Located on Lake Michigan in Illinois, Chicago is among the largest cities in the United States. The city is renowned for it’s museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
- Chicagoans are almost always happy to chat. Don’t be shy about striking up a conversation or asking for directions.
- You can buy contactless Ventra tickets from station vending machines for $5, and rides cost a flat $2.50 regardless of destination. If you’re visiting for a few days, consider one-, three-, or seven-day passes for $10, $20, or $28 that grant unlimited rides for the duration of your stay.
- Don't be afraid to swim in Lake Michigan. The water's fine, weather permitting, and Chicago has 27 beaches along the lake. You can even go paddle boarding.
- Don't take the Seadog speedboat sightseeing tour from Navy Pier. Instead, hop the fascinating if tourist-packed Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise that plies the Chicago River with engaging commentary about the skyline and the city’s rise from frontier backwater to global hub.
For the Emergency services just dial 999 from any phone, for not so serious situations please dial 101.
Click on the text to visit their website.
Public transportation is a great way to go. Chicago’s “L,” or elevated train, connects many of the city’s most in-demand neighbourhoods.
Chicago Union Station is the main station for Chicago. Click the text to visit the website.
How can I keep up with the news?
What are the common crimes?
Drug trafficking is another problem for the city, this shouldn’t effect tourists but be aware that you may be offered drugs. Firmly say no and walk away.
Gun crime is very common in the city, especially in the rougher neighbourhoods. Stay in the tourist areas and don’t venture out at night if you don’t know where you are going.
What are some safety tips I should know?
Make sure you are not an easy target for crime on the street. Carry your purse in a manner that makes it hard to get – across your chest or under your arm where more than a simple grab is needed to snatch it. Men should carry their wallets in their inside coats or side pants pocket, never in your back pants pocket where it is easy to grab.
Never carry large amounts of money. Whenever possible, use credit cards or checks instead of cash. When using credit cards, make sure that only one credit slip is printed with your charge card. Also, be sure to tear up any carbons that may be used to complete the transaction. Credit card fraud can ruin your holiday season. Thieves and pickpockets are more likely to be attracted by expensive clothes and jewelry.
When you are out doing your holiday shopping, dress comfortably and casually.
Which areas should I avoid?
According to experienced travelers, visitors to Chicago should avoid heading into the South Side unless they are sure of their whereabouts. Experts say that this part of the city — excluding the Hyde Park district — has never really recovered from the reputation it earned in the 1920s as a haven for violent gangsters such as Al Capone. If you do decide to tour the area, travel writers strongly recommend visiting during the day with at least one other person.
Englewood and Washington Park already had a bad enough reputation, and are in Chicago’s most notorious neighbourhood.
Improve Your Personal Safety
Knowledge – the more you have the better equipped you are.
Awareness – the more you see the safer you become.
Response – the right reaction can change a situation.
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
From the crack of the bat to the slide on into home, NCAA baseball packs a wallop of home run frenzy for what’s oft called America’s favorite pastime. Diamond action starts in January, continuing through most of June. Chicago State Cougars, Illinois Illini, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, UIC Flames
Major League Baseball
Nothing signals advent of spring more than baseball with a capital B, tightly meshed into American culture with historic firsts, icon performances, record-setting events, and traditions from hot dogs slathered in mustard to unexpected curveballs, and seventh-inning stretches. Books and movies about baseball are fine and dandy, but nothing beats Major League Baseball action, playing out each season from April through the World Series.
Taste of Chicago
This ten day festival is packed with food, activities and entertainment. Over 60 restaurants showcase their food. This is a festival you don’t want to miss. Located in Grant Park (Lake Shore Drive and Jackson Boulevard), the last week in June through the first week in July.
West Fest Chicago
All things West Town come together for a unique Chicago festival each summer. West Fest highlights the local talent this community offers, and from the live entertainment to the restaurants and vendors, you can come and celebrate the neighbourhood’s unique offerings.
Are there any music festivals?
Chicago Jazz Festival
Enjoy the world’s largest jazz festival featuring local, national and international musicians. This event is free and is sponsored by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The event is located at Grant Park, on the first weekend in September.
A Grant Park Chicago tradition since 2005, the Lollapalooza Music Festival Chicago is one of the top annual U.S. concerts each year. Attracting the hottest music acts from the worlds of rock, pop, punk music and more, Lollapalooza Music Festival Chicago combines great music with a fun atmosphere that makes for one of the best annual music festivals around.
Where should I visit?
With 319 acres of urban park, the Grant Park, named in honor of the 18th President of the USA, Ulysses S. Grant, is to be found in the Loop community area of Chicago which is in the city’s central business district. Places to visit within the park area include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. The park also includes many facilities for sport activities, performances, art work and gardens as well as larger public events.
Opened to the public in 1916, and spanning some 3,000 ft, Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s largest tourist attractions. This pier encroaches onto the impressive Lake Michigan and has a lot to offer. Rides and attractions can be found as a fun activity for children in the theme park, while adults can enjoy the outdoor art gallery as well as performances and cruises and boat trips. There are also numerous shops and restaurants to dine out at.
Called ‘the wonder Theatre of the World’ and built in 1921, The Chicago Theatre is fashioned in the French Baroque style, the exterior features a miniature replica of the Arc de Triomphe while the Grand Lobby is modeled after the Royal Chapel at Versailles. The exterior also boasts the famous C-H-I-C-A-G-O sign at nearly six stories high it is one of the last of its type. Seating 3,600 people in an auditorium of seven stories high The Chicago Theatre gets some of the county’s best touring performances ranging from theatre, to musical, to comedy gig, to concerts.
An indoor sports centre that is home to the Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. Opened in 1994 the indoor arena plays host to over 200 events each year and so far over 4 million people have crossed the threshold. The United Centre exhibits a famous and popular statue of the great Michael Jordan which in itself attracts many visitors. This venue has a seating capacity of around 20,000.
Harboring more than 8,00 aquatic animals, the Shedd Aquarium is the largest indoor aquarium in the world. Exhibits open at the aquarium include; an aquatic show, Amazon rising, Caribbean reef, Jellies, Abbott Oceanarium, Polar play zone, water of the world and wild reef. Found on Museum Campus, this is a place you can spend all day at.
Are there any notable museums?
Museum of Science and Industry
Over 14 acres of exhibition space display more than 35,000 artefacts of science and industry. Opened in 1933 the Museum is the largest centre for science in the Western hemisphere. With many great exhibitions that change frequently throughout the year the museum also offers various events, live science experiences as well as the Omnimax Theatre which is a five-story, domed, wrap around theatre unlike no other.
Field Museum of Natural History
Sitting on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan the Field Museum of Natural History is part of the Museum Campus collaborative complex. Only a small number of the entire collection is exhibited at any point in time as the whole collection amasses to over 21 million specimens. The most popular genres within the collection include the dinosaur skeleton displays as well as the taxidermy. Children will be fascinated and taken on an intriguing tour of history including human anthropology.
Art Institute of Chicago
Founded in 1879, the Art Institute holds more than 300,000 works of art in its permanent collection, housed in 8 buildings. The Institute offers guest lectures, gallery talks, events, performances as well as around 30 exhibitions each year. Having gone to great lengths to be inclusive the Art Institute offer many things to get and keep children interested and after a good day exploring the art, families can culminate their visit with a trip to the restaurant.
What are the main highlights?
At the time of completion Willis Tower was known as the tallest building in the world in 1973 and holding that title for nearly 25 years it stands at 1,451 feet. Only named as Willis Tower since 2009, locals will still refer to it as Sears Tower. Tourists can go up to the Skydeck which is a fantastic viewing area to take in the vastness of Chicago city, this includes to option to visit the ledge if vertigo doesn’t take you, four glass ledges protrude from the side of the building to give an unimpeded view of the drop below.
Located within the Grant Park boundaries in the Loop Community area of Chicago, Millennium Park is, as the name suggests, a park built to commemorate the passing of the millennium. The park is a cultural hub, hosting art and sculpture collections, landscape designs as well as concerts, exhibitions and tours. Open daily from 6am to 11pm, it is free to walk through the interesting surroundings and catch one of the regular events.
Holy Name Cathedral
The seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, Holy Name Cathedral is one of the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States, built to replace two previous cathedrals which both burnt down in the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871, it was dedicated in 1875. Some features of the cathedral are great attractions to tourists and locals alike such as the bronze cathedral doors and the impressive pipe organs.