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Transportation in Chicago


The quickest way around the city is by the "El", a combination elevated train and subway. Nine colour-co-ordinated lines go to both airports and meander around the city and to some northern suburbs. Except for the Skokie Swift, they can all be accessed from the Loop.


Buses run throughout the city, connect with the ‘El' and go to places that are not accessible by train. Do be aware that heavy traffic plays havoc with the schedules. Most Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses run 24 hours. Overnight or Night Owl services operate between approximately 12am and 5pm.


Hailing a cab in busy areas like Wrigleyville, the Loop and Michigan Avenue is effortless. During morning and evening rush hour, it is another story. Phoning one up will not hasten the process.


Foot power, for short trips and especially in the congested Downtown area, is most efficient. Underground ‘Pedways' (pedestrian walkways) link 40 blocks of Loop shops, train stations and office buildings. They are especially useful for avoiding inclement weather.

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Chicago has a grid layout, with expressways radiating from the city. Weekday traffic is heavy during peak morning and evening times, so aim to come and go between 10am and 3pm. You should watch out for parking restrictions and for overnight stays hotel parking is often the best option.

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Transportation tips

A one- to five-day Visitor Pass for unlimited CTA rides is available at the Chicago Cultural Center and at several outlets around the city. Prices range from US$5.75 for a one-day pass to US$23 for seven days. Take caution when riding public transportation late at night.

Chicago Transit Authority website

Chicago Regional Transit Authority website

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