin to the faces of most large American cities and they are the fabric that has been woven to give Chicago its unique culture and fascinating history.

Which spots should you not miss out on?

Art Institute of Chicago

Home to a number of world-class artworks. Its diverse collection took years to build and it includes spectacular paintings, sculptures, textiles, decorative arts, and architectural drawings.

Some of the post-Impressionist paintings in its collections are made by Renoir and Monet – maybe you’ve heard of them…?

The Millenium Park features a magnificent centerpiece called Cloud Gate. It is an 11-ton sculpture made from a mirror-like stainless steel surface whose design is inspired by the form of liquid mercury.

Apart from the beautiful sculptures including the Crown Fountain, one of the popular things to do in Millennium Park is to watch performances in their outdoor venue. Or visit Maggie Daley Park, which is a 20-acre public park near Millennium Park.

The park, which is managed by the Chicago Park District, was initially built on land donated by the Daley family in memory of their late mother Maggie Daley. It is bounded by Randolph Street to the north, Columbus Drive.

The Taste of Chicago is an annual food festival held in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the world’s largest food festival, taking place for five days in Grant Park. The event is free to the public and features over 200 vendors representing various cuisines from around the world.

Most of these sites are accessible all year round without additional costs.

Established in 1916, The Navy Pier is one of the oldest landmarks in Chicago.

This shipping facility also doubles as an amusement area which is basically a 50-acre nirvana with gardens, attractions, parks, concert venues, and a wide variety of the best restaurants in Chicago.

It has also been the home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the six-story botanical garden called Crystal Gardens.

Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Among all the museums in the city, this one proves to be among the most impressive.

Devoted to applications of natural laws in industrial and technological advancements, the museum is also known to be the first to incorporate the concept of offering hands-on exhibitions, making visitors’ experiences more interactive.

Are you looking into visiting the famous Windy City? Perhaps your first question is about your safety.

  • Is Chicago safe to visit?
  • Will I be able to move around without worrying that I might contract the virus?
  • Are there safety protocols I need to remember to follow?
  • Is Chicago water safe to drink from the tap?

If that weren’t enough to give you pause for thought, there is another aspect of the city that you might be worried about.

  • What is the crime like in Chicago?
  • Will downtown Chicago be safe for me and my family?
  • Is uptown Chicago safe for us?
  • Is downtown Chicago safe? What about the other parts?

There are just so many questions such as is it safe to go to Chicago, but there is no need to worry.

Final Thoughts

Chicago is a safe city for tourists to visit and is an amazing city with a lot to offer. There are world-class museums, restaurants, and nightlife options. The city is also very accessible, with a great public transportation system.

Chicago is a great place to visit any time of year. However, it is still important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe

With that said, go ahead and enjoy everything that Chicago has to offer.

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Is Chicago safe to travel alone?

It’s a lovely city with excellent safety that is ideal for solo travelers. This Midwestern treasure has several iconic buildings, attractions, museums, and other activities that an overseas metropolis has to provide. When someone asks about American cities, Al Capone’s house will undoubtedly be compared to New York or San Francisco.

What can I do to stay safe in Chicago?

Some tips for staying safe in Chicago include being aware of your surroundings at all times, avoiding areas that are known to be dangerous, and traveling in groups when possible. It is also important to reach out to the police if you see any suspicious activity.

Which part of downtown Chicago is safe?

Downtown Chicago is safe, but certain areas are safer than others. For example, the Loop is a very safe area, as is River North. These areas are well-lit and have a lot of people around, so they’re less likely to be targeted by criminals. If you’re traveling to Chicago, it’s important to stay in these areas.




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